As a man, there are certain aspects of your health that you need to be particularly aware of. Depending on your age, you may not have had your prostate checked — but regardless of your age, it’s never too early to protect yourself. After all, preventative measures will significantly reduce your risk of complications later in life.
So, what exactly is the prostate and why are men at risk of associated cancers?
How the Prostate Changes As You Age
In men, the prostate is a small gland, which is part of the reproductive system. Only about the size of a walnut, the prostate sits just below your bladder. As you age, this gland tends to grow larger, which can lead to a number of issues. For men in their 30s and 40s, problems with urination can begin.
As the prostate pushes on the urethra, passing urine can become more challenging. In other cases, men do not experience any symptoms until their later years. Some other key causes of an enlarged prostate are tumor growth and/or infection. This is why, the moment you notice any abnormal symptoms, you should contact your doctor.
In most cases, you will notice issues with your urinary tract — are you passing more urine than normal? Is your urine flow reduced? Do you experience a burning sensation? Whatever the symptom, if something just isn’t right — it’s best to get a second opinion.
Unfortunately, one of your greatest risk factors for poor prostate health is age. In your elderly years, the three most common conditions include cancer, inflammation, or a benign, enlarged prostate. It’s important that you protect yourself today, in order to reduce your risk in the future.
How Can I Protect Myself?
Of course, education and awareness are key in terms of prostate health. When you become more aware of potential symptoms, you could help treat a condition much more rapidly. In some cases, early intervention could save your life. Here are just some of the ways in which you can protect your future health.
- Be Conscious of Your Diet
The benefits of a Mediterranean-style diet have long been documented, showing positive effects on all aspects of your health. In fact, when it comes to prostate health, it appears that rates among Western European men are lower. Consuming nutrient-rich whole foods most certainly boosts prostate health.
Within one study, it was found that men who consume around 3 cloves of garlic and 2 tbsp of scallions daily, experienced a 50 percent lower risk of prostate cancer. When you eat food that are rich in array of nutrients, especially antioxidants, you help protect yourself against cancer and other potentially life-threatening diseases.
Another food that’s common within this type of diet, is fish, rich in omega-3 fatty acids. You should reduce your intake of red meat, focusing on more lean sources of protein — organic chicken, wild-caught fish, beans, spinach, oatmeal, etc. This will not only increase your intake of key nutrients, but also decrease your intake of saturated fat.
- Quit Smoking
If you need another reason to quit smoking, this is it. Of course, it’s well-known that smoking increases your risk of lung cancer and heart disease, but the adverse effects do not stop there. Not only do you increase your risk, but men who smoke, tend to experience more severe cases of prostate cancer, in comparison to non-smokers.
This isn’t a surprise, as cigarettes contain a wide range of toxins and chemicals, which can lead to more aggressive forms of cancer. Exposing your body to carcinogenic compounds — cancer-causing chemicals, smoking increases the rate of oxidative-damage, encouraging cancerous cell to develop.
- Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
Your weight dramatically influences all aspects of your health, including an increased risk of prostate complications. It’s been found that as one’s BMI increases, so does their risk of cancer. In fact, research has shown that men who are in the upper-middle and lower-middle BMI range, experience a risk that is 6.5 and 3.5 times higher, respectively.
This is another reason to eat well, exercise, and supplement your needs. As soon as you shed excess body weight, you will reduce your risk of hypertension, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and so much more. As you protect your prostate, you’ll be protecting other key organs and systems as well.