While awareness about cancer should be shared by both of the sexes, a number of surveys show that women are generally more aware and knowledgeable about their risk for certain cancers than men. However, there are a number of cancers that men should know about and actively care for, one of them being prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the male reproductive system and unfortunately spreads slowly. For the latter reason, many men may not know of their risk for prostate cancer until later in life, and it may be too late. Besides consulting your doctor and scheduling regular prostate exams, there are a number of nutrients in the foods that we eat that may help prevent and even treat issues in the prostate.
Incorporate some or all of these foods into your diet to keep your prostate health in check.
1. Brazil Nuts
These large and delicious nuts are so good for prostate health because they are rich in a nutrient called selenium, which has been associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer. Just one ounce of Brazil nuts contains almost ten times the recommended daily value for selenium in your diet, which bodes very well for the state of your prostate. The nuts are also a good source of zinc, which is another mineral essential to prostate health, and amino acids which are a great source of protein.
Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous family, a family of vegetables shared with cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kale. Cruciferous vegetables contain high amounts of sulforaphane and indoles, which are plant-based nutrients that have remarkable anti-cancer and cleansing properties. In scientific trials, it was found that eating broccoli more than once a week could reduce the probability of contracting the later (and more serious) stages of prostate cancer by nearly 45 percent. The healthiest way to consume broccoli (to maximize its nutrient content) is to steam or sauté the broccoli for about 5 minutes (and no more).
The cayenne pepper is known for being hot and spicy, but it is also an excellent source of prostate healthy nutrients. The cayenne pepper is made hot due to a high concentration of a substance called capsaicin, which is renowned for its ability to reduce pain, but also helps kill off cancer cells. In studies, capsaicin has demonstrated an ability to cause cancer cells to 'commit suicide', by attacking the energy-making portion of the cell (the mitochondria). Capsaicin is also known for its cardiovascular benefits, such as a strong antioxidant, as preventive treatment for stomach ulcers, and as an effective balancer of blood sugar levels.
4. Green Tea
This superfood is noted for its numerous health benefits, one of them being the ability to fight off several forms of cancer, including prostate cancer. Green tea contains compounds called catechins, the most important of them being EGCG which notably lowers the levels of dangerous biomarkers attributed to cancer. The nutrients in green tea may also help men who have pre-cancerous prostate lesions, one of the first signs of more serious prostate complications, including cancer. To maximize the effects of green tea, it is recommended to consume about three cups daily.
Mushrooms are great for prostate health, but Asian mushrooms are particularly good. The shiitake mushroom, for instance, contain a certain substance called lentinan, which has demonstrated miraculous anti-cancer properties. Asian mushrooms also contain a potent antioxidant called L-ergothioneine, which has the ability of protecting cells throughout the body from cancerous invasion.
Not only does this succulent red fruit taste wonderful, it is also noted for being high in antioxidants and a nutrient called ellagitannin, which especially promotes prostate health. Some studies show that the pomegranate can even slow the reproduction of prostate cancer cells and can even kill them off. Pomegranates are also noted for their ability to interfere with the growth of new blood vessels, which usually nourish prostate tumors. If you don't have the actual fruit available (it is seasonal at the end of summer and into the early fall), pomegranate juice is an accessible and tasty way to get all of the fruit's nutrients.
7. Pumpkin Seeds
Yes, as evident from this list, stocking up on seeds and nuts is never a bad thing, especially when it comes to delicious pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds have been proven to benefit men with benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), which is a condition affecting men 50 and old where the prostate gland swells and enlarges. This swelling and enlargement is caused by the overstimulation of prostate cells by testosterone and other hormones, and the oil of pumpkin seeds has been shown to prevent the effect of these hormones on prostate health.
Another superfood noted for its healthy qualities, salmon also supports prostate health because it is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. New research has found that the omega-3 in fish (not only salmon, although it is the most popular fish) can slow the development of prostate tumors in men who have the disease, and can prevent the disease from developing at all for those who don't. Indeed, a study published in "Clinical Cancer Research" reported that eating fish or salmon once a week could reduce a man's chance of developing prostate cancer, even if he has a genetic predisposition to contracting the disease.
Tomatoes are rich in a nutrient called lycopene, which is a potent antioxidant that has proven itself to promote and enhance prostate health. Surprisingly, unlike a number of other fruits and vegetables, the nutritional benefits of tomatoes increase when they are processed, as opposed to fresh tomatoes. When the tomatoes are cooked into a paste, soup, sauce or made into a juice, the lycopene content is more easily absorbed by the body. Eating just one serving of tomatoes a day, either in your Bloody Mary or even on pizza, can protect against DNA damage that could set the stage for the development of prostate cancer.
Turmeric has been used as a medicinal herb for centuries, and is also an excellent way to enhance prostate health. The spice is used to fight off inflammation, colds, asthma, and when combined with a cruciferous vegetable like broccoli or kale, is effective in preventing and even treating prostate cancer. Turmeric is usually added to curries and spicy dishes due to its bitter and peppery flavor, but adding a dash of it to your cooking could not only add the needed spice to your meal, but also dramatically improve your prostate health.