To Your Health
June, 2007 (Vol. 01, Issue 06)
How to Reduce Your Risk
There are a number of risk factors for developing prostate disease. You may have little control over some of them, such as race and family history.
Having a father or brother with prostate cancer, for example, doubles a man's risk of developing it. And, it's nearly twice as common for African-American men to develop prostate cancer compared to Caucasian-American men.
Excessive hormonal stimulation also poses a higher risk, as increased testosterone stimulates the growth of prostate cancer cells. Fortunately, you can be proactive and modify certain lifestyle factors, such as diet, exercise and weight, to reduce your risk.
Dietary Support for Your Prostate
Research consistently shows that eating a diet rich in whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, reduces your risk of many chronic diseases, including several types of cancer. Dietary intake of lycopene-rich foods has been linked to reduced risk of prostate disease. Lycopene is a plant pigment and an antioxidant. Studies show frequent consumption of lycopene-rich foods, especially tomatoes, can lower your risk of prostate cancer by as much as 16 percent to 21 percent.
Modifying your diet to incorporate whole foods is important to your health, but it's not always easy. Americans typically eat diets rich in refined carbohydrates, sugar, processed foods and saturated fats, which contribute to excessive weight and obesity. Moreover, we eat foods that are nutrient-poor, which is why many of us need supplements to ensure good nutrition.
Increasingly, we are adding specific supplements to our diet to combat certain health challenges and reduce our risk of disease. In addition to lycopene, supplements that support prostate health include selenium and saw palmetto. Selenium, a trace element, is an antioxidant that might help control cell damage that can lead to cancer. Research shows that men with normal PSA levels who take selenium have a reduced risk for prostate cancer. The most popular herbal supplement in the battle against prostate disease is saw palmetto. Studies have demonstrated its effectiveness in reducing the symptoms of BPH.
When choosing a supplement, it is important to evaluate its ingredients. Supplements that contain whole-food sources are the best sources of these nutrients because they contain all the essential components of the food.
Body Weight and Prostate Health
Being overweight or obese can cause a number of health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, respiratory problems and even death. A survey conducted by the American Cancer Society showed that obesity also increased the risk of prostate cancer.