What is the Prostate?
The prostate is a small gland, initially about the size of a walnut that is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. The prostate performs the function of producing semen, the fluid that carries sperm when you ejaculate. As you get older, your prostate enlarges. Its size may increase from that of a walnut to the size of a lemon.
Enlarged prostate, also referred to as benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), is usually noticed in men above fifty, but younger men may also be diagnosed with enlarged prostate. Urinary problems are the most common symptom of enlarged prostate in men. Frequent urination, difficulty with completely emptying the bladder and straining to urinate are some of the urinary problems experienced by men with BPH.
BPH is a common problem that affects about 50% of men who are sixty years and above and about 95% of men who are eighty-five years and above. Symptoms of BPH may be mild initially and may not require immediate treatment until they become bothersome and they start to pose a health risk or cause complications.
BPH is treated with drugs or by surgery. The method of treatment generally depends on factors like age and severity of symptoms. BPH does not increase the risk of prostate cancer neither does it cause prostate cancer. Although there really isn’t much you can do to prevent BPH as you get older, yet there are certain things you can do to promote the health of your prostate.
Besides, BPH, two other problems that can occur with the prostate is prostate cancer and prostatitis. Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate. It may be caused by the presence of a sexually transmitted infection or an infection of the bladder.
If you are infected with prostatitis, you may experience painful ejaculation, frequent urination, blood in the urine and pain or burning sensation during urination. While you cannot prevent BPH, prostatitis and prostate cancer may be preventable. There are certain things you can do to prevent and reduce your risk of prostate problems.
How to Improve Your Prostate Health
Get Physically Active
A sedentary lifestyle would increase your risk of developing very serious diseases including some types of cancer, stroke and cardiovascular disease. Regular exercise does just the opposite – it reduces your risk. A study found that men who exercised regularly had a reduced risk of BPH compared to men who are not physically active.
Researchers have also found a connection between regular exercise and erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction may result from prostatitis. Studies reveal that men who performed rigorous physical activity or who ran for 90 minutes every week had a 20% reduced risk of developing erectile dysfunction when compared with men who did neither of these activities and are not physically active.
Exercise is useful not only in helping to prevent problems with your prostate; it can also help to provide relief from symptoms of prostate problems. Exercising at least three times a week has been found to help improve symptoms of chronic prostatitis.
Cut Down on Sugar
Sugar can be naturally occurring or they can be added to foods. Naturally occurring sugar is found in fruits and vegetables. This type of sugar is healthy and good for you. Added sugars on the other hand are not good for your health. Packaged and processed foods contain added sugars, as well as junk foods.
Some of these foods have very high sugar content making them unhealthy for you. The naturally occurring sugar found in the foods that you eat is sufficient for your body and you do not need added sugars. Sugar acts as a fuel for your body. It is absorbed into your bloodstream and converted into glucose, giving you the energy to perform your daily activities. Depending on how much energy your body needs, your body can store some sugar to be used later.
When the sugar in your bloodstream is more than what your body needs and higher than your body’s storage capacity, it is converted into fat. This is why you do not need to add table sugar to your foods and why you should avoid foods and drinks with added sugar. It will make you gain excess body fat. Excess body fat increases your risk of chronic diseases which can in turn affect your prostate health.
Eat More of Healthy Fats
Unsaturated fats are the healthy fats and they are grouped either as monounsaturated fats or polyunsaturated fats. Sources of unsaturated fats include olive, canola and vegetable oils, avocados, salmon, tuna, walnuts and sesame seeds. Saturated fats on the other hand are not as healthy as unsaturated fats and they should be eaten in small amounts.
Sources of saturated fats include red meat, dark chocolate, butter, cream, coconut oil and palm oil. Transfat, also a type a fat are the types of fat you shouldn’t be eating at all. Processed and packaged foods are high in transfat. A diet high in saturated fats and transfat increases the risk of prostate cancer. It also worsens the outcomes for prostate cancer in men already diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Load More on Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are great sources of antioxidants. These antioxidants help to prevent the damage of healthy cells in the body by free radicals. Free radicals are generated from the foods that you eat and pollutants from the environment. Their activities in the body can lead to or contribute to the development of cancer.
You should aim at eating at least five servings of healthy brightly colored fruits and vegetables daily. Berries, tomatoes, watermelons, red apples, carrots, peppers, sweet potatoes, broccoli and red beets are some of the fruits and vegetables you should include in your diet.
Eat according to your Energy Needs
Eating more food than your body requires would make you overweight or obese. Your aim should be to achieve a balance between the calories you consume and the calories you expend through physical activities. This gives no room for overeating.
If you have been struggling with overeating, there are effective steps you can take to solve this problem. Getting enough sleep daily, managing stress, eating healthy foods and exercising daily are some of the proven ways to curb overeating.
Reduce Your Salt Intake
Canned, frozen and processed foods contain high amounts of salt. Sodium is needed by the body but only in small amounts. Excess sodium intake puts you at risk for a number of serious diseases. It also affects your prostate health. A diet high in salt may make symptoms of BPH worse. Limiting your intake of or completely avoiding canned, frozen and processed foods, and avoiding adding table salt to already cooked meals, are good steps to take to protect not just the health of your prostate, but your overall health.
Avoid Alcohol and Limit Your Caffeine Intake
Alcohol and caffeine increase the production of urine. If you have BPH or prostatitis, alcohol or excessive caffeine intake can make your symptoms worse because they stimulate the production of urine. Alcohol is best avoided. Black tea, green tea and other types of tea contain caffeine and they provide great benefits for the health. However to enjoy the benefits they provide, these teas should be consumed in moderation.
While you make these lifestyle changes to improve the health of your prostate, remember to: practice good genital hygiene, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and practice safe sex. They are just as important.