The prostate, located between the bladder and the penis, just in front of the rectum, is a walnut-sized gland that secretes fluid that protects sperm. The prostate’s primary role is to help sperm travel and survive; therefore, it’s essential for fertility and production. But as men age, the prostate gland can become enlarged. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition in men whose prostate gland becomes enlarged. While it is not cancerous – when untreated, BPH can lead to urinary tract infections, kidney stones, urinary retention, and kidney damage. Inflammation of the prostate gland is also a risk factor for prostate cancer. If you are worried about your prostate health, you can help reduce your risk of prostate-related problems by eating the right diet. Here are five foods to protect your prostate.
- Cooked tomatoes
According to the World Cancer Research Fund International, emerging studies show that tomatoes may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Tomatoes, particularly cooked tomatoes, are rich sources of carotenoid lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that helps lower bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol levels. While raw tomatoes are healthy, cooking tomatoes substantially raises lycopene levels and phytochemicals.
- Green tea
Green tea has long been recognized as a superfood because of its nutritional content and benefits, including cholesterol management and cardiovascular protection. Compounds in green tea, such as epicatechin and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), have been observed for their ability to influence hormones, tumor growth, and cell death. Green tea consumption has also been associated with prostate gland health because it improves urine flow and urological health.
- Cruciferous vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts, are rich sources of folate, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, and phytonutrients. Cruciferous vegetables can help protect your prostate gland health by helping lower inflammation in the body, which may lead to prostate enlargement.
- Citrus fruits
Studies have suggested that high fruit and vegetable intake helps reduce DNA oxidation, cell damage, and inflammation. However, fruits, specifically citrus fruits, may have more protective properties for prostate health. Citrus fruits like lemons, limes, grapefruit, and oranges are rich in vitamins, especially immune-boosting vitamin C. Get more citrus in your diet by using the fruits in your recipes, having them for snacks, or adding fruit slices to your water. Citrus fruits are also great as juices and frozen snacks.
Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries are rich sources of antioxidants and flavonoids, which help fight inflammation and disease in the body. Berries are also high in vitamin C, which may help promote urination and reduce prostate swelling. These fruits also help fight urinary tract infections.
You don’t have to wait until berry season to enjoy the benefits of these fruits. The nutrients in berries are at their peak right after being picked; berries that are frozen immediately after picking retain their nutritional value. Get more berries in your diet by adding them to your cereal, oatmeal, salad, yogurt, or dessert. Berries are also great additions to smoothies.
To learn more about men’s health, prostate cancer screening, prevention, and treatment, contact Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology. At Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology, more than a thousand men and women diagnosed with cancer each year turn to our trusted team of cancer specialists. We encourage you to call us, ask us a question, or consult with us to get a second opinion so you, too, can experience the difference.