The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that sits between the bladder and the penis, just in front of the rectum. While there are factors that affect your prostate health that you cannot change (age, ethnicity, family history), there are things you can do to promote prostate health. In this article, learn seven natural ways to help keep your prostate healthy.*
Prostate Health Tip #1: Include more fruits and vegetables in your diet.
Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals (plant nutrients). When these nutrients unite, they can help keep your prostate healthy* Aim to fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal, and try to include every color of the rainbow – red, yellow, orange, green, and every color in between. The more colors you’re able to pile on your plate, the more nutrients you deliver to your body.
For example, red fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes, watermelon, guava, and pink grapefruit, contain an antioxidant called lycopene. Tomatoes are one of the richest sources of lycopene, but keep in mind that your body can absorb the lycopene from cooked tomatoes more easily, so tomato sauce or stewed tomatoes are excellent choices to get more of this important plant nutrient. Most of the lycopene is located in the bright red skin, so don’t peel your tomatoes.
Another example is green cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, and kale. This vegetable family is rich in sulfur-containing compounds that promote prostate and overall health.*
Prostate Health Tip #2: Eat more legumes and whole grains.
Beans, lentils, and peas all belong to the legume family. Legumes are high in important nutrients like folate, potassium, iron, magnesium, and fiber. They’re quite versatile, and you can add them to stews, casseroles, soups, and salads. They also make a great side dish seasoned with your favorite herbs and spices.
Soybeans are legumes that may be particularly beneficial for prostate health. They’re rich in isoflavones, and research suggests that this plant nutrient may help keep your prostate cells healthy.* Choose whole soy foods such as tofu, soy milk, edamame (boiled soybeans), and tempeh.
To help keep your prostate healthy, eat more unprocessed whole grains, and limit refined grains. Refined grains are stripped of certain nutrients (B vitamins, vitamin E, and fiber) during the refining process. Unprocessed whole grains such as oats, brown rice, barley, and quinoa are excellent choices that can keep your prostate healthy naturally. An easy way to determine whether a packaged food is 100% whole grain is to look for “whole grain” as the first ingredient.
Prostate Health Tip #3. Limit red meat and dairy.
Although the research on this topic is not completely clear, studies indicate that eating a lot of red meat or dairy products may not be the best choice for prostate health. Nor is overeating processed meat such as bologna, salami, sausage, bacon, and hot dogs.
Research also suggests that too much calcium and dairy products may negatively impact the prostate. Adequate calcium is important for bone health, so the goal is to get enough (but not too much) calcium.* For most people, 1,000 mg of calcium per day from food and supplements is enough. While more research is needed to determine the relationship between dairy and prostate health, you may consider cutting back on dairy if it makes up a large portion of your diet.
Prostate Health Tip #4. Eat more fatty fish.
Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, trout, and swordfish, contain omega-3 fats (EPA and DHA). In addition to keeping your heart healthy, omega-3 fats can help keep your prostate healthy.* Fatty fish is an excellent source of protein and a great alternative to red meat. Aim to eat fatty fish at least twice a week.
Prostate Health Tip #5. Drink green tea.
Green tea contains antioxidants called catechin polyphenols, which may play a role in prostate health.* Green tea naturally contains significantly less caffeine than coffee. If you prefer decaffeinated green tea, choose one that uses carbon dioxide and water as the solvent (effervescence). This is the preferred method of decaffeination because it retains most of the catechins.
Prostate Health Tip #6. Achieve or maintain a healthy weight.
Weight isn’t the sole indicator of health, but maintaining a healthy body weight is still important to support prostate health. Participate in regular physical activity, and fill your plate with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats to promote a healthy weight.
Prostate Health Tip #7. Exercise regularly.
Daily exercise and physical activity are also essential for prostate health. Regular exercise supports bone health, heart health, mental health, healthy hormone levels, and even immune function.
Resistance exercise (strength training) helps improve muscular strength and performance, support healthy energy levels, and improve your quality of life. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity per day, 5 days a week. Talk with your healthcare provider to determine what activities are best for you.
Keep your prostate healthy by eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, green tea, and fatty fish, while limiting meat and dairy consumption. Add in regular exercise and focus on maintaining a healthy weight, and you’ve got the recipe for a prostate-healthy lifestyle.
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