Love your prostate

Adopt­ing a Mediter­ranean diet is a good first step to pro­tect­ing that del­i­cate gland – the prostate.

Element - - Nutrition -

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.”

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