September is Prostate Cancer Awareness month; the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia is asking Australia to get involved and help create awareness and raise the much-needed funds to assist in the fight against prostate cancer. The most common cancer in Australia sees 20,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, with close to 3,300 deaths. About the size of a walnut, the prostate gland surrounds the bladder and urethra. It continues to grow throughout a man's life.
The prostate can become enlarged over the age of 50, a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Because of enlargement and inflammation, the flow of urine out of the bladder can become blocked, resulting symptoms can include the urge to urinate, waking up in the middle of the night to urinate, painful ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. There may also be a feeling of fullness in the bladder and incomplete emptying. BPH can also cause bladder, urinary tract or kidney problems.
Although the development of BPH is not completely clear, testosterone may play a role. It may be that a metabolite of testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, builds up in the prostate, causing it to grow.
As well as regular medical checks and consulting a doctor if symptoms develop, enjoying a healthy mixed diet is essential for prostate health. So:
Get into and stay in a healthy weight range
Cut down on red meat and saturated fats
Moderate alcohol intake
Certain nutrients are also thought to contribute to prostate health.
Try to put fish on your dish twice a week or more. Oily fish, including salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are powerful anti-inflammatories. All fish contains some omega-3s, though so white fish, canned tuna and seafood are good choices, too. Try oysters, calamari, prawns and crab are rich in zinc. A normal prostate has the most concentrated levels of zinc in the body. Research shows that prostate tissue from men with BPH had significantly less zinc than normal prostate tissue. It is not clear if prostate problems cause the depletion of zinc, or if lower levels of zinc contribute to prostate health problems.
Berries and more
Berries, citrus, and other fruits are packed with antioxidants and vitamin C; these battle free radicals, which are by-products of normal body reactions. Over time, the build-up of free radicals can cause damage such as inflammation which is an important factor related to prostatic enlargement.
Don’t skimp on veggies
Vegetables provide a whole range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals. Cabbages, broccoli, bok-choy, cauliflower, onions, and garlic contain sulphur and help to fight inflammation.
One of the greatest prostate-protecting superstars is tomatoes. The pigment that gives them their rich, red colour is the powerful antioxidant lycopene. Cooking tomatoes with olive or coconut oil makes the lycopene easier for the body to absorb. Watermelon is also lycopene-rich.
Turn to turmeric
A cousin to ginger, turmeric gives curry and mustard their deep yellow colour. It has been used in India as a spice and medicinal herb for thousands of years and now, science has proven turmeric's medicinal qualities. Curcumin is turmeric’s active ingredient and consuming it with piperine in black pepper enhances its absorption by a massive 2,000%. Most Australian curcumin supplements contain piperine. High doses of curcumin over a gram per day are needed for the medicinal results seen in studies.
It is essential to discuss any concerns about regarding prostate health with a medical professional as soon as possible.
The truth is that where it comes to beating inflammation, there is no one single remedy but healthy, lifestyle choices can help.
So, anyone for salmon, spinach and turmeric-pepper tomatoes?