I don’t know if you noticed, but its getting a little hairy this month. November 1 marks the beginning of a campaign called Movember, a month dedicated to bring awareness to men’s health including prostate cancer, testiticular cancer, and mental health. The most common cause of cancer in Canadian men is prostate cancer, 1 in 7 men will develop prostate cancer. Good news is prostate cancer is treatable and in many cases curable. Eating a healthy diet that is naturally low in fat and high in fibre is associated with better outcomes. Let’s take a look at how a healthy lifestyle may affect prostate cancer.
Choose Plant based more often:
There is a movement to eat more plant based. For good reason. A plant based diet is high in fibre, low in saturated fats. Furthermore, many plant based foods contain antioxidants which play a role in reducing chronic diseases such as cancer. A plant based diet includes a variety of vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds, legumes, lentils, and whole grains. An easy rule to remember is to eat like the rainbow such as oranges, spinach, broccoli, kiwi, peppers, and strawberries. Try packing a container of raw vegetables and hummus for lunch, fill your plate with half vegetables, or add some spinach to your smoothie.
Do not fear Soy!
Soy is an excellent plant based protein. Soy can be used as a meat and/or dairy substitute. Soy contains anti-cancer fighting properties to help protect against prostate cancer. Choose soybeans, tofu or soy milk.
A Tomato a Day Keeps the Doctor away:
Ok, I can”t promise this but tomatoes are high in lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant found in cooked tomaotes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit. Research suggests a diet rich in lycopene may reduce prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels and/or slow the rate of progression of prostate cancer. Health professionals recommend a diet high in lycopene from a variety of cooked tomatoes such as tomato sauce, tomato soup, juice and or watermelon. Talk to your health care professional about lycopene supplements prior to taking them.
Choose Healthier Fats
Research suggests choosing healthier fats such as olive oil, avocado, flax seeds, fatty fish and nuts and flaxseeds over saturated fats offers protection. Not only are healthy fats high in fibre, vitamins, and minerals, many of them are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids to help fight inflammation.
Obtain a healthy body weight:
Like other chronic health conditions, obtaining a healthy body weight can reduce your risk of prostate cancer. A healthy body weight is a body mass index between 18.9 -24.9. A body mass index greater than 25 is associated with chronic diseases such as prostate cancer. For example, a male at 5 foot 10 a healthy body weight of 130 lbs- 175 lbs. This range of weight allows for differences in bone structure and genetics. In addition, a waist circumference greater than 40 inches or 102 centimetres increases men’s risk of prostate cancer.
Regular physical activity has many benefits to our health. Not only does it help one achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, improve bone health, decrease your risk of chronic diseases and improve ones self being. For more individualized physical activity based our your current health and goals contact the physical activity line for free personalized plan developed by trained exercise professional.
Should you take a supplement:
There has been research on vitamins and minerals and their potential benefit in decreasing PSA in men with prostate cancer. Most research studies are done in combination of other nutrients from both food and supplements which makes it difficult to assess their efficacy.
Aim to get most of your nutrients from your diet. Nothing can replace a healthy diet that is rich plants, nuts and seeds, legumes, lentils and healthy fats. However, we don’t always eat perfectly and some people like to have reassurance. Before taking any supplement I recommend that you talk to your health care professional first.
Prostate cancer affects so many lives. Research suggests diet may play a beneficial role in reducing prostate cancer.While we cannot modify our genetic makeup we can change the way we eat and focus on a healthy lifestyle.Before making an major dietary changes we recommend you consult with your health care professional.
Show your support and grow your MO, eat real foods, and help change the face in men’s health.