African American men are 2.5 times as likely to die from prostate cancer, as compared to non-Hispanic white men. Even more shocking…prostate cancer death is 100% preventable, when diagnosed early.
The risk of an enlarged prostate, also called benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH, increases about 4 percent a year after age 55. By age 60, half of men will have BPH. That number jumps to 95 percent by age 85.
While prostate cancer death is preventable, it’s also relatively simple to prevent prostate cancer from showing up in the first place. Lifestyle habits, including health eating, play a crucial part of this.
What Does Diet Have To Do With It?
A recent article in a medical journal looked at the effects of diet and supplements on prostate health. The following lifestyle factors were associated with a lower risk of BPH:
• High level of physical activity and no “belly fat”
• A low-fat diet
• Five or more servings of vegetables a day
• Two glasses of alcohol a day
Specific nutrients should include:
• Vitamin C from vegetables was associated with lower risk. Vegetables highest in vitamin C include bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, snow or snap peas, cauliflower, kale and tomato or vegetable juices.
• Foods higher in zinc also seemed to be beneficial. These include oysters, crab, baked beans, duck, lamb and beef (lean).
Interestingly, a high fruit intake didn’t affect the risk of BPH. And the role of total protein was unclear. Some studies demonstrated an increased risk in men who ate red meat every day compared with men who only ate it once a week, but other studies found a decreased risk in men with a high total protein intake. There is no evidence that dietary or herbal supplements are useful in preventing or treating BPH.
The bottom line? A healthy prostate is yet another reason to exercise, avoid obesity, eat your vegetables, keep fat intake low and enjoy an occasional drink.