The prostate is a small gland about the size of a walnut that’s part of your reproductive tract. It surrounds both the bladder and the urethra and helps make semen, which carries sperm from the testicles when you ejaculate.
Although making babies may not be on your mind, as you get older, it's important to keep your prostate healthy since problems passing urine, certain prostate conditions and prostate cancer are more likely. And one of the best ways to do that is with food.
Here, read on for 10 foods that are not only good for the prostate, but have also been shown to reduce inflammation; control high blood pressure; prevent obesity, type-2 diabetes, several diseases, and cancer.
Getting up to 9 (yes, 9!) servings of vegetables a day is what I tell my patients to aim for. Cruciferous vegetables, the green leafy types like broccoli, kale, cabbage, and mustard greens in particular, will give you the essential vitamins and minerals to keep your prostate healthy.
More good news if you're a wine lover. Four ounces of red wine 4 times a week has been shown to reduce prostate cancer by 50 percent. Greater than 10 drinks a week increases prostate cancer risk significantly. Not a connoisseur of fine wines? Concord grape juice can have the same effect.
Green tea may not be your thing, but the antioxidant compounds found in it have been shown to kill prostate cancer cells and block an enzyme that promotes prostate cancer. Aim for 3 to 6 cups a day (hot or iced) or take a supplement with at least 500mg of green tea extract once or twice a day. )No, this is not the sweetened teas you buy in the can that taste like hummingbird food.)
The monounsaturated fats found in nuts, seeds, olive oil, and avocado are good for the prostate. Zinc, found in sesame seeds and selenium, found in Brazil nuts, may have a positive effect too. Try a handful of nuts as a snack, make your own trail mix or add avocado to your salad or morning toast. ¼-½ cup a day works for most.
Although it's not clear if the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids like those found in fish can prevent cancer, what we do know is that they can prevent inflammation, which leads to cancer.
Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants which ward off damage from free radicals that can attack healthy cells and lead to cancer.
Soy has had a bad rep, but it is rich in isoflavones which may prevent prostate cancer. Not a fan of tofu? Try tempeh mixed in a stew, a glass of soy milk with breakfast, or edamame as a snack. Fermented soy products like Natto, Tempeh, and Miso are the best. Always make sure it is organic so you are not eating genetically modified soy.
Studies show tomatoes can prevent prostate cancer, likely because they're high in lycopene, an antioxidant that fights free radicals. Tomato juice, watermelon, pink grapefruit are lycopene-rich too.
A recent study in the journal Cancer found that a powder made of white button mushrooms reduced the levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in prostate cancer patients whose levels were rising, which could mean the disease is recurring. These have also shown to help with prostate enlargement in general.
Since zinc is highly concentrated in the prostate gland, it makes sense that adding it to your diet would support prostate health. Zinc may even treat an enlarged prostate. Pumpkin seeds are one of the highest sources of zinc, so add some to a salad, side dish, or a smoothie. Pumpkin seeds are also high in those Isoflavones we spoke of in previous blogs for decreasing prostate enlargement in general.
In addition to these 10 foods, there are others found in both food or in supplements that you should talk to your physician about. These are 5-alpha reductase inhibitors and natural aromatase inhibitors, which prevent testosterone from being converted to DHT and estrogen respectively and in turn, affect your testosterone levels:
Plus, eat less of or avoid these altogether:
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