You likely know of someone who was or is stricken with prostate cancer. A friend probably. Or a friend of friend you play poker with. Or even somebody closer to you like your cousin or uncle. That’s certainly not surprising given that prostate cancer is a fairly common disease. It strikes tens of thousands of guys each year. And more than 30,000 men die of it annually, making it the second most common cause of cancer death in men in the United States.
On the brighter side though, cancer of the prostate is highly curable. In fact it’s 100% curable. But there’s a catch to get that kind of cure rate. That happens if and only if the cancer has been diagnosed early and that it’s classified as an early staged cancer. Which means that the cancer cells are still locally found in the prostate region and that they have not yet spread into other parts of the body.
Still as the ever so common saying goes, prevention is still better than cure. Because not all cancers are caught early. So not all victims enjoy such high cure rates.
How do we prevent cancer of the prostate then? Well, a lot of studies have been conducted and the results were often contradictory. But on a whole, prostate cancer prevention basically involves doing anything that improves your overall health.
High risk patients have to take this matter seriously though. Since they are the ones who are most likely to develop the cancer. Who are these men?
Men aged 65 years old and above. The risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age. But debates are now going on whether treatment is necessary if this cancer is diagnosed in older men. Most prostate cancer cases are actually slow growing. That means these men are even more likely to die of reasons not related to their cancer.
African American men. Several studies show that African American men have much greater chances of developing cancer of the prostate than Caucasians. And Asian men (not those who migrated to the west, but men living in Asia) are very less likely to develop the cancer. Does diet play a role here? We’ll find out later.
Men with prostate cancer history. If your father or brother developed cancer of the prostate, then you’re twice likely to develop the same cancer as well. If this is the case, you need to go for early screening, preferably as you reach 45 years old, so the cancer can be detected and prompt treatment can be given.
Diet high in saturated fats. Several studies have demonstrated the link between cancer of the prostate and diet high in saturated fats. Are you fond of eating in fast foods? Are you a red-meat lover? Then pretty much you’re at a high risk of developing cancer. Even dairy products including milk have been shown to increase prostate cancer risk. On the other hand, studies show that men whose diet are low in fat, and high in fruits and vegetables, have less risk in developing the cancer.
If you noticed, the first three mentioned predisposing risks are things we have no control of. But the last one is actually in the power of your hands. Or should I say your mouth. So how can you change your diet to improve your prostate health? Let’s count the ways.
Number 1: The Often Misunderstood Role of Green Tea
Asian men don’t succumb to cancer of the prostate at anywhere near the rates those in the West do. Which might have you wondering why. It could be something about their diet then, right? Most probably. In fact, what researchers have found out recently is that drinking green tea may play a role in prostate cancer prevention.
Green tea is a staple drink in China where 10-20 cups of green tea per day is the norm. And for thousands of years, green tea extract has been a common ingredient in Chinese traditional medicine. What have the Chinese discovered about green tea that other parts of the world haven’t?
For one, it contains such powerful ingredients, polyphenols mainly, which have been shown to impact the development of prostate cancer. And not only that, green tea can help prevent health concerns like high cholesterol, Alzheimer’s disease, blood clots, obesity, depression, and headaches.
Hmmm. So not only does green tea suppress the growth of these cancer cells, newer studies also suggest green tea possibly plays a part in prostate cancer prevention.
Of course how many guys living in the United States are into drinking green tea every day? Don’t be surprised if next to no one raises his hand.
Yet green tea alone is not enough. So basically you have to determine which foods should be incorporated or eliminated from your diet to keep cancer of the prostate at bay whether you’re at a high risk or not.
Number 2: Omega 3 Fatty Acids
So another good idea is to limit the amount of fat you consume every day. Better yet, eat more fish that contain omega-3 fatty acids such as tuna, mackerel, and salmon.
Number 3: Tomatoes and Grapefruit
Lycopene is another important natural ingredient that has been shown to possibly help prevent cancer of the prostate. Lycopene is found mostly in tomatoes and pink grapefruit. This powerful antioxidant is also better absorbed by the body when the tomatoes you eat are cooked.
Number 4: Cutting Back On Calcium
We mentioned that a diet high in dairy products has been linked to an increased risk of developing prostate cancer right? And that’s because too much of calcium in the body can actually do more harm than good. So limit your calcium intake to 1,500 mg per day. And supplementation likely may not be needed at all if you regularly eat eggs, cheeses or drink milk regularly.
Number 5: Fruits and Veggies
Then there’s the old eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. If that sounds like a lot that’s because it is. But you want to embrace this because it’s healthy and good for you even though such quantities goes way beyond prostate cancer prevention. Now we’re talking about helping to improve your overall health.
Clearly doing green tea, lycopene, healthy fats, and all sorts of fruits and veggies can greatly benefit your prostate health. But making this as part of your lifestyle will certainly benefit you more. Diet along with exercise will help improve your prostate health. And while we’re at it, you also might want to think about limiting your alcohol intake and minimize smoking if you can’t stop altogether. Naturally, if you think all this is too much, then make these changes little by little. And before you know it you’ll be the all around healthiest guy in your group of poker buddies.