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2023 October

The Best Nutrients for Protecting Prostate Health

3rd October 2023

Luisa Carugati, BA, DipCNM 

What are the best nutrients for protecting prostate health? Nutritionist, Luisa Carugati, presents some of the best nutritents for maintaining a healthy prostate.

Even though prostate cancer (PC) is the most common cancer in men, the cause is largely unknown. There are many risk factors, such as age, family history, and ethnicity. How much influence do specific nutrients and diet have on prostate health?

This year's Lancet study highlighted the possible link between an increased risk of all cancers and the Western, ultra-processed diet (UPD). The study described sweet or savoury packaged snacks like crisps, soft drinks, industrial-processed baked goods like bread, breakfast cereals, processed meats, and ready-to-eat foods as the Ultra-processed bad guys.

But what about the Mediterranean diet with its rainbow diversity of fruits, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, fish, and olive oil? Could these good guys decrease the risk?

Researchers at the University of South Australia have recently conducted a hospital-based study on the potential of diet to significantly decrease the risk of PC and help reduce recovery time after various PC treatments such as radiation.

How does the Mediterranean diet protect against the disease? The researchers' results suggest that certain micronutrients may have a protective role. They found the blood plasma levels of PC patients were low in lutein, lycopene, alpha-carotene, and selenium. They also had higher levels of iron, copper, sulphur, and calcium in their blood than those without the disease.

Foods rich in lycopene and selenium are associated with protecting DNA damage after radiation therapy. Men with concentrations of lycopene lower than 0.25 micrograms (ug) per millilitre and selenium concentrations lower than 120ug/L are hypothesised to be at greater risk. These PC protective nutrients are abundant in the Mediterranean diet and found in lycopene-rich tomatoes, melons, papayas, grapes, peaches, and cranberries. Also, selenium-rich foods include white meat, fish eggs, and nuts.

There was also strong evidence that low levels of vitamin E might also be more likely to develop cancer, as was being overweight and consuming a diet high in saturated fat such as dairy and animal fat. Foods rich in vitamin E are nuts, seeds, plant oils, fruits, and vegetables.

Also, a simple dietary measure is to be mindful of daily hydration and aim for 2 litres of purified water.

Please note, if you are unwell, we advise you to get a tailored treatment program from your healthcare practitioner.

Supplements for Prostate Health


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