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10 Tips for a Healthy Prostate

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Most people know that a healthy diet has serious benefits when it comes to heart health and gut health, but did you know that the food you eat each day can also benefit your prostate? It’s true.

Here are the top ten food-related tips for better prostate health:

1. Reach for the tomatoes

Tomatoes and foods made from tomatoes – like salsa, pasta sauce, and even ketchup – are all rich sources of lycopene. A high intake of this nutrient has been linked to a 35% reduced risk of developing aggressive forms of prostate cancer. If you’re not a tomato fan, you can get your lycopene fix from apricots, watermelons, and pink grapefruits.

2. Learn to love Brussels sprouts

Personally, I love Brussels sprouts and would gladly eat them all year round. Good news for my own prostate health, as regular consumption of Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables – think broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower – has been linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer.

3. Skip the red and processed meat

Bacon, sausages, beef, and other red and processed meats are best minimised or avoided for a healthier prostate. The Health Professionals Follow-Up Study found an 18% greater risk for advanced prostate cancer in men with the highest red and processed meat intake compared to those consuming the least.

4. Make sure you are getting your “5-a-day” (at a minimum)

Fruits and vegetables come with so many health benefits that it’s not surprising they can also boost prostate health. One very large study showed that high consumption of fruits and vegetables overall is linked to a reduced risk of benign swelling of the prostate gland in later years. Researchers highlighted key phytonutrients to focus on, including beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamin C. Examples of foods that will be on your plate each day are carrots, tomatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes, broccoli, leafy greens, corn, oranges, melon, and kiwi.

5. Incorporate plant-based sources of omega-3s

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in flaxseedschia seeds, and walnuts, have been shown to reduce inflammation and may help lower the risk of prostate cancer. Try adding flaxseeds or chia seeds to your smoothies or oatmeal and enjoy a handful of walnuts as a snack.

6. Choose whole grains over refined grains

Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat bread, and oats are excellent sources of fibre, which can help maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of prostate problems. Refined grains, on the other hand, can lead to weight gain and other health issues.

7. Drink green tea

Green tea is packed with antioxidants, particularly catechins, which have been shown to have cancer-fighting properties. Some studies suggest that regular consumption of green tea can help lower the risk of prostate cancer. Try swapping your usual cup of coffee for green tea a few times a week.

8. Snack on nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, walnuts, and flaxseeds, are rich in healthy fats and antioxidants. These nutrients can help reduce inflammation and support overall prostate health. A handful of nuts or a sprinkle of seeds on your salad can make a big difference.

9. Include soy products in your diet

Soybeans and soy products like tofu, tempeh, and soy milk contain isoflavones, which have been shown to have protective effects against prostate cancer. Including soy in your diet a few times a week can provide these beneficial nutrients.

10. Stay hydrated with plenty of water

Staying well-hydrated is crucial for overall health, including prostate health. Drinking plenty of water can help flush out toxins and keep your urinary system functioning properly. Aim for at least eight glasses of water a day.

Prostate issues are common, especially in men over the age of forty, and it’s important to remember that you’re not alone if you have concerns. Don’t be embarrassed to talk to your GP about any symptoms or worries you might have regarding your prostate health. Early detection and treatment can make a significant difference, so make sure to seek medical advice if needed. Your prostate health is just as important as any other aspect of your well-being, so take care of it by following these tips and consulting your doctor regularly.

Common symptoms of prostate issues to watch for

It’s important to be aware of the common symptoms that might indicate prostate issues. If you experience any of the following, it’s a good idea to consult your GP:

  1. Frequent trips to pass water, especially at night.
  2. Difficulty starting or stopping; a weak or interrupted flow of urine.
  3. Pain or discomfort when urinating. This could indicate an infection or other issues.
  4. Discomfort or pain in the pelvic area. This could be a sign of prostate inflammation or other issues.

Remember, these symptoms can have various causes, and early consultation with your GP can help determine the appropriate course of action. Don’t hesitate to seek medical advice if you have any concerns.

Dr Alan Desmond is a gastroenterologist and leading gut expert.

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