Men are well aware of other men who have had issues with their prostate. The prostate condition may have been relatively easy to fix or a more serious issue requiring frequent follow-ups.
Most men, however, would rather not deal with any prostate issue, small or large, and would instead keep their prostate as healthy as possible.
But there are no guarantees in life. That means it is up to men to do the best they can to protect themselves in all circumstances. For men who wish to protect their prostate, there are certain practices they can adopt enhancing their chances of avoiding a possible problem with this important gland.
Prostate health needs to be taken just as seriously as heart health. For a small, hidden-away gland, the prostate is vulnerable to various conditions affecting a man’s life both sexually and physically. These conditions could include benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostatitis, erectile dysfunction (ED), and of course, prostate cancer.
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To lessen the likelihood of a prostate problem arising, there are three things a man can consistently do reducing future prostate issues. Again, there are no guarantees. But at the very least, when these practices are put in place a man will know he is doing everything he can to keep his prostate healthy and functioning at its best.
1. Have a healthy eating pattern
We no longer focus quite so much on caloric intake like we used to. Today’s advice is to focus instead on the overall pattern of foods chosen over the course of a day.
A healthy eating pattern is not difficult. In fact, it should be as natural as knowing that when you get thirsty, you should choose water to drink 99.9% of the time. Here’s how a man can get started eating in a more healthful way protecting his prostate:
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Every day, eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables. The greater the variety and the brighter the colors, the better.
Choose whole grains instead of white bread or white rice. Look for bread stating “100% whole wheat” and not just “whole grain.” One hundred percent whole wheat means the bread still contains all three parts of the grain kernel — the bran, endosperm, and germ, which means more vitamins and minerals nourishing the body. Also include other whole grains such as oatmeal, buckwheat, farro, sorghum, and barley.
Limit consumption of red meat, including beef, pork and lamb, and processed meats such as hot dogs, sausage, salami, and pepperoni. Opt instead for fish, skinless poultry, beans, and eggs.
Healthy oils are a must for good prostate health. Choose olive or canola oils, nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, and avocados. Limit saturated fat from dairy and other animal products
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Stop drinking sugar-sweetened beverages. This includes not only soft drinks but also energy drinks, sweetened tea, fruit drinks, and sugared-up coffees.
Reduce intake of salt. Read the Nutrition Facts label and choose foods with no more than 250 milligrams of sodium per serving. Reduce the amount of food consumed out of a can or box as these foods tend to have more sodium in them.
Cut back on portion sizes. Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, one-fourth with a lean protein and the other quarter with a healthy whole grain. Eat slowly and remember it is okay to stop eating when feeling full.
2. Have a regular exercise routine
Exercise is a must for all of us. We are given a body with two legs making us mobile for a reason — and it’s not to be in a seated position most of the day. Not only does regular exercise reduce the risk of many diseases such as cardiovascular, stroke and diabetes, but it also protects the prostate.
Studies researching the impact of exercise on prostate health have shown the following discoveries:
Men who are more physically active were less likely to suffer from BPH. Even low- to moderate-intensity exercise such as brisk walking for at least 30 minutes most days of the week, showed good results.
Another study from the Health Professional Follow-up Study found that men who ran for an hour and a half or did three hours of rigorous outdoor work per week were 20% less likely to develop ED than those who didn’t exercise at all.
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Regular exercise also can result in achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight. Men who are either overweight to obese have a greater risk of ED than men with an ideal body mass index or BMI
3. Have regular visits with a urologist
If a man really wants to take charge of his prostate, urinary, and sexual health, he needs to start seeing a urologist regularly at the age of 40.
Once past the age of 40, certain quality-of-life issues can come up which can include prostate health. Urologists are experts in managing these issues along with other issues affecting the urinary tract and male reproductive system.
Beginning at age 40 is when a man should get a baseline prostate specific antigen test (PSA) to assess the health of his prostate. If a man waits until age 50 the risk for prostate cancer greatly increases. Men as young as 40 can and do get prostate cancer and it is often more aggressive in younger men.
Starting a first baseline PSA at age 40 will help detect early prostate cancer and give a baseline level for comparison with future PSA tests. The earlier prostate cancer or other prostate conditions can be diagnosed and treated, the higher likelihood of becoming cancer free and avoiding problems with the prostate.
Dr. Samadi is a board-certified urologic oncologist trained in open and traditional and laparoscopic surgery and is an expert in robotic prostate surgery. He is chairman of urology, chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital. He is a medical contributor for the Fox News Channel’s Medical A-Team. Follow Dr. Samadi on Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, SamadiMD.com, davidsamadiwiki, davidsamadibio and Facebook.
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Dr. David Samadi