Way back in 1999, I realized that the Internet would be a way in which people who had medical conditions could come together to discuss the possibility of alternative therapies to conventional medicine.
And how true that has proved, with forums and discussion areas for people all over the Internet, where they are talking about problems and issues – such as, unsurprisingly, how to keep your prostate healthy.
In the United States, there are more than 190,000 new cases of prostate cancer diagnosed each year, and you might well think that in the face of such a large number it must be difficult if not impossible to do anything that can keep the prostate healthy and possibly hold the advent of prostate enlargement – if not cancer – at bay.
Of course I don’t actually believe that! If I did I wouldn’t be writing a website on the benefits of prostate health supplements.
So what advice do the medical profession offer which goes above and beyond taking conventional medication?
1 Keep your weight under control and indulge in regular exercise.
2 Eat lots of fruit and vegetables, particularly foods which contain lycopene which is a powerful antioxidant – tomatoes, watermelons, pink grapefruit, guava and papaya are high on the list here, together with broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and so forth. It’s also worth remembering that you can get tablets containing lycopene extract in a pure concentrated form in the health food shop.
3 Maintain your awareness about prostate problems – in particular, if you have a family history of prostate problems, make sure that you’re going to see a doctor on a regular basis checkups.
4 Don’t smoke – this almost goes without saying, or at least I hope it does.
5 Eating selenium rich foods or selenium health supplements from the health food store can reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Some foods which are rich in selenium include wheat germ, tuna, herring, shellfish, eggs, and sesame seeds; but it’s far more convenient to take supplements from the health food store.
6 You could also eat a lot more soya, from tofu and soy nuts, although this has an anti-androgenic effect and might make you feel less potent.
7 Obviously you should keep fully informed about your health by getting a PSA test and a digital rectal examination annually, perhaps from the age of 40 onwards, and definitely from the age of 50.
And the John Hopkins medical school also has some tips for maintaining a healthy prostate.
The first one is to eat a balanced diet. And of course what they’re saying here is that plenty of green leafy vegetables are going to maintain you (and your prostate specifically) in good health because they contain vitamins and antioxidants. Unfortunately for some of you, who love eating meat, their advice is also to avoid eating charred meats, because there is believed to be an increased risk of prostate cancer due to PhIP, which is a chemical released when meat is carbonised.
John Hopkins also suggest you get plenty of Vitamin D, which you can get from skin exposure to sunlight. Too little sun exposure reduces the amount of Vitamin D in the body, which may be linked to prostate cancer. Again, you could also take a high quality Vitamin D supplement, which is also good for heart, kidney and pancreas health.
We’ve already covered the topic of prostate screening, but it’s worth mentioning again that high-risk groups – that is to say groups of men who have a higher than average risk of developing prostate cancer – include African-Americans, people of Scandinavian descent, and anyone who’s had two or more family members diagnosed with prostate cancer.
On the everydayhealth.com website there is more advice still.
They admit there is no definitive evidence that good nutrition can prevent prostate problems, but they suggest that eating a healthy and well-balanced diet will probably reduce your risk. Since fruit and vegetables are good for you in many ways, and they can reduce the risk of cancer, taking them can only reduce the risk of prostate cancer too.
And the best way of reducing your risk of prostate cancer is to eat a Mediterranean diet – which is, as you probably know, a diet high in seeds, nuts, avocados, and plant oils.
A study from the University of California published in the Journal of the American Medical Association seems to show that men who replace as little as 10% of their daily intake of animal fat and carbohydrates with healthy vegetable fats benefit from a 29% lower prostate cancer mortality risk than those who do not change their diets.
Clearly the evidence here is strong, and it suggests that the consumption of healthy nuts and oils – for which read olive oil, which is certainly part of any Mediterranean diet! – reduces inflammation in the body and plasma antioxidants, which in turn decreases the likelihood of cancer developing and/or progressing in the body.
Practical advice: add one tablespoon a day of olive oil, or at least one tablespoon of olive oil based dressing to your food daily, and eat one ounce of nuts per day.
Basically you are aiming for a heart healthy diet, where you replace carbohydrates with unsaturated oils and nuts. There’s no specifically demonstrated link to prostate cancer, but it’s highly likely that such a diet helps guard against it.
Another aspect of the diet is fruit. We know that red and black berries are high in Vitamin C and antioxidants, which play an important role in the body by absorbing free radicals. Since free radicals can cause an increased risk of cancer it’s also been suggested that Vitamin C could possibly ease symptoms of BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) by promoting urination and reducing swelling.
It would seem that a diet high in Omega 3 fatty acids can not only lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol, but also help with prostate health; there is a body of opinion that suggests Omega 3 fatty acids might reduce prostate cancer risk.
Other foods that you might choose to take to protect yourself from all kinds of illnesses including prostate cancer are Brazil nuts (for the selenium); beans; Chia and hemp seeds, which not only contain high levels of fibre, but help you reduce your intake of meat to get the same level of protein; green tea, which might have a protective effect against prostate cancer; and any fruit or vegetable containing lycopene.