The preventative approach to prostate health
Every year around 47,700 men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer and the numbers are expected to rise by 12% up to 2035.
March has been designated ovarian and prostate cancer awareness month to focus on the importance of early detection and treatment. (I’ll look at ovarian cancer in a separate article).
The prostate is a walnut-size gland that sits below the bladder that secretes seminal fluids. As men get older, the prostate gland enlarges gradually to approximately the size of a lemon, and it does this due to changes in hormones like testosterone and oestrogen. Some hormones can also be disrupted by environmental factors.
As a naturopathic nutritionist I concentrate on taking a preventative approach to ill health. Of course, it’s important to stress that naturopathy is not a treatment for prostate cancer but, if there is predisposition in the family, there are dietary and lifestyle steps you can take to lower the chance of it happening.
Drinking out of plastic bottles and eating foods exposed to herbicides, pesticides and petrochemicals, are all linked to hormonal disruptors and the formation of cancers.
DHT (Dihydrotestosterone), an androgen hormone responsible for the biological characteristics of males, is normally broken down, but this process is inhibited by an excess of oestrogen's. The concentration of DHT collects in the prostate, causing the overproduction of prostate cells, which results in an enlargement of the prostate.
Foods which should be avoided
As I mentioned earlier, diet can help to keep the prostate healthy and I would recommend avoiding the following:
- Processed foods, such as pies, meats and pastries
- Non-organic meat which is normally injected with chemical hormones, which may contribute to risk of prostate cancer
- BBQ as charring of the meat can be carcinogenic
Foods and natural remedies that support the prostate
The mineral zinc is more abundant in the prostate than in any other organ and zinc-deficiency is commonly-associated with prostate issues.
Along with zinc-containing fruits, eggs and brown rice, wheat germ, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, the following are recommended:
- Fish high in essential fats, especially salmon and fresh tuna
- Fibre to help balance hormones naturally
- Red, orange and green foods as these contain good levels of antioxidants. Or make sure you take a good food-based supplement with CoQ10
- Saw Palmetto is another natural supplement for enlarged prostate issues. Taking 150 to 320 mg of the standardised extract twice a day will provide you with support. There are many health stores offering this product.
Other helpful tips included buying BPA (bisphenol A) free bottles and drinking filtered water, because hormone residues from the contraceptive pill are found in most water supplies. Ingesting these can have an oestrogen-like effect in the body, which in the long term can bring about hormonal cancers.
Bad habits can cause long term health issues
Keeping the body in a well-balanced state is one of the most important factors in avoiding ill health. The body cannot live with alkaline foods alone. It works very efficiently and has several processes for balancing the alkalinity and acidity. Therefore, if you do not give the body what it needs, and are not eating a healthy diet which is rich in vitamins and minerals; in this case the minerals, to neutralise the blood and bring it back from and acidic state to an alkaline state, it will begin to rob these minerals from where ever it can, such as from the bones and joints. For example, our stomach acid is there to break down the foods we eat, if you are drinking lots of carbonated water or even ionised water, it will neutralise your stomach acid, making it hard for the digestive system to break down foods. The gut is like our temple, keeping this healthy will keep the rest of you healthy.
From a naturopathic view, the question that must be asked is what metabolic process has caused the cancer cells? Cancer materialises over time, and therefore the naturopathic approach focuses more on a preventative goal, this will be looking at the diet, looking at what lifestyle factors may cause ill health, looking at what genetic factors have you inherited from your parents.
Prevention is better than cure and if you want to consider a more natural approach to dealing with your health, I provide a free telephone consultation to see how I can help, or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org