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The Mediterranean diet is good for prostate health. As men age, they are subject to more prostate problems such as enlarged prostate from benign prostatic hyperplasia, (BPH), prostate cancer and chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS).
The foundations of the Mediterranean diet are based on eating plenty of fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and healthy fats such as monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, fish, shellfish and nuts. This diet and style of eating is also part of the The Prostate Diet, a program designed for maximizing prostate health.
These prostate-friendly diets focus on eating high-fiber fresh produce and exclude processed and packaged foods. Fresh whole food is much more nutrient-dense and has no additives or preservatives. The Mediterranean diet is not a short-term diet, but a way of eating that you can follow for the rest of your life.
A diet like the Mediterranean diet is good for your prostate and heart health for many reasons. It helps reduce inflammation in the body and fight cancer. It’s satisfying, so you may eat less food. It is not filled with saturated fats, red meat and sugar, which are detrimental to prostate health.
Mediterranean Diet For Fighting Prostate Cancer
The Mediterranean diet helps men fight prostate cancer in several ways. Rather than cutting fat out of the diet, the focus of the Mediterranean diet is on swapping out unhealthy fats like butter and meat for heart-healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, avocado and fatty fish that have omega-3 fatty acids. And little changes can make big differences. A couple of ounces of nuts such as walnuts every day can help fight prostate cancer, according to a July 2013 study at the University of Texas. Walnuts prevent tumors from forming, reduce the size of tumors and slow tumor growth. That is part of the reason the Mediterranean diet is part of the prostate diet for prostate cancer.
Small changes in diet can reduce a prostate cancer patient’s risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Evidence of risk of prostate cancer reduced by diet can be seen in a study published in JAMA. Men who exchanged just 10 percent of their calories from carbohydrates and animal fats to healthier vegetable fats were 29 percent less likely to die from their prostate cancer spreading.
Beyond healthy oils, the tomatoes found in the Mediterranean diet are helpful in preventing prostate cancer as well. Tomatoes are rich in the phytonutrient lycopene, absorbed more readily from cooked tomatoes. One study on 48,000 men found that men who ate a significant amount of tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato juice and pizza had a 35 percent reduced risk of developing prostate cancer. The men also showed a 53 percent lower risk of getting aggressive prostate cancer. Other cancer fighters in the diet include selenium, legumes and vitamin E
The Mediterranean Diet For BPH
Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that has been proven to enhance prostate health. Tomatoes, which are conveniently available year-round, give you one natural way to manage your BPH symptoms through diet. A Brazilian study found that men with BPH who consumed 50 grams of tomato paste daily for 10 weeks had a greater than 10 percent decline in their PSA levels compared with levels before the study.
Lycopene health benefits may include keeping prostate enlargement from getting worse. German researchers studied 40 elderly men with BPH. The men were randomly assigned to take either 15 mg of lycopene or a placebo every day for six months. PSA levels dropped, and the prostate did not grow larger in the men who took lycopene. In the placebo group, PSA levels did not go down and prostate size increased.
The Mediterranean Diet For Prostatitis
Eliminating processed foods, unhealthy fats and processed sugars helps decrease inflammation in the body. That makes this diet good for patients suffering from chronic prostatitis symptoms. This condition has numerous causes, many of which are related to inflammation. Nuts and vegetable oils contain antioxidants that are known for protecting cells and reducing inflammation. Eliminating additives, chemicals and preservatives also helps to bring down inflammation.
Heart Health Is Linked To Sexual Health
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in men. The Mediterranean diet is good for your heart in that it can help lower cholesterol, promote healthy arteries and lower blood pressure. But did you know that one sign of early heart disease is erectile dysfunction (ED)? Because achieving and sustaining an erection depends on healthy arteries and blood flow, ED can be a signal of a cardiovascular problem. That is why this diet is good for your heart and your love life.
Other Benefits Of The Mediterranean Diet For Men
While it is not a weight-loss diet, the slower eating style of the Mediterranean diet can help you feel full and satisfied with less food, which, over time, may help with weight loss. Obesity puts men at higher risk for prostate problems, and maintaining a healthy weight and getting adequate exercise is important. For aging men, the Mediterranean diet also protects against arthritis, gout and type 2 diabetes. There are many spices and flavors in the Mediterranean diet, so this means you will use less salt in your food. Some of the seasonings are great for men’s health. For example, there are many garlic health benefits for men. All these reasons make the Mediterranean diet part of a healthy lifestyle for men who are concerned about their prostate and general health. And because it is an easy, varied and satisfying diet, it is one that men can sustain long-term.
Rishman, Erin L., et al. Fat Intake After Diagnosis and Risk of Lethal Prostate Cancer and All-Cause Mortality. JAMA Intern Med. 2013;():1-8. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.6536.
Schwarz S et al. Lycopene inhibits disease progression in patients with benign prostate hyperplasia. J Nutr 2008 Jan; 138(1): 49-53