As men age, they are more likely to experience problems with their prostate gland. The prostate is a gland found in the male reproductive system located under the bladder. The prostate helps store and secrete hormones found in semen. A few problems can develop in the prostate including cancer. Certain foods help or aggravate some prostate problems. Consult your physician before making any dietary changes.
Most problems of the prostate gland are benign, according to Ohio State University Medical Center. Benign prostatic hyperplasia is the most common noncancerous condition of the prostate, occurring in the majority of men after the age of 60. This condition involves symptoms similar to cancer, such as frequent urination and difficulty urinating. Prostatitis is an infection of the prostate and can cause symptoms such as pain or changes in urination. Prostate cancer is a slow-developing cancer that can often be successfully treated when caught early.
Salt and Prostate Health
Most Americans obtain too much sodium in their diet. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day. People with certain conditions or who are over the age of 51 should reduce sodium to 1,500 mg per day. Although no specific research has linked salt to prostate problems, salt should generally be reduced anyway. Salt and sodium is a major contributor to hypertension, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Coffee and Prostate Health
A study conducted by Harvard University and published in the “Journal of the National Cancer Institute" in 2011 found that coffee can actually decrease the risk of developing prostate cancer. Men who drank six or more cups of coffee per day were 20 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer, according to the large, longitudinal study. However for other prostate conditions, coffee can irritate the prostate. The Male Health Center states that the caffeine in coffee can act as a diuretic and recommends avoiding coffee after 6 p.m.
Sugar and Prostate Health
A 2006 study published in the “Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism” examined the link between obesity, high blood sugar and benign prostate hyperplasia. The researchers from the University of California found that men with an elevated glucose level were three times more likely to have an enlarged prostate. However, sugar in the diet does not necessarily lead to high blood sugar, a condition found in untreated diabetes. But, research published in the “Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics” found that a healthy diet, including reduced sugar intake, may help to prevent prostate cancer.
- Ohio State University Medical Center: Anatomy of the Prostate Gland
- “Journal of the National Cancer Institute"; Coffee Consumption and Prostate Cancer Risk and Progression in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study; Kathryn M. Wilson, et al.; May 2011
- Male Health Center: Enlarged Prostate
- Mayo Clinic.com; Sodium: How to Tame Your Salt Habit Now; March 2011
- “Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism”; Metabolic Factors Associated with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia; J. Kellogg Parsons, et al.; July 2006
- “Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics”; A Systematic Review of the Effect of Diet in Prostate Cancer Prevention and Treatment; R.W. Ma, et al.; 2009