The prostate is a gland in a man’s body that has a major role in fertility. It generates some of the fluid in semen that carries the sperm. As men grow older, this relatively small part of the anatomy can pose a significant cancer risk. And for this reason, men must know how to keep the prostate gland healthy.
What is the prostate gland?
The prostate gland is a walnut-sized gland that you can locate below the bladder. Its main function is to release prostatic fluid that nourishes and protects the sperm as well as improve their mobility.
The prostate also envelopes a part of the urethra— a tube responsible for the passage of urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. When a man develops an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), the prostate presses on the urethra, which can block the flow of urine. BPH is most common in older men, usually those who are 51 and older.
Aside from BPH, prostate cancer is also one of the most common diseases that can occur in a male reproductive system. According to 2018 data published by the WHO, the mortality of prostate cancer in the Philippines has reached 3,319 or 0.54% of total deaths. In 2014, cancer of the prostate was the fourth leading cancer site that Filipino men suffer from.
You cannot prevent certain factors that can trigger prostate diseases. However, a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle can go a long way in keeping the prostate gland healthy.
A healthy prostate means you do not suffer from any reproductive and urinary system disorders. To learn how to keep the prostate gland healthy, here are some tips for you:
A healthy diet
Eat fish and limit your consumption of red meats
Fish that are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids like salmon and sardines can help prevent inflammation in the prostate. Inflammation in the prostate can easily result in different prostate diseases such as prostatitis and cancer.
Include fruits and vegetables in your daily meals
Having fruits and vegetables every day can keep your prostate healthy. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower contain phytochemicals that are linked to lower risks of prostate cancer.
Fruits like berries and grapes can also help keep your prostate gland healthy since they are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants get rid of free radicals in the body that can cause illness and accelerate aging. They also halt the growth and prevent the survival of prostate cancer cells.
Choose healthy fats
Aside from giving the body the energy it needs to function well, food containing healthy fats, such as avocados, nuts, and olives, aid in keeping the prostate healthy. Healthy fats help the body fight off the harmful effects of cancer cells.
It’s a good idea to choose healthy fats rather than saturated fats and trans fat. Saturated fats are found in dairy and animal products while trans fats are present in fastfood and processed packaged foods.
Lessen sugar intake
According to a study (Concentrated Sugars and Incidence of Prostate Cancer in a Prospective Cohort, F.L. Miles et. al.), sugars from sugar-sweetened beverages like sodas, energy drinks, and juices increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer by 21%. Although there is still a need for future studies regarding this, the findings of the study highlight the potential relevance of consuming sugary drinks in prostate cancer etiology.
You can still satisfy your sweet cravings occasionally by choosing healthier options like smoothies and homemade iced teas and juices.
Limit salt intake
If you cannot completely avoid salt, then try limiting the amount of salt you put on your food. Having too much salt in your diet can result in urinary tract symptoms that are related to an enlarged prostate. Both the CDC and the American Heart Association recommend a daily sodium intake of no more than 2,300mg a day.
There are many low sodium food alternatives in the market, which can be a good replacement for the sodium-rich food you may normally eat every day. Also, avoid processed food like bacon and hotdogs, frozen food like pizza, snack food such as chips, and canned meat, as they contain high levels of sodium.
Control overall food intake
Obesity is a risk factor for many diseases, and this includes a link to an increased risk of prostate cancer. In a study by the American Cancer Society, it was found that obesity increased the risk of prostate cancer by 20%, and the risk jumped to 34% for those who were severely obese. By limiting food intake and staying at a healthy weight, you will be able to lower your risk not only for prostate cancer but also for other cancers and heart disease.
A healthier lifestyle
Engaging in physical activities is important not only to maintain a healthy weight but also to ensure that you reduce risks in acquiring critical illnesses. Exercising at least 30 minutes for most days of the week can help in improving and maintaining one’s well-being.
Since the prostate is a part of the reproductive system and is responsible for the production of sperm and seminal fluid, frequently using it can improve prostate health.
In one study, men who ejaculated 21 times or more in a month throughout their lifetime are 31% safer from acquiring prostate cancer compared to men who only ejaculated for about 4 to 7 times per month.
Carcinogens from cigarette smoking can increase your susceptibility to prostate cancer. There is still a need for additional studies to support this claim. However, smoking is proven to harm and weaken the immune system, making it less effective in fighting off diseases.
Have regular medical check-ups
One way to keep your prostate gland healthy is to get check-ups regularly. This is most important for men who are more vulnerable to prostate diseases like prostate cancer.
Your doctor will determine if you need to be screened for cancer. This is done through a digital rectal exam and/or a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. In general, men who are 50 years old and above are considered to be at risk, so it’s best to consult your doctor if you are a part of that age group.
The prostate gland may be a small organ in a man’s reproductive system, but it is essential in reproduction. Improving your lifestyle and habits can help in ensuring that your prostate will not be at risk of any diseases. To put yourself at ease, it is also best to talk to your doctor and get yourself checked as soon as possible.
Learn more about Men’s Health and Prostate Health, here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.