Love your prostate
Adopting a Mediterranean diet is a good first step to protecting that delicate gland – the prostate.
Come tomorrow, the first bristles of 10,000 moustaches will begin to grow, unhindered by razors for the following 30 days. It’s Movember, the global movement for men’s health, supporting in particular prostate cancer and depression.
Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer to affect New Zealand men, with one in 10 men contracting the disease in their lifetime. It occurs mainly in men aged over 60, but from age 40 it is recommended men get an annual prostate check.
But cancer isn’t the only issue with the blighter. Tucked up under the bladder, the prostate’s biological purpose is to produce semen. The trouble is that its cells start to multiply from about age 30. If this continues, the prostate enlarges, the bladder is pinched and sufferers may feel pressure, have a small urinary stream, discomfort and spend all night up and down to the loo. This happens to plenty of men, about half of all men over 50, and up to 90 per cent of men over 80. This condition, known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) does not indicate prostate cancer risk. Yet some researchers suggest that whatever hormones or other influences cause BPH to develop may also spur the onset of cancer.
The problems of the prostate depend in part on what we eat. Therefore a diet designed with the prostate in mind may help to avoid these problems.
Nutrition expert Dr Frances Pitsilis has a simple catch phrase for men: Eat like a Greek. “A Mediterranean diet reduces all forms of mortality by 48 per cent,” says Pitsilis. “Keep your intake of red meat, animal fat and sugar to a minimum, and combine it with plenty of rest, which reduces inflammation, and exercise to stay healthy.
Pitsilis says men with pot bellies are especially at risk. “That pot tummy is genetic, but it is the Western lifestyle epidemic. It is the root cause of a number of diseases – diabetes, heart disease, erectile dysfunction, prostate cancer – the list goes on.”