Virtually every man will have a prostate problem of some sort in his lifetime, doctors say. The three most common troublemakers are benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a swelling of the gland; prostatitis, a bacterial infection; and prostate cancer, the most common malignancy among men over 50. But some doctors believe that men can reduce the possibility and impact of these conditions with a few dietary and lifestyle changes. Here’s how.
Try This First
Other Wise Ways
Go with the flow. Urinate when you feel the urge, doctors say. Don’t wait, even if logic may tell you to train your bladder by holding out as long as you can. Urine from an overly filled bladder can back up into the prostate and irritate it.
Savor tomato sauce. As little as two servings a week of foods made with cooked tomato sauce, such as spaghetti, can help men halve their risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer, says Edward Giovannucci, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and nutrition at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health. Tomato sauce contains an antioxidant called lycopene that fights off the cancer.
Drop the fat. A diet high in fatty foods seems to irritate the prostate and increase cancer risk, according to doctors.
The best meals for prostate health are low in fat and cholesterol and big on vegetables, whole grains, leafy greens, and fiber. Foods high in vitamins A, C, and E are particularly healthy for the prostate. Good sources of vitamin A include carrots, squash, and spinach. For vitamin C, load up on citrus fruits and juices, strawberries, and melons. Get your vitamin E from superfortified cereals, wheat germ, and almonds.
Stick with E. Preliminary indications are that this antioxidant helps protect against prostate disease, says Robert Cowles, M.D., a urologist in private practice in Atlanta. He recommends 1,000 international units a day. If you consider taking large amounts of vitamin E, check with your doctor first.
Snap up selenium. This mineral may help stave off prostate disease, Dr. Cowles says. It is still being studied in this regard. He recommends 100 micrograms a day.