Diet

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There is a relationship between nutrition and the prevention of prostate cancer.The energy supply is one of the factors on which it is possible to intervene to control the progression of the tumor.In addition, diet plays an important role in the prevention of prostatic hypertrophy.

WHY IS PREVENTION AT THE TABLE SO IMPORTANT?

Interventions targeted to prostate health through nutrition are mainly twofold: block the effect of dihydrotestosterone, a hormone responsible for the growth of malignant cells in the prostate, and provide an antioxidant against free radicals of oxygen. A balanced diet should be varied, balanced in the number of calories and able to maintain a healthy weight; Scientific research has shown that following a diet rich in vegetables and low in animal fats (saturated fats), causes a reduction in cancer risk. The body needs many nutrients that result from the consumption of a wide variety of foods (fruits, vegetables, legumes, cereals, fish, poultry, meat and dairy products, oils) that are distributed in a balanced way throughout the day and week. For these reasons, the Mediterranean diet, which includes foods rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, has been confirmed as one of the best diets to follow.

WHAT FOOD TO PUT ON THE TABLE

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Stock photo. Posed by model.

The ideal foods are those rich in minerals (especially selenium, which is found in fish, eggs, liver, and poultry), vitamins (fruits and vegetables) and fiber. More precisely:

  • whole foods, natural and organic (legumes, soy products, and whole grains such as wheat, barley, rice, rye, oats), because they are free from pesticides and other contaminants;
  • fresh plant foods such as raw as possible, because they provide nutrients with preventive action for the health and well-being of the prostate;
  • foods containing phytoestrogens and omega-3 fatty acids, because they block the dihydrotestosterone counteracting the swelling;
  • foods containing carotenoids including lycopene especially (such as tomatoes, carrots, green radish, spinach, papaya, mango, chicory, red peppers, arugula, cabbage lettuce, lettuce, broccoli turnips, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, pink grapefruit, strawberry, red grape, apricot), which can positively affect the prostate, by protecting cells from free radicals.

Although it is recommended to opt for raw vegetables when possible, with the exception of tomatoes: to facilitate the absorption of lycopene is good to eat small, cooked tomatoes, as it is hardly absorbed from raw tomatoes.Lycopene has a very high antioxidant capacity and anti-free radicals, once taken with plant foods it is mainly concentrated in the prostate, testes, adrenal glands, and liver, where it is deposited when introduced in abundance and not used. 

The research is focusing on these substances that seem to have a role in preventing prostate cancer:

  • Lycopene (substance present mainly in red tomato, but also in melon and pink grapefruit);
  • Vitamin A (rich in plant foods, such as apricots, oranges, carrots, cabbage, watercress, endive, tomatoes, parsley and spinach);
  • Vitamin D (found in fish and eggs);
  • Vitamin E (rich sources include seeds, grains, fruits and vegetables);
  • soy products;
  • green tea.

FOODS TO AVOID

The following foods are likely to cause the swelling of the prostate:

  • chili, spices, pepper;
  • sausages and saturated animal fats (red meats cooked on the grill, cheese and fried foods because according to the data synthetic hormones are fed to animals to fatten them);
  • spirits.

In addition, it is shown that the metabolites of cholesterol, initiate the degeneration of prostate cells, thus promoting prostate enlargement. These foods cause acidification of a whole organism and urine leading to a pathological condition that predisposes to degenerative inflammation of the prostate. This means that anyone who has a problem of prostate cancer should definitely avoid foods and beverages that can irritate the urinary tract such as sausages, fried or spicy foods.It is recommended to also limit the consumption of carbonated soft drinks, especially alcoholic beverages.

THE IMPORTANCE OF HYDRATION

You should drink at least two liters of water a day, preferably mineral water.Drinking lots of water washes the prostate and prevents the stagnation of irritating substances in the urine. These substances do not determine hypertrophy directly, however, they cause irritation, generating the typical urinary symptoms of BPH, even when this disorder is still silent. As for alcohol, it is advisable not to exceed two glasses of wine a day: wine, in fact, it contains many antioxidants, including resveratrol.

PREVENTION

There is no specific primary prevention for prostate cancer, but it is advisable to have a healthy lifestyle and maintain a normal body weight.In addition to food, here are some good and valid advice on prevention. The importance of proper nutrition to reduce the risk of cancer is indisputable: a proper diet helps prevent inflammation, to counter the risk of hypertrophy and prevent cancers.There are, however, other measures for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and general well-being of the body, which may protect against many diseases, not just in the case of prostate cancer.

The reduction of body weight is important and highly recommended, especially abdominal fat: as an endocrine organ that secretes several hormones, it influences the entire hormonal profile with aggressive action against the prostate. In addition to prevention, weight loss in overweight patients and proper nutrition represent additional therapeutic strategies that may help reduce the PSA and thus slow the progression of disease in patients with prostate cancer. In addition to prevention, weight loss in overweight patients and proper nutrition represent additional therapeutic strategies that may help reduce the PSA and thus slow the progression of disease in patients with prostate cancer. 

Physical activity helps individuals to keep fit and control weight.It is not essential to practice a sport or join a gym, but it is important to carry out exercise with some regularity: just half an hour a day, at your own pace and according to your level of experience.A brisk walking would be sufficient or, for short journeys, ride a bicycle instead of taking the car. Giving up cigarettes protects the body from many diseases and smoking is believed to be responsible for some forms of cancer, although it is not directly correlated with prostate cancer. Undergo medical examinations and regular checks to encourage early diagnosis; this is especially recommended in case of familiarity with the tumor or in the presence of bothersome symptoms such as micturition disorders. 

It is never too late to choose a healthy and balanced lifestyle and rectifying inappropriate behavioral patterns produces significant benefits in old age.

  • Sources
    • Fleshner N, Zlotta AR.Prostate Cancer Prevention.Past, Present and Future, Cancer 2007; 110: 1889-1899.doi: 10.1002 / cncr.23009
    • Nelson WG, De Marzo AM, Lippman SM.Prostate Cancer Prevention, Cancer Chemoprevention 2005; 2: 185-203. doi: 10.1007 / 978-1- 59259-768- 0_15
    • AIRC
    • American Institute for Cancer Research
    • Prostate Cancer Foundation
    • Prostate Cancer UK
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