Prostate health is typically correlated with age given the conditions mostly affect male baby boomers (aged 54 to 74 year olds) and generation X (39 to 53 year olds).
But developing healthy dietary habits from an earlier age may help to pave the way to good prostate health in later life.
There’s no short cut to eating healthily and food should always come first.
However a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement is a good way to ensure you’re getting everything your body needs, especially at times when you feel your diet may be comprised, according to Healthspan head of nutrition Rob Hobson
Rob recommends multivitamin and mineral supplements such as Healthspan Multivitality Gold.
He added: “The traditional herbal remedy saw palmetto has long been used to help relieve urinary symptoms in men diagnosed with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also known as prostate gland enlargement, and offers an alternative approach worth exploring for a few months to see if it helps.”
Research linking diet to specific prostate health conditions is in in way finite and it’s the quality of your overall diet that’s likely to have the greatest impact.
Rob said: “Studies have suggested that certain foods may play a particularly beneficial role in conditions concerning the prostate.
“Maintaining a healthy body weight is one of the best things you can do to reduce your risk of ill health and this is directly linked to eating a balanced diet.
“This is particularly relevant to prostate cancer as findings from the World Cancer Research Fund have shown a strong association between being overweight or obese and the risk of developing the disease.”
Start by eating three meals daily, says Rob, and cutting out snacks unless you really need to include them.
Pile the veggies high, limit your intake of red meat, switch to ‘brown’ carbs and wholegrain, choose healthy fats, such as olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds, cut back on sugar, watch your salt intake, and serve small portions of food to help manage your weight. Rob also recommends the following.
Eat more salmon
He said: “Oily fish such as salmon are the richest source of omega 3 fatty acids, which we need to obtain from the diet. Intake of oily fish in the UK is low with very few people including them in their diet on a weekly basis. Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to help reduce inflammation in the body, which may be beneficial in relieving the symptoms of BPH.”
Include more high-fibre foods in your diet
Rob said: “Foods high in fibre include fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, seeds, beans, pulses and lentils. Dietary fibre can help to reduce the risk of constipation, which can put pressure on the bladder and worsen symptoms of BPH. Eating more fruits and vegetables is probably the easiest and most effective change you can make to your diet to significantly improve your health. Many foods in this group contain a good source of vitamin C, which is thought to help relieve the symptoms associated with BPH.”
Cut down on fizzy drinks, alcohol, caffeine and artificial sweeteners
He said: “You should try and avoid drinking anything up to two hours before bedtime to lessen the need to use the bathroom during the night. Fizzy drinks, alcohol, caffeine and artificial sweeteners should be limited as these can all irritate the bladder and worsen the symptoms of BPH.”
Eat foods rich in beta-sitosterol
Rob explained: “Foods rich in a plant substance called beta-sitosterol have been shown to reduce the symptoms of BPH including urinary flow and volume. Foods rich in beta-sitosterol include seeds, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts, raw cacao and fresh coriander.”
Tuck into soy foods
There’s a little research to suggest that phytoestrogens called soy isoflavones may help to relieve the symptoms of BPH, said Rob. He added: “Soy isoflavones can be found in foods such as tofu, soya milk, soya yoghurt, miso, tamari, edamame beans and tempeh. These foods have also been shown to help reduce cholesterol, making them a healthy addition to the diet. Swapping dairy products for soy is the simplest way to start including it in your diet.”
Eat plenty of foods rich in zinc
This mineral is very important for men, who have a higher daily requirement than women. Rob explained: “Zinc is essential for male reproductive health, which includes proper prostate function. Research has suggested that men suffering with BPH and prostate cancer may have lower levels of zinc, but this is not considered a risk factor for either condition. You can get plenty of zinc in your diet by eating foods such as shellfish, meat, pulses, beans, wholegrains, nuts, seeds and eggs.”
Red fruits and vegetables
Red fruits and vegetables are rich in the antioxidant phytonutrient lycopene. Tomatoes are the richest source, especially when cooked or processed but other foods include red peppers, pink grapefruit and watermelon.
Rob said: “Lycopene has long been associated with reducing the risk of prostate cancer but updated findings from the WCRF has downgraded the evidence to support this link from ‘strong’ to ‘no conclusion possible’ in light of the current available research. Lycopene may still be beneficial for prostate health and these new findings don’t mean that it’s suddenly redundant, but only that the new research has made it more difficult to establish a link to prostate cancer.”
All men over fifty should be vigilant about recognising the signs of serious conditions, like prostate cancer, and seek regular check-ups with their GP as a habitual part of their lifestyle.