If you are a man over 50 years old, you’ve probably been advised time and again to get regular check ups for prostate health by your loved ones and your doctors. Take the advice: a healthy prostate can mean the difference between life and death. The earlier you spot the signs of prostate cancer, the easier it will be for you to treat and survive it. Your health is not something to play with, especially when it comes to prostate cancer, one of the leading causes of death among older men.
But the best way to treat a deadly disease such as prostate cancer is to avoid it all together. One way to prevent prostate cancer and all kinds of illnesses is through nutrition. Nutrition, as many people are aware, plays a vital role in how the body functions. The quantity and quality of the foods we eat today impact the lives we lead tomorrow. So to ensure optimal prostate health for tomorrow, we should eat foods that promote optimal prostate health today; nutrition against prostate cancer is the best way to ensure good prostate health.
To maintain a healthy prostate, prevent cancer or treat prostate cancer, try to eat more cruciferous vegetables and foods that contain lycopene, polyphenols and isoflavones. Also, your nutrition against prostate cancer should contain foods with vitamins and minerals that promote good prostate health. Vitamins A (beta-carotene), B6, C, D, E and the mineral, selenium, may help prevent and treat prostate cancer.
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Lycopene is a very important nutrient in your nutrition against prostate cancer. It is a naturally occurring compound found in fruits that has been proven to rid the body of free radicals. Lycopene is found mainly in tomatoes, pink grapefruit, guava and papaya. So to prevent or treat prostate cancer, you can eat more foods containing lycopene. But of all the lycopene-rich foods, the one health professionals tout as most effective against prostate cancer is the tomato. Research shows that tomato-based products and cooked tomatoes are better at fighting prostate cancer. Researchers cite that the lycopene in tomato sauces and in cooked tomatoes are more potent against prostate cancer because lycopene works best when exposed to heat. Eat more tomato-based foods for good prostate health.
Polyphenols and Isoflavones
Polyphenols and isoflavones are antioxidants found in red wine, pomegranates and soy products that promote good prostate health. Polyphenols are found in foods such as pomegranate, red wine, green tea, berries, legumes, apples and cabbage among others. Polyphenols are shown to block the growth of prostate cancer cells and angiogenesis, where tumor cells form new blood vessels to speed up their own growth.
Meanwhile, isoflavones found mainly in soy products also disrupt prostate cancer cell growth and angiogenesis. Genistein, daizden and equol have shown to retard prostate cancer spread in some studies, but in others they have had no effect or negative effects on prostate cancer cell growth. So talk to your doctor before you try adding soy to your diet to promote a healthier prostate or to treat prostate cancer. The research on isoflavones though promising is also inconclusive when it comes to treating and preventing prostate cancer.
Cruciferous vegetables such as kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy and Brussels sprouts are potent arsenals in your nutrition against prostate cancer. Cruciferous vegetables contain sulforaphane, a compound that enables the body’s proteins to clean up cancer-causing carcinogens in the body. Research shows that eating five servings of cruciferous vegetables per week decreases prostate cancer risk by 10 to 20 percent. Eating cruciferous vegetables regularly is a good way to prevent prostate cancer, research suggests. That’s because sulforaphane helps to expel carcinogens before they can progress into prostate cancer.
Vitamins and Minerals against Prostate Cancer
Vitamins A, C and E are known antioxidants that prevent free radicals from forming in the body. Free radicals are cancer-causing elements that steal oxygen from the cells in the body. When free radicals steal oxygen from the cells in the body, those cells themselves become unstable and cancerous; they are in need of oxygen. Well, antioxidants provide that extra oxygen to free radicals, stabilizing them and preventing them from stealing oxygen from our cells.
Vitamin B6 and vitamin D play a role in cell growth and cell death. Therefore, they work with antioxidants to balance the oxidative processes in the body, preventing prostate cancer. Foods rich in vitamin A are: apricots, lettuce, spinach, chicken livers; vitamin B6: fortified cereals, chickpeas, nuts; vitamin C: citrus fruits and juices, red peppers, grape juice; vitamin D: fortified milk, yogurt; vitamin E: fortified cereals, tomato-based products, nuts and spinach.
The mineral selenium that is found in plant foods, meats and seafood has been shown to reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. Selenium is found in nuts, fish, whole-grain wheat flour and garlic. Also, as seafood is good to eat in the nutrition against prostate cancer, eating foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids can also reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer or can effectively treat prostate cancer.
No one can discount the effectiveness of chemotherapy and traditional medicine in treating prostate cancer. But if those who have prostate cancer or who are at increased risk of developing prostate cancer don’t modify their nutrition, they are doing themselves a disservice. Nutrition plays a very important role in whether we are able to fight any illness. And by eating foods rich in antioxidants, through nutrition we should be able to treat prostate cancer more effectively.