Three ways to improve prostate health

Most men don’t want to talk about it. In fact, the subject of a man’s prostate — the the test that goes along with it — can be very personal.

In Australia, it is estimated that at least one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer by their 85th birthday.

However, when it comes to prostate cancer, there are a number of preventative measures that can reduce the risk and save a life.

1. Maintain a balanced diet
This includes eating whole grans and more fruits and vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables; cutting back on the amount of red meat (beef, pork, lamb, goat) you consume and definitely limit your intake of processed meats like lunch meats and hot dogs; increasing your intake of fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and tuna, as well as eating more beans, skinless poultry and eggs; limiting your alcohol, caffeine and sugar intake; and reducing the amount of salt you eat.

2. Other lifestyle changes
While it’s important to get your nutrients from food wherever possible, your lifestyle away from mealtime can also have an impact on your prostate cancer risk. If you are a smoker, you might want to consider quitting (or at least cutting back) as research has found cigarette smoking is a risk factor for prostate cancer.

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You also need to maintain a healthy weight, which can be done by reducing the number of calories you are consuming and increasing the amount of exercise you do.

While a lot is spoken about Kegels for women, but there is benefit in men doing them too. The exercise is performed by contracting the muscles of your pelvic floor (as if you were trying to stop the flow of urine), holding them for a brief period and then releasing them.

Another thing men to do often is ejaculate. New research suggest that frequent ejaculation may actually protect the prostate. Researchers believe that carcinogens in the prostate gland will be flushed out and fluids in the prostate will turn over more quickly through ejaculation. Not to mention it may also help reduce psychological tension, which can slow the growth of cancer cells.

3. Get screened
If you are aware of your family history and have immediate male family members (like your father or brother) with prostate cancer, your risk increases significantly. If you fall into this high-risk group you should consider getting screened for prostate cancer early (from age 40). Those who have a normal level of risk should consider getting screenings done from the age of 55.

Being able to recognise the symptoms of a potential prostate problem can reduce prostate cancer developing. If you have blood in your urine, pain when you urinate or have sex, pain in your hips or lower back, a constant feeling like you need to wee, or erectile dysfunction you might want to see your medical professional.

Do you have a family history of prostate cancer? Share your stories with us.