If you’re eating this, your prostate is at risk

By: Dr. Victor Marchione | Cancer | Monday, November 17, 2014 - 05:00 AM

prostate, healthIf you’re concerned about your prostate, your doctor may have already told you about the benefits of broccoli, tomatoes, whole grains and vitamin E.

If you’re not concerned, you should be! The Mayo Clinic says 50 percent of men over 60 will develop an enlarged prostate. After 85, this number rises to 95 percent. So odds are you need to take care.

But even if you’ve changed your diet to include these healthier choices, you may not be aware there are foods you shouldn’t be eating for the sake of your prostate – no matter how much broccoli you’re getting on your plate.

Stay away from these foods, which are doing you more harm than good.

Steaks and burgers

Enjoying a well-done steak or a double-patty burger may sound ideal to just about anyone, but red meat could be a danger to your prostate.

Numerous studies have found that red meat increases your risk of prostate cancer, and cancer in general. One study in particular, from the University of California, discovered very close relations between the consumption of well-done and processed meat with the development of prostate cancer.

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Researchers looked at 420 men with prostate cancer and 512 men without. Both groups answered questionnaires based on their meat intake in the last year and how the meat was prepared. Using the carcinogen levels of the cooked meat – established by the National Cancer Institute’s Charred database – they were able to determine the consumption levels of cancer-causing chemicals.

The men who consumed high levels of ground beef or processed meat had a higher likelihood of developing prostate cancer. The more well-done the meat was cooked, the higher the risk. The higher the heat used to cook the meat and the longer time cooking, the more carcinogens developed, leading to cancer-causing chemicals.

I like my steak, too, but on occasion! You should avoid burnt and overly-charred meat, limit your weekly meat consumption, and avoid processed meats like deli or sausage meat. Instead, try more chicken and fish. They’ve got lots of flavor to offer, too.

Milk and cheese

Too much dairy won’t do your prostate any favors either. Clinical research studies from Harvard revealed that a diet high in dairy is the strongest link to developing prostate cancer.

In one of Harvard’s largest studies, the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, men who consumed two or more glasses of milk a day were twice as likely to develop a spreading and advanced prostate cancer in comparison to those men who did not consume dairy.

The researchers first thought dairy’s high fat content was to blame – other evidence had linked a high-fat diet to prostate cancer. But they pinpointed dietary calcium as the cause.

Further research found that men who consumed 2,000 mg of calcium a day were three times more likely to develop an advanced prostate cancer in comparison to those men who consumed 500 mg or less. The Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah has also reported on the calcium connection to prostate cancer.

Speak with your doctor if you’re thinking about taking calcium supplements. I’d advise against them.

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Sugar and artificial sweeteners usually show up on any foods-to-avoid list for their adverse health effects. They’ve been linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity. They can also be harmful for your prostate.

Research out of the University of California, and published in Journal of Critical Endocrinology and Metabolism, examined the link between obesity, high blood pressure and enlarged prostates. What they discovered was men with elevated glucose levels were three times more likely to develop an enlarged prostate.

Other research published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics noted that reducing sugar consumption could lead to improved overall prostate health.

The American Heart Association recommends men only consume nine teaspoons of sugar, or 150 calories, per day for an overall healthy diet. There are eight teaspoons in a can of soda, to give you an idea, so ditching the soda would be a good place to start.

The Cancer Treatment Centers of America recommends that men with prostate cancer should not cut out sugar entirely. Natural sugars that come from fruit and agave should still be consumed in moderation – they provide the body with disease-fighting antioxidants.

The point is, dietary habits play a huge role in prostate health. As men age, they are at an increasing risk of developing an enlarged prostate, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The exact causes have yet to be determined, but that makes it even more important to make your prostate a priority.

Start making good food choices, cut out the bad stuff, and book an appointment with your doctor if you have concerns to see what’s really going on with your prostate.

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