September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Prostate health is a vital aspect of men’s overall well-being, and adopting a proactive approach through healthy lifestyle habits can make a substantial difference. By nourishing your body with nutrient-rich foods, staying active, managing stress, and prioritizing regular check-ups, you’re taking essential steps toward promoting a healthy prostate.
Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle Improves Prostate Health
Most of the activities and lifestyle choices you make regularly impact your overall health. When you make active decisions to improve your overall health, you ultimately are ensuring the health of each part of your body, including the prostate.
The prostate gland’s primary function is to produce seminal fluid, which nourishes and transports sperm. While not an essential organ for life, the prostate is vital in reproduction. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 288,300 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2023. Prostate cancer is more likely to develop in men over 40, and is most common in men who are 65 or older.
Diet and Exercise Can Lower Your Risk for Prostate Cancer
Regular exercise and proper nutrition are key for maintaining a healthy weight, which significantly impacts prostate health. Excess weight, especially around the abdomen, can influence hormonal imbalances and contribute to inflammation. While being overweight or obese does not directly cause prostate cancer, obesity does put you at higher risk for benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer. It has been shown that the risk for developing more aggressive forms of prostate cancer are more likely in individuals who are overweight or obese. By losing weight, you lower the risk of developing prostate cancer as well as more serious issues if you are diagnosed.
Foods that may contribute to inflammation and negatively impact hormone levels, such as sugar, red meat, and saturated fats, have been associated with an increased risk of prostate issues. The Prostate Cancer Foundation recommends these five best foods for maintaining a healthy prostate:
- Cruciferous Vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, cabbage, and brussel sprouts
- Berries: strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries
- Fish: salmon, sardines, trout
- Cooked Tomatoes
- Coffee & Tea (without sugar)
Exercise Can Promote Prostate Health and Lower Your Risk for Cancer
Studies suggest that men who exercise regularly are less likely to develop prostate cancer or die from the disease. Men who exercise the equivalent of one to three hours of walking each week have an 86% lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Another study found that men who completed three or more hours per week of vigorous physical activity had a 61% lower risk of prostate cancer death. If you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer, being active is safe and possible but it is always recommended to consult with your doctor to ensure you’re not overdoing it. If you’re feeling up to exercising, doing so is safe during and after treatment for prostate cancer.
The Relationship Between Stress and Prostate Health
Stress has been found to cause prostate inflammation and enlargement (BPH). When your body is stressed, more of the cortisol hormone is released. In men, increased levels of cortisol can suppress other key hormones such as testosterone. Extreme levels of stress can affect your body’s physiology, allowing prostate cancer to develop and grow. It is crucial to manage stress and practice techniques that help promote your mental health and wellbeing in order to improve your overall health and reduce the risk of developing health problems like prostate cancer. Check out our post on ways to reduce your stress and balance your daily life.
Screenings for Prostate Cancer
The American Urologic Association recommends prostate cancer screening starting at age 55 for men who are at average risk. The goal of screening for prostate cancer, or any kind of cancer you may be at risk for, is to find it and diagnose it early as it may spread if not treated. The two most common tests performed in prostate cancer screenings are a blood test called a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test and a digital rectal examination. The blood test may show elevated levels of PSA if you have prostate cancer, or other issues such as enlarged prostate or prostate infection. A rectal examination allows your doctor to feel for any abnormalities in your prostate such as cancer.
Ask About Prostate Cancer Screening At Your Next Checkup
By conscientiously choosing nourishing foods, engaging in regular physical activity, managing stress effectively, and prioritizing routine check-ups, you can take significant strides toward promoting not just prostate health, but your overall well-being. The statistics remind us of the importance of being proactive – with prostate cancer diagnoses projected to affect numerous lives in the coming year. Let this month’s awareness serve as a catalyst for lasting lifestyle changes that not only benefit us but reverberate through generations, elevating the standard of men’s health and enhancing lives. Contact your primary care provider at Premier Medical Group today to schedule your annual wellness visit and ask if it’s time for your prostate cancer screening.