Here in America we talk a lot about protecting our many organs including our hearts, brains, eyes, livers and lungs. Our joint health and digestive health get plenty of attention too. And women are given a lot of good advice about how to keep their breasts healthy and cancer free.
But if you’re a guy there’s a critical part of your health that we often neglect to talk about. And this reluctance exists despite the fact that nearly every man will have to face issues with this organ at some point as he ages.
I’m talking, of course, about the prostate.
Maybe everyone is so tightlipped because being natural stoics, guys just don’t like to admit when they’re having problems. Or perhaps it just feels “too personal” for a lot of folks, so everyone simply avoids the subject.
But whatever the reason, we’re not going to stay silent about prostate health around here. It’s far too important of a subject to ignore.
Slash prostate cancer risk with a delicious prescription
Which is why I couldn’t wait to tell you about a new study out of Italy that’s uncovered what may be the one of the most pleasant prescriptions for prostate health ever devised (beyond making sure to take frequent rolls in the hay of course).
According to the new study, published in the International Journal of Cancer, drinking three or more cups of coffee a day was linked to a 53 percent reduced risk of prostate cancer.1 The researchers even double checked their results in the lab and were able to confirm coffee checks the spread of cancer cells.
There is a small catch, but I’m betting it won’t bother most folks. It looks like your coffee has to be the high-test version.
Caffeinated extracts from coffee significantly slashed the growth and spread of cancer cells. But that effect mostly fizzled out when the researchers switched to the decaf version.
And it’s possible that the stronger your brew the better off you’ll be, because the men in the study drank espresso or cappuccino.
Of course this isn’t a cause and effect study. But it also isn’t the first time we’ve seen a link between a lower cancer risk and coffee drinking either. 2 Which means it gives guys just one more reason to love their favorite morning beverage.
But coffee isn’t the only prostate-friendly food you should be adding to your shopping list.
Filling out your prostate friendly shopping list
Following are three more foods that could help you head off some of the most bothersome symptoms of a cranky prostate, as well as reduce your cancer risk.
If you’re a fish fan you’re in luck. It turns out fatty fish such as wild caught salmon, tuna, sardines and even tiny anchovies could help you keep your prostate healthy.
As you likely already know, fatty fish are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are natural inflammation tamers, which could help calm annoying symptoms caused by a swollen prostate, such as being forced to make constant trips to the restroom. Plus, studies show diets that are rich in these critical fatty acids could also help protect you against prostate cancer too.3,4
Nuts are loaded with good for you fats too, making them a tasty way to help head off inflammation, or soothe a swollen prostate if yours is already giving you some trouble. And while a swollen prostate—a common condition also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH—doesn’t raise your risk for cancer, according to experts nuts could have another role to play in fighting prostate cancer.
Studies suggest low selenium levels are linked to a higher prostate cancer risk, while normal levels could help protect you against the disease.5,6,7 That’s where Brazil nuts come in. These delicious nuts are swimming in selenium, so snacking on a single nut a day could help restore, and maintain, your levels of this essential trace mineral.8
Research has also revealed that both walnuts and Brazil nuts could help keep tumors from growing, and may even help shrink existing ones.9
Watermelon can help support your prostate health in a few different ways.
Watermelons deliver plenty of prostate friendly vitamins A and C. According to experts, men who have healthy levels of vitamin A, or beta carotene, in their diet have a lower risk of prostate cancer.10 And vitamins A and C are linked to a reduced prostate cancer risk, according to research published in the journal Epidemiology. Plus, according to the same study, this tag team is also linked to improved survival rates in guys with a prostate cancer diagnosis.11
The delicious red flesh of the watermelon is also rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that tops the list when it comes to supporting prostate health. Lycopene is a natural anti-inflammatory, which means it can help take some of the pressure off of a swollen prostate. But even more important, studies have found a link between lycopene and a lower prostate cancer risk.12,13Tomatoes are another great source of this powerful nutrient. (Hint: Cooking the tomatoes breaks down their cell walls giving your body access to even more lycopene.)
Other foods to add to your prostate-support list are garlic, green tea, pumpkin seed oil and pomegranates, all of which experts say could help you lower your prostate cancer risk.
It’s time to break our silence about prostates. Start supporting your prostate health today!
1. “Reduction by coffee consumption of prostate cancer risk: Evidence from the Moli-sani cohort and cellular models,” International Journal of Cancer, Early View Published Online, First published: 24 April 2017, Accessed 4/27/2017
2. “Coffee Consumption and the Risk of Colorectal Cancer,” April 2016, Volume 25, Issue 4
3. “Inuit are protected against prostate cancer,” Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2003 Sep;12(9):926-7
4. “Omega-3 fatty acids, genetic variants in COX-2 and prostate cancer,” J Nutrigenet Nutrigenomics. 2009;2(3):149-58
5. Selenium status and risk of prostate cancer in a Danish population,” Br J Nutr. 2016 May;115(9):1669-77
6. “Genistein-Selenium Combination Induces Growth Arrest in Prostate Cancer Cells,” Journal of Medicinal Food. July 2010, 13(4): 842-850
7. “Selenium supplementation and prostate cancer mortality,” J Natl Cancer Inst. 2014 Dec 12;107(1):360
8. “Brazil nuts: an effective way to improve selenium status,” Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Feb;87(2):379-84
9. “TRAMP Prostate Tumor Growth Is Slowed by Walnut Diets Through Altered IGF-1 Levels, Energy Pathways, and Cholesterol Metabolism,” Journal of Medicinal Food. December 2014, 17(12): 1281-1286
10. Beta-carotene and animal fats and their relationship to prostate cancer risk. A case-control study,” Cancer. 1989 Aug 1;64(3):605-12
11. “Dietary beta-carotene, vitamin C, and risk of prostate cancer: results from the Western Electric Study,” Epidemiology. 1996 Sep;7(5):472-7
12. “Lycopene and apo-12′-lycopenal reduce cell proliferation and alter cell cycle progression in human prostate cancer cells,” Nutr Cancer. 2011;63(2):256-63
13. “Lycopene inhibits the growth of human androgen-independent prostate cancer cells in vitro and in BALB/c nude mice,” J Nutr. 2005 Feb;135(2):287-90
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