Maybe you’ve grown a mustache for Movember in honor of prostate health awareness. Maybe you’ve never even thought of that little gland “down there.” Regardless, awareness and prevention is vital to your prostate’s health.
Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men after skin cancer. While a majority of men do not die from the disease, some do. That’s why it’s so important to eat right and exercise as well as get your annual physical. Every little bit helps when it comes to a healthy prostate and disease prevention.
A Prostate-Happy Diet
Consuming a healthy diet full of vegetables, fruits, lean meats and complex carbohydrates is not only good for your general health, but research shows that certain foods may lower your risk of prostate cancer. Equally, there are certain foods, such as animal fats and dairy, that can increase your risk for developing cancer.
Foods and beverages such as broccoli, tomatoes, pomegranate juice, legumes, soy, green tea and fish with omega-3 fatty acids all have been shown in studies to have certain properties that either help reduce the risk of getting prostate cancer or slowing it down once you’ve gotten it.
Vitamin D has also been linked to prostate cancer. In one study conducted over five years, vitamin D deficiencies were found in all prostate cancer patients. Recent studies reveal that most people are vitamin D deficient, so if you can’t get your daily dose out in the sun, be sure to include a vitamin D supplement into your diet regimen.
A Prostate-Healthy Workout
Men who are overweight are at increased risk for prostate cancer so regular exercise is necessary. Specifically exercise that is vigorous has been linked to lower risk and progression of the disease.
Research conducted through Harvard Medical School of 1,400 men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer found that those who walked briskly for at least three hours a week were 57 percent less likely to experience cancer progression than those who walked less often and less vigorously. In a follow-up study, Harvard professionals determined that men diagnosed with prostate cancer confined to the prostate who participated in vigorous activity three hours each week had a 61 percent decreased risk of death by prostate cancer.
Healthy lifestyles don’t have to be hard. Try incorporating at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise into your schedule most days of the week for significant health benefits. Exercise includes activities like gardening, vigorous walking, swimming, a few rounds of basketball with your kids, weight training, etc. The key is to just be active!
Beyond diet and exercise, other lifestyle changes include getting enough sleep each night, going in for annual physicals, avoiding bad habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol in excess and taking measures to reduce stress in your life.
Prostate Cancer Signs and Symptoms*
Early prostate cancer can have zero symptoms. Advanced prostate cancers can cause some symptoms, such as:
- Problems passing urine, including a slow or weak urinary stream or the need to urinate more often, especially at night.
- Blood in the urine
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Pain in the hips, back (spine), chest (ribs), or other areas from cancer spread to bones
- Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet, or even loss of bladder or bowel control from cancer pressing on the spinal cord.
Source: American Cancer Society (Cancer.org)