Written by Ravinder Lilly - Dietitian and Health Writer
If you’re one of the many men who avoids the GP at all costs or you’re a woman who loves a doctor-avoider, now is the perfect time to put men’s health firmly on the agenda!
Put those shavers down gentlemen because it’s November, the month when we turn the spotlight men’s health in Australia, New Zealand and around the world. And moustaches or ‘mos’ as they’re commonly called, will be sprouting worldwide to raise funds for prostate cancer and male mental health.
Here at USANA, we’re doing our bit and encouraging all mo growers to get involved, get sponsored, grow some facial hair and raise funds for Movember.
Movember’s here – ready, steady, grow!
November is also a great time to focus on all-round men’s health. So, we’re spotlighting our specifically just-for-men supplement, Palmetto Plus™. Formulated with saw palmetto which has traditionally been used as food and as medicine by Native Americans, Palmetto Plus also contains a duo of antioxidants to protect men’s health – and prostate health, in particular.
So, let’s talk prostate. This doughnut-shaped gland produces the fluid that carries sperm and surrounds the urethra, the tube which allows urine out of the body; it sits next to the bladder.
What’s behind prostate problems?
Prostate growth is triggered by the male hormone, testosterone. Over the age of 50 some men begin to experience symptoms of enlarged prostate, a condition called benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). BPH is very common and most men will experience an enlarged prostate as the incidence increases with age. Other conditions can trigger symptoms similar to BPH (such as infection) so see your doctor for a quick and simple diagnosis. Regular prostate check-ups are recommended for all men over 50.
The first symptoms may include problems starting urination. Further symptoms may involve other parts of the urinary tract and bladder and may include a sudden urge to urinate, weak urine flow, and an increased frequency in urinating – both day and night.
Not being able to completely empty the bladder can bring problems as urine can stagnate raising the risk of urinary tract infections and bladder stones. Again, a trip to your doctor can provide the individual treatment that’s right for you.
Other ways to protect your prostate
A healthy diet is important for all aspects of good health and that includes prostate health. No single food or group of foods can boost good health but try to focus on:
Plenty of vegetables and fruit
Go for two fruits and five veggies serves daily (or more!) to provide a powerhouse of health-protecting vitamins, minerals and plant pigments. Lycopene, the red pigment that gives tomatoes and pink grapefruit their rosy glow has been singled out as being particularly important for prostate health – it’s the most concentrated antioxidant found in the prostate gland.
For the sake of your doughnut, ditch the doughnuts!
Try to cut down on all foods that are rich in saturated and trans fats (such as cakes and manufactured bakes, takeaways and fried foods). Both of these kinds of fat can trigger inflammation. Instead, up your intake of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats which you’ll find in cold-water fish (BiOmega™ is also a potent source of the two beneficial essential fats, EPA and DHA).
Savour more soy
Studies have suggested men consuming a traditional Asian diet rich in soy-based foods have a lower risk of BPH. Their protective effects are thought to be down to the isoflavones, antioxidants in soy. Eating soy products daily can help heart health, too, which remains the single biggest killer in Australia and New Zealand. In the United States, the FDA has approved a health claim for food labels which say that consuming 25 grams of soy protein per day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Be drink wise
Studies have shown that green tea can help to promote healthy prostate function; it contains an antioxidant compound called EGCG. Try to avoid too much dehydrating alcohol and caffeine drinks but stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking regularly. To try and reduce the chances of night-waking to use the loo, try to avoid drinking too much fluid about two hours before bedtime.
Regular exercise is important for all round good health – try to exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.
USANA’s specially-for-men supplement, Palmetto Plus is specifically formulated to boost men’s health. It contains a trio of ingredients based on traditional and scientific findings to enhance male health.
Pick Palmetto Plus
The first is saw palmetto, the fruits of which have been traditionally used in its native America by indigenous people for food and as medicine. Saw palmetto can help shrink the size of the prostate and may help promote healthy prostate function. Its gentle action is thought to affect the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is produced in the prostate and other glands and it affects prostate growth. DHT is also associated with male pattern baldness.
Then there’s lycopene, the powerful red antioxidant which is concentrated in the prostate. Palmetto Plus also contains soy isoflavones, other powerful antioxidants.
We always knew it and studies have proven it – men not only ignore health symptoms and health checks, but they tend to drink more alcohol, smoke more than women and eat more fast foods, too. They also die younger.
Encouraging a new attitude to men’s health
Whether it’s culturally or subconsciously, men are taught to ‘suck it up’ and get on with it from a young age. But by encouraging our men to do the right thing where good health is concerned, and by increasing awareness about preventative health as well as getting help when needed, we can help our men to live longer, healthier and happier.
Getting your man to the doctor for simple health checks, eating well, not smoking, drinking to sensible levels and taking the right nutritional supplements are a great start. But don’t expect too much too soon. Let’s just call it a work in progress…
Labels: BPH, Men's health, movember, nutrition, Palmetto Plus, prostate