During the month of June, we celebrate Men’s Health Month across the country to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. This month gives health care providers, public policy makers, the media, and individuals an opportunity to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury. Today’s blog focuses on prostate health.
The prostate is a small gland found in men, near their bladders. Many men experience prostate problems, and as they get older it is important to watch for signs of prostate cancer. Statistics show that one in six American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime, but only 3 percent will die from it. Even though prostate cancer isn’t a death sentence, the “C word” is always scary. Unfortunately, there are many oncologists that feed into this fear and encourage patients to treat aggressively, even when their risk is low.
The good news is there are a number of preventive measures that a man can take to reduce his risk of developing prostate cancer, including important dietary and lifestyle changes and becoming aware of his family history. So as they say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, here are seven tips to promote a healthy prostate:
- Eat healthy whole foods – consume a healthy diet full of unprocessed (and preferably organic) foods and limit sugars and grains. Eat moderate amounts of protein and plenty of high-quality fats. Focus on foods high in carotenoids and lycopene (raw broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, and green tea), as well as those high in selenium (seafood, shellfish, eggs, sunflower and sesame seeds, cashews, mushrooms, garlic and onions).
- Optimize your vitamin D level – this can be accomplished through safe sun exposure or taking a vitamin D supplement. Monitor levels periodically through blood work (ideal range is between 50-70 ng/ml).
- Exercise and relax your muscles – Muscle tension can impact prostate health. Regular exercise can help to reduce muscle tension and promote a more positive mood.
- Stress reduction – studies indicate a correlation between stress and less-than-optimal prostate health.
- Drink plenty of pure water – the lymphatic system helps to clear your body of waste and plays an essential role in prostate health. Drinking adequate amounts of water and regular exercise will assist your body in flushing out waste and toxins.
- Nurturing personal relationships and sexual activity – a healthy sex life is good for the prostate, as well as reducing stress through nurturing personal, loving relationships.
- Early assessment – scheduling an early prostate evaluation is an important first step in knowing where you stand (beginning at age 45). Let your doctor know if you have a family history of prostate cancer. Having a father or brother who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer more than doubles your risk of developing this disease.
For the majority of men, prostate cancer is a chronic, slow-growing condition that can be lived with and managed. If diagnosed, take your time and consider all options – natural treatments, as well as the traditional ones. Remember, you’re much more likely to die with prostate cancer, not because of it.