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Better Prostate Health Through a Better Diet
You probably know of someone who has been or is affected by 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, since prostate cancer is a fairly common disease. It strikes tens of thousands of guys every year. And more than 30,000 men die from it each year, making it the second most common cause of cancer death in men in the United States.
On the brighter side though, prostate cancer is very treatable. In fact it is 100% curable. But there is a difficulty in obtaining such a cure rate. This happens if and only if the cancer was diagnosed early and it is classified as an early stage cancer. Which means that the cancer cells are still localized in the prostate area and that they have not yet spread to other parts of the body.
Still as the ever so common saying goes, prevention is still better than cure. Because not all cancers are caught early. So not all victims enjoy such high healing rates.
How do we then prevent prostate cancer? Well, many studies have been done and the results have often been contradictory. But overall, prostate cancer prevention basically involves doing anything that improves your overall health.
High-risk patients should take this issue seriously. Because they are the ones who are most likely to develop the cancer. Who are these men?
Men aged 65 and over. The risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age. But debates are now taking place whether treatment is necessary if this cancer is diagnosed in older men. Most cases of prostate cancer are actually slow growing. That means these men are even more likely to die from causes unrelated to their cancer.
African American men. Several studies show that African-American men have a much greater chance of developing prostate cancer than Caucasian men. And Asian men (not those who migrated to the west, but men living in Asia) are much less likely to develop the 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, then you are twice as likely to also develop the same cancer. If this is the case, you should go for early screening, preferably when you reach 45 years of age, so the cancer can be detected and immediate treatment can be given.
A diet high in saturated fat. Several studies have demonstrated the link between cancer of the prostate and a diet high in saturated fats. Do you like to eat in fast food? Are you a red meat lover? Then you almost have a high risk of developing cancer. Even dairy products including milk have been shown to increase prostate cancer risk. On the other hand, studies show that men whose diet is low in fat and high in fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of developing cancer.
If you noticed, the first three mentioned predisposing risks are things we have no control over. But the last is actually in the power of your hands. Or should I say your mouth. So how can you change your diet to improve your prostate health? Let’s count the roads.
Number 1: The Often Misunderstood Role of Green Tea
Asian men do not die from prostate cancer at anywhere near the rates of those in the West. Which might make you wonder why. It could be something about their diet then, right? Most likely. In fact, what researchers have discovered recently is that drinking green tea can play a role in preventing prostate cancer.
Green tea is a staple drink in China, where 10-20 cups of green tea a 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 haven’t?
First, it contains such powerful ingredients, mainly polyphenols, that have been shown to affect the development of prostate cancer. And not only that, green tea can help prevent health concerns such as high cholesterol, Alzheimer’s disease, blood clots, obesity, depression and headaches.
Hmmm. So not only does green tea suppress the growth of these cancer cells, newer studies also suggest that green tea may play a role in prostate cancer prevention.
Of course how many guys living in the US want to drink green tea every day? Don’t be surprised if no one nearby raises their hand.
However, green tea alone is not enough. So basically you need to determine which foods should be incorporated or eliminated from your diet to keep prostate cancer at bay 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 consume each day. Better yet, eat more fish that contain omega-3 fatty acids such as tuna, mackerel and salmon.
Number 3: Tomatoes and Grapefruit
Lycopene is another important natural ingredient that has been shown to potentially help prevent prostate cancer. Lycopene is mostly found in tomatoes and pink grapefruit. This powerful antioxidant is also better absorbed by the body when the tomatoes you eat are cooked.
Number 4: Cutting back on Calcium
We mentioned that a diet high in dairy 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. So 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 old ones to 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 accept this because it is healthy and good for you even though such amounts exceed the prevention of prostate cancer. Now we’re talking about helping to improve your overall health.
Clearly drinking green tea, lycopene, healthy fats and all kinds of fruits and vegetables can greatly benefit your prostate health. But making this a part of your lifestyle will definitely benefit you more. Diet along with exercise will help improve your prostate health. And while we’re at it, you might also want to think about limiting your alcohol consumption and minimizing smoking if you can’t quit completely. Of course, if you think all this is too much, then make these changes gradually. And before you know it, you’ll be the healthiest guy in your group of poker buddies.
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