The prostate gland may be small, but as men age, it becomes an increasingly important part of their overall health. Even so, American men seem to ignore prostate health, even when there’s a good possibility that the prostate gland has a cancerous growth. Like many things, the prostate gland is something that is often taken for granted….until it causes symptoms.
Most men over the age of 70 will develop an enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH); a condition which can happen to men in as early as their 30s. By the time men reach their 40s, they have a 20 percent chance of developing a BPH. And about half of men in their 60s have an enlarged prostate – about the size of a lemon. The prostate actually gains mass with age. It grows.
The chances of getting prostate cancer also increase as men age. According to the American Cancer Society, 220,800 cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2015, and about 27,540 men will die from prostate cancer in 2015.
Prostate Cancer: Get Checked!
By the time they’re 80, half of all men will have cancerous cells in their prostate. Because prostate cancer can be nearly symptomless, it’s critical that men over the age of 50 get yearly prostate exams by their doctor. African-American men and those with a first-degree family member (father, brother, or son) who were diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age, should start getting regular screenings after they turn 45.
Prostate exams include both a blood test with the prostate-specific antigen, called the PSA, and a digital rectal exam (DRE). Other tests may be recommended by your doctor depending on the PSA and DRE results. Early detection is essential. Prostate cancer is quite curable when detected early.
Make sure to ask for a prostate exam if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Trouble passing urine
- Frequent urge to pass urine, especially at night
- Weak or interrupted urine stream
- Pain or burning when passing urine
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Painful ejaculation
- Nagging pain in the back, hips, or pelvis
The prostate gland can become infected as well. This is known as prostatitis. Most often, this requires treatment with specific antibiotics that are able to effectively penetrate the prostate gland.
The Prostate Healthy Diet
As prostate cancer advances, it can spread to the lymph nodes in the pelvis and then throughout the body, making it a life-threatening condition. In addition, BPH, while not fatal, can cause unwelcome symptoms including difficulty urinating and abdominal pain. Prostatitis is an uncomfortable condtion as well.
Want to keep your prostate healthy? Diet plays a big role in prostate health. Here are five things to add to your diet for better prostate heath.
Watermelons, tomatoes, guava and grapefruits are great sources of lycopene, shown to reduce prostate cancer risk.
Found in nuts, tuna, eggs, sunflowers, garlic and onions, selenium is a powerful agent that helps fight prostate cancer.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
There are many reasons to include omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Omega-3s have been shown to lower blood pressure, help with weight loss, and reduce the risk of heart attack. While reducing animal fat is helpful to the prostate, a diet high in Omega-3s can help boost prostate health. Ongoing research reveals that omega-3s modulate prostate cancer development, likely due to their anti-inflammatory effects, and ultimately inhibit tumor growth.
In my experience, most adults should consume at least 2-3 servings (a serving is 3.5 ounces) of omega-3 fish a week. Good sources include wild salmon, sardines, anchovies, tuna, herring, and fresh water trout.
When taking an omega-3 supplement, it is important to choose one which is not oxidized and mercury-free. Omega-3 supplements are notorious for oxidizing rapidly at various points in production. As you know, fresh fish goes bad quickly…..and so do the omega-3s that are extracted from them. The shortest catch-to-capsule time (and ultra-pure) omega-3 in the industry is Diamond Nutritionals’ Balanced Omega Formula.
4. Cruciferous Vegetables
Vegetables including cauliflower, broccoli, kale and Brussel sprouts are known for their cancer-fighting abilities thanks to being high in fiber, phytonutrients, and several essential vitamins and minerals.
Consider exchanging beans for red meat. In addition to being high in protein, beans are also naturally high in fiber. One cup of black beans has 15 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber. A diet high in fiber helps absorb toxins from the GI tract. Fiber also speeds up bowel transit time so that many consumed toxins are less absorbed into the blood where they can affect multiple organs, including the prostate gland.
In addition to the above dietary recommendations, I recommend Diamond Nutritionals’ Prostate Support Formula to help maintain a healthy prostate. Please read the research about this special prostate formula. In my experience with many patients, it has proven helpful in preventing or reducing the symptoms of BPH, and optimizes prostate function at the cellular level to maintain a strong, healthy prostate.