In honor of Men’s Health Week, foods and nutrients that keep your prostate healthy and problem-free.
How to Reduce Your Risk of Prostate Problems
Be physically active. There’s a strong, inverse association between the amount of exercise you get and your risk of prostate trouble. In other words, the more you exercise, the lower your risk. Being overweight and having excess fat around your belly, on the other hand, increase your risk—and getting more exercise can help with both. Check out Get-Fit Guy’s tips on how to lose fat and tone muscle at the same time.
Eat your vegetables. I know, I know, I always say that. But the fact is guys who eat the most vegetables enjoy the healthiest prostates. In particular, you’re looking for vegetables that are high in vitamin C and carotenoids because these nutrients appear to be particularly protective. That would include tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, and dark, leafy greens.
See also: How to Get More Vegetables In Your Diet
Get lean protein from a variety of sources. Men whose diets are higher in protein but lower in fat tend to have fewer prostate problems. Some lean protein foods, such as oysters and crab, are high in zinc, which also seems to enhance prostate health. (If you’re a vegetarian, pumpkin seeds are your go-to choice for zinc.)
See also: How Much Protein Should You Eat?
Enjoy alcohol in moderation. A drink or two a day reduces your risk of prostate inflammation. But, as I talked about in my podcast on health benefits of alcohol, the harmful effects of drinking too much far exceed the benefits of drinking moderately. Those who can’t drink moderately are really better not drinking at all.
Skip the high dose vitamin supplements. Although diets rich in carotenoids, vitamin C, and zinc are associated with reduced risk, dietary supplements containing these same nutrients do not appear to be effective. In fact, high doses of vitamin C are linked with an increase in symptoms.
See also: Can You Get Too Many Vitamins?
I should point out that all of these recommendations are based on epidemiological data. That means that certain habits and patterns are associated with higher and lower risk, and that’s not the same as a study that specifically tests these interventions against a control group. On the other hand, there’s nothing controversial here. Each of these recommendations—getting more exercise, eating your vegetables, emphasizing lean protein, enjoying alcohol in moderation, and getting your nutrients from foods rather than pills—has a strong track record for improving your overall health and reducing your risk of a number of diseases. So, the way I see it, you’ve got nothing to lose here (except those pesky prostate problems), and quite a lot to gain.
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Poon KS, McVary KT. Dietary patterns, supplement use, and the risk of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Curr Urol Rep. 2009 Jul;10(4):279-86.
Man Eating Vegetables image from Shutterstock