Nutrition for your prostate
Zinc is a mineral beneficial to the prostate (particularly in older men), and its deficiency thought to be a factor in an enlarged prostate. Pitsilis calls it ‘man’s best friend’. The Ministry of Health recommends a level of 12 mg per day. Good sources of zinc include pumpkin seeds, peanuts, almonds, cashew nuts, sesame seeds, shellfish (especially oysters) and lean red meat, although a diet high in red meat is generally thought to be unhelpful to the prostate.
Lycopene, the natural antioxidant pigment that makes tomatoes red, is thought to be beneficial to the prostate. It is in the carotenoid family, meaning that it’s beta-carotene’s chemical cousin, but is a more powerful antioxidant. Sources include tomatoes (or tomato juice), watermelon, pink grapefruit, pink guava, papaya and apricots. Pitsilis says the best, most concentrated, form is tomato paste.
Soy products may also help with prostate heath. Japanese men have low death rates from prostate cancer, even though they high rates of contraction. Sources of soy include tofu, tempeh, miso, natto (fermented soy) and soy milk, although Pitsilis says the research around soy milk is unclear.
Pitsilis says Omega3 fish oil reduces inflammation – what the body does when it’s under threat. That inflammation comes from bombardment by chemicals, stress – the pitfalls of daily life. She says inflammation is also the foundation of cancer and heart disease.
Eat plenty of the cruciferous vegetables - broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage and cauliflower. These same vegetables reduce breast cancer. If you’re a male and have the BRCA 2 gene – the same gene that causes breast cancer, Pitsilis says your chances of contracting prostate cancer increases by 23 times. Therefore if there is breast cancer in your family, you should be especially aware of your prostate health.
Pitsilis says selenium is vital for prostate health, as New Zealand soils are deficient in the mineral. It is best taken as a supplement, or Pitsilis says try about four brazil nuts a day. “200 micrograms of selenium decreases the risk of prostate cancer by 63%.”