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Better Prostate Health Through a Better Diet
You probably know someone who has had or has prostate cancer. A friend probably. Or a friend of a friend you play poker with. Or even someone closer to you like your cousin or uncle. This is certainly not surprising given that prostate cancer is quite a common disease. It hits tens of thousands of guys every year. And more than 30,000 men die from it each year, making it the second leading cause of cancer death for men in the United States.
On the bright side though, prostate cancer is highly curable. In fact, it is 100% curable. But there’s a catch to getting that kind of cure rate. This happens if and only if the cancer was diagnosed early and it is classified as early stage cancer. This means that the cancer cells are still locally in the prostate area and have not yet spread to other parts of the body.
As the saying goes so often, prevention is better than cure. Because not all cancers are detected early. Not all victims benefit from such high recovery rates.
So how do we prevent prostate cancer? Well, a lot of studies have been done and the results were often conflicting. But overall, prostate cancer prevention is all about doing anything that improves your overall health.
High-risk patients, however, should take this issue seriously. Because they are the most likely to develop cancer. Who are these men?
Men aged 65 and over. The risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age. But debates are ongoing about whether treatment is needed if this cancer is diagnosed in older men. Most cases of prostate cancer are actually slow growing. This means that these men are even more likely to die for reasons unrelated to their cancer.
African American men. Several studies show that African American men have a much higher chance of developing prostate cancer than Caucasians. And Asian men (not those who migrated west, but men living in Asia) are very less likely to develop cancer. Does diet play a role here? We will find out later.
Men with a history of prostate cancer. If your father or brother developed prostate cancer, you are twice as likely to develop the same cancer as well. If so, you need to be screened early, preferably at age 45, so that the cancer can be detected and prompt treatment can be given.
Diet high in saturated fat. Several studies have demonstrated the link between prostate cancer and a diet high in saturated fat. Do you like eating at fast food restaurants? Are you a red meat lover? In this case, you are at almost a high risk of developing cancer. Even dairy products, including milk, have been shown to increase the risk of prostate cancer. On the other hand, studies show that men whose diet is low in fat and rich in fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of developing cancer.
If you noticed, the first three predisposing risks mentioned are things over which we have no control. But the latter is actually in your hands. Or should I say your mouth. So how can you change your diet to improve your prostate health? Count the paths.
Number 1: The often misunderstood role of green tea
Asian men do not succumb to prostate cancer at rates approaching those in the West. Which might make you wonder why. It could be something about their diet, right? Most likely. In fact, what researchers have discovered recently is that drinking green tea may play a role in preventing prostate cancer.
Green tea is a staple drink in China where 10-20 cups of green tea per day is the norm. And for thousands of years, green tea extract has been a common ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine. What have the Chinese discovered about green tea that other parts of the world don’t have?
For one, it contains such powerful ingredients, primarily polyphenols, which have been shown to impact the development of prostate cancer. And not only that, green tea can help prevent health issues like high cholesterol, Alzheimer’s disease, blood clots, obesity, depression, and headaches.
Hmmm. So not only does green tea suppress the growth of these cancerous cells, but more recent studies also suggest that green tea may play a role in preventing prostate cancer.
Sure, how many guys living in the US like to drink green tea every day? Don’t be surprised if hardly anyone raises their hand.
However, green tea alone is not enough. So basically you need to figure out which foods should be incorporated or eliminated from your diet to avoid prostate cancer whether you are at high risk or not.
Number 2: omega 3 fatty acids
So another good idea is to limit the amount of fat you eat each day. Better yet, eat more fish with omega-3 fatty acids like tuna, mackerel, and salmon.
Number 3: Tomatoes and Grapefruit
Lycopene is another important natural ingredient that has been shown to possibly help prevent prostate cancer. Lycopene is mainly found in tomatoes and pink grapefruits. This powerful antioxidant is also better absorbed by the body when the tomatoes you eat are cooked.
Number 4: Reduce Calcium
We mentioned that a diet high in dairy products has been linked to an increased risk of developing prostate cancer, right? And that’s because too much calcium in the body can actually do more harm than good. Limit your calcium intake to 1,500 mg per day. And supplementation may not be necessary at all if you regularly eat eggs, cheese, or drink milk regularly.
Number 5: Fruits and vegetables
Then there are the elders who eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. If that sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. But you want to adopt it because it’s healthy and good for you, even though such amounts go far beyond preventing prostate cancer. Now we’re talking about helping improve your overall health.
Obviously, getting green tea, lycopene, healthy fats, and all kinds of fruits and vegetables can greatly benefit your prostate health. But incorporating it into your lifestyle will definitely benefit you more. Diet and exercise will help improve your prostate health. And while we’re at it, you might also want to think about limiting your alcohol intake and minimizing smoking if you can’t quit completely. Naturally, if you think this is all too much, make these changes bit by bit. And in no time, you’ll be the healthiest guy in your group of poker buddies.
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