Pop­eye was right— spinach is the ul­ti­mate guyfriendly food.

The best foods for sup­port­ing prostate health and boost­ing testos­terone

Better Nutrition - - CONTENTS - BY LISA TURNER

Men have some spe­cial needs when it comes to diet, and many stud­ies sug­gest that eat­ing the right foods can keep the prostate healthy and testos­terone lev­els bal­anced. If you’re a man, try th­ese guy- friendly foods:

1 Oys­ters are the num­ber- one food source of zinc, which blocks the en­zyme that con­verts testos­terone to es­tro­gen. De­fi­cien­cies are linked to low testos­terone, and boost­ing zinc leads to a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in testos­terone lev­els. Zinc is es­pe­cially im­por­tant if you train hard, since in­tense ex­er­cise can de­plete testos­terone. In one study, elite wrestlers who took zinc daily main­tained testos­terone lev­els af­ter a month of high- in­ten­sity train­ing. Other good sources: red meat, chicken, crab, lob­ster, beans, nuts, and or­gan meats.

2 Mack­erel, a fatty fish like tuna, sal­mon, and sar­dines, is one of the best food sources of vi­ta­min D. Stud­ies have shown that vi­ta­min D can in­crease testos­terone lev­els, of­ten dra­mat­i­cally. In one study, peo­ple who spent more time in the sun showed in­creased vi­ta­min D lev­els, and testos­terone lev­els in­creased as well. In another study, men who took vi­ta­min D daily in­creased testos­terone lev­els by al­most 25 per­cent. The sun is still the best source of vi­ta­min D, but if you don’t get out much— or can’t tol­er­ate fatty fish— you’ll also find D in raw milk, caviar, and eggs.

3 Toma­toes are loaded with ly­copene, an an­tiox­i­dant that’s been shown to re­duce the risk of prostate can­cer. Bet­ter than raw: cook them with olive oil ( as in pasta sauce); most re­search shows that ly­copene is bet­ter ab­sorbed when toma­toes are cooked with olive oil. That ef­fect was not found when toma­toes were cooked with sun­flower oil or other kinds of oil. And add some chopped broc­coli to your sauce. In one study, a com­bi­na­tion of to­mato and broc­coli was more ef­fec­tive at slow­ing tu­mor growth than ei­ther to­mato or broc­coli alone.

4 Spinach is rich in mag­ne­sium, which can lower the body's lev­els of sex hor­mone- bind­ing glob­u­lin ( SHBG), a com­pound that binds to free testos­terone and makes it in­ac­tive. In one study, boost­ing mag­ne­sium in­take re­sulted in a 24 per­cent in­crease in free testos­terone lev­els. Op­ti­mal mag­ne­sium sta­tus has also been linked with higher testos­terone lev­els in ob­ser­va­tional stud­ies. Other foods rich in mag­ne­sium in­clude pump­kin seeds, sesame seeds, chard, hal­ibut, and al­monds.

5 Pome­gran­ate. Prostate specifi c anti­gen ( PSA) is a blood marker for prostate can­cer. Men whose PSA lev­els dou­ble in a short pe­riod of time have a higher risk of death from prostate can­cer, and pome­gran­ate ap­pears to slow PSA in­creases. In one study, a cup of pome­gran­ate juice per day sig­nifi cantly re­duced PSA dou­bling time. Stud­ies show that pome­gran­ate ex­tract can slow the growth of prostate can­cer cells, and may lead to apop­to­sis— cell death— in can­cer cells. As a bonus, another study found that 47 per­cent of im­po­tent men im­proved af­ter drink­ing a glass of pome­gran­ate juice daily.

6 Col­lard greens are one of the best di­etary sources of vi­ta­min K, which pro­tects against prostate can­cer. In one study of 11,000 men, high in­take of vi­ta­min K2 was linked to a 63 per­cent lower risk of prostate can­cer. Col­lards are also high in vi­ta­min C, which may work with vi­ta­min K to pro­tect the prostate. In another study, a group of prostate can­cer pa­tients showed tu­mor cell de­struc­tion af­ter sup­ple­men­ta­tion with vi­ta­mins C and K. Other good sources of vi­ta­min K: spinach, kale, broc­coli, Brus­sels sprouts, salad greens, cab­bage, green beans, and lentils.

7 Pump­kin seeds can help pre­vent be­nign pro­static hy­per­pla­sia ( BPH), a com­mon con­di­tion that en­larges the prostate gland and can cause prob­lems with uri­na­tion and, oc­ca­sion­ally, sex­ual func­tion. In sev­eral stud­ies, pump­kin seed oil re­duced symp­toms of BPH, im­proved uri­nary func­tion in men with over­ac­tive blad­ders, and im­proved qual­ity of life. Stud­ies also sug­gest that pump­kin seeds can slow the growth of prostate can­cer cells.

8 Tuna is high in omega- 3 fats, which have pow­er­ful im­mune- en­hanc­ing and anti- infl am­ma­tory eff ects and can re­duce the risk of prostate can­cer. ( Though one study sug­gested that omega- 3 fats in­creased prostate can­cer risk, that re­search has been largely dis­cred­ited.) Eat tuna sand­wiches with a slice of av­o­cado, and you’ll in­crease your prostate pro­tec­tion: avocados are rich in vi­ta­min E and lutein, and have been shown to in­hibit the growth of prostate can­cer cells.

9 Gin­ger, in ad­di­tion to re­duc­ing infl am­ma­tion, may also in­crease testos­terone lev­els and im­prove sex­ual func­tion. In one study, in­fer­tile men took gin­ger daily, and af­ter three months, they showed a 17 per­cent in­crease in testos­terone lev­els. Other stud­ies have found testos­terone lev­els nearly dou­bled af­ter gin­ger in­take— as the amount of gin­ger in­creased, so did testos­terone lev­els.

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