by Dr. Kristen Bovee, Peninsula Naturopathic Clinic & Hydrate IV Wellness Centre –
The prostate is an important gland prone to certain conditions because of its location (wrapped around the urethra and near the base of the bladder). When it does become diseased, it can impact a man’s health by way of urination, sexual activity and, with cancer, can spread to other organs. The following are ways to help keep the prostate healthy and can support a man if there are any chronic issues such as prostatitis, hyperplasia (enlargement, or BPH), or cancer.
Diet. The prostate is located in the lower pelvic region. It also lies just anterior to the rectum. As a result, the health of the rectum is an important link to inflammation and disease in the prostate. People with an unhealthy diet low in fiber and high in inflammatory foods such as red meat, dairy, sugar and alcohol will likely have issues with their prostate. Choosing a diet of fish (omega 3’s), nuts and seeds, avocados, whole grains (not processed or white) and fresh fruits and vegetables including cooked tomato, will aid the prostate for long-term health.
Probiotics. The pelvic region (rectum and bladder) is flooded with a microbiome (bacterial flora) that has been shown to impact the health of the prostate. Studies are currently being done to identify the benefits of probiotics in both treating and preventing prostatitis, BPH and prostate cancer. This is a good reason to be sure you consistently treat your body with beneficial bacteria from fermented foods, fresh veggies and fruits and consume a multi-strain of probiotics daily. Studies also show that probiotics play an important role in hormonal regulation (androgens and testosterone) that in excess can stimulate prostate cancer growth and aggravate BPH.
Exercise. We all know exercise is good for the body, but it also plays a huge role in prostate health. Men who exercise regularly (including low impact walking) and keep a healthy BMI (body mass index) are less likely to develop BPH. Men who run for more than one-and-a-half hours per week are also less likely to have erectile dysfunction. A study of a group of men with prostatitis reduced their symptoms significantly (including depressed mood) by exercising moderately for three hours weekly with walking, stretching and low impact isotonics.
Meditation. Men who suffer with chronic prostate issues, including cancer, can benefit from meditation to alleviate anxiety around their health and reduce stress. Meditation has also been shown to help men become more proactive in their health and thus better their outcomes with prostate cancer treatment, whether that be surgical, chemotherapeutic, radiation or active surveillance (watch and wait).
Supplementation. Supplementation for prostate conditions can be confusing and controversial. To date, according to the National Cancer Institute, the supplements that have been shown to have benefit in prostate cancer (and potentially most prostate issues) include green tea, lycopene, vitamin D and Pomi-T (pomegranate, broccoli, green tea and turmeric). It is important to speak with your doctor before considering taking any supplements for your condition.
The prostate is a small walnut-shaped organ that in younger years men tend to take for granted. As men age, it becomes a reflection of their long-term wellness. Focusing on a healthy diet, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy body composition seems not only to be the foundations for all health but also the prostate.