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Emerging studies are making it clear as day that a healthy lifestyle and a healthy prostate go hand in hand. In one study, intensive changes in diet and exercise emphasizing a diet of fruits and veggies and regular physical activity significantly reduced the progression of early low grade prostate cancer. (2) In another study, a Western diet of processed and refined foods increased the risk of prostate cancer by two and a half times, compared to a whole foods, non-processed diet. (3)
Who is at Risk?
American Cancer Society 2016 statistics say about 1 man in 7 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. (29) According to Ayurveda, middle-aged men who have a predominant pitta body type are at greater risk for prostate concerns. One of the classic signs of pitta in men is male pattern baldness. A study was recently published linking men with male pattern baldness to prostate health risk. If you have a pitta constitution, early adherence to a pitta-reducing (cooling), prostate-pleasing lifestyle can be powerful prevention. (4)
>>> To determine your body type and your Ayurvedic prostate predisposition, take our body type quiz here.
Proper early screening for prostate health risk is critical. Stay tuned for an upcoming article where I’ll discuss the importance of regular prostate screening with a PSA test (1) and give more information on how to evaluate your prostate health risk, along with some very exciting news linking a healthy lifestyle to better prostate health!
Along with a healthy lifestyle, there are certain foods and nutrients that are well-supported by research to support prostate health. Perhaps the most well-documented foods for prostate health are those rich in lycopene. Lycopene is a bright red carotenoid pigment found in tomatoes and other red fruits and veggies. Tomatoes in all forms top the charts for lycopene content. (5)
Fish oils, coconut oil (very cooling for pitta), pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds all have essential fatty acids that have been shown to support good prostate health and should be part of a healthy pitta-reducing and prostate-pleasing diet. (6)
- Favor foods that are cool and liquid. Minimize foods that are hot.
- Favor foods that are sweet, bitter, or astringent. Minimize foods that are spicy, salty or sour.
- Some specific recommendations:
- Dairy: Milk, butter, and ghee are good for pacifying pitta. Avoid yogurt, cheese, sour cream, and cultured buttermilk; these sour tastes aggravate pitta.
- Sweeteners: Generally reduce, but all sweeteners are good for pitta except for honey and molasses.
- Oils: Olive, sunflower, and coconut oils are best. Reduce sesame, almond, and corn oil, all of which increase pitta.
- Grains: Wheat, white rice, barley. Reduce corn, rye, millet, and brown rice.
- Fruits: Favor sweet fruits such as grapes, cherries, melons, avocado, coconut, pomegranates, mangoes, sweet, fully-ripened oranges, pineapples, and plums. Reduce sour fruits such as grapefruits, olives, papayas and persimmons, and sour, not-yet-ripened oranges, pineapples, and plums.
- Vegetables: Favor asparagus, cucumber, potato, sweet potato, green leafy vegetables, pumpkins, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, okra, lettuce, beans, green beans, and zucchini. Avoid hot peppers, tomatoes, carrots, beets, onions, garlic, radishes, and spinach.
- Beans: Reduce all beans except for tofu and mung dahl.
- Spices: Cinnamon, coriander, cardamom, fennel, and small amounts of black pepper are all right. But the following spices strongly increase pitta and should be taken in moderation: ginger, cumin, fenugreek, clove, celery seed, salt, and mustard seed. Chili peppers and cayenne should be avoided.
- Meat and Fish (for non-vegetarians): Chicken, pheasant, and turkey are preferable; but beef, seafood, and egg yolk increase pitta.
New LifeSpa Prostate Formulation
Based on some of the latest prostate health research, we are releasing a newly reformulated, evidence-based, high-potency formula for optimal prostate health: Prosta Clear HP. Check it out in our online store. Below, I go through each of the ingredients in this formula and describe their prostate-specific benefits.
Cranberry fruit has a history of use among Native Americans for kidney and urinary health. (7) Modern research supports this traditional use. (7-10) Cranberry fruit is recognized as a rich source of oligosaccharides and phytochemicals, including proanthocyanidins, flavonols, and triterpenoids. FLOWENS is a 100% all-natural, full-spectrum cranberry powder designed and optimized for men’s health.
In a clinical study, FLOWENS was shown to improve quality of life and support urinary tract function with improvements noted within the first month of supplementation. In a six-month double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study, supplementation with 250 or 500 mg/d of FLOWENS resulted in improvements based on a questionnaire, uro-flow scores and urine storage measures related to prostate function in men older than 45 years. No side effects were reported. The researchers suggested that the observed effects may have resulted from activities of contraction and relaxation, modulation of the urination reflex. (7)
The use of pygeum dates back approximately 300 years, and extracts are a well-known and often-used alternative for supporting prostate health in many European countries. (19) Numerous placebo- controlled studies in large populations have demonstrated its efficacy and acceptability for supporting healthy urine flow and volume, reducing nocturnal voiding, and improving quality of life. (20) Multiple mechanisms of action have been proposed for the genitourinary effects of pygeum, which contains numerous beneficial constituents, such as beta-sitosterol. Mechanisms are thought to include 5AR inhibition; estrogenic, anti-androgenic, and anti-proliferative effects. (21)
Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens)
Saw palmetto extracts have been widely used in Europe and more recently in the United States as a natural way to help maintain normal prostate health and optimal lower urinary tract function. A systematic review (11) of 18 randomized controlled trials involving 2,939 men and another analysis of 21 clinical trials involving 3,000 men (12) support the safety and efficacy of saw palmetto extract preparations. Animal and human clinical trials continue to support a role for saw palmetto in prostate health. (13-16) Mechanisms of action have not been fully elucidated, but there is evidence that saw palmetto inhibits 5-alpha reductase (5AR) — the enzyme that reduces testosterone to the more potent androgen dihydrotestosterone (DHT). (17, 18) Prosta-Clear HP features a high-quality, standardized (85% free fatty acids) extract to assure the opportunity for the best clinical outcomes.
Beta-sitosterol is a plant phytosterol commonly used to promote optimal lower urinary tract function in men. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter study, 200 patients were supplemented with 20 mg of beta-sitosterol three times per day or a placebo. Significant improvements in urinary flow parameters were observed in the beta-sitosterol group only. (22) In a follow-up study, the beneficial effects of beta-sitosterol treatment were maintained for 18 months. (23) In a six-month randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial 130 mg/d of beta-sitosterol resulted in significant improvements in patients’ quality of life, urinary flow rate, and residual volume compared to the placebo. (24) A systematic review of clinical trials also supported the benefits of beta-sitosterol to lower urinary tract function in men. (25)
Zinc and Vitamin B6
Zinc is highly concentrated in the prostate gland, and a lack of zinc may be associated with a reduced DNA damage and repair response in prostate tissue. (26) Therefore, zinc adequacy is vital for optimal prostate health, especially with advancing age. (27) In this formula, zinc is provided as the highly absorbable Albion® TRAACS® zinc bisglycinate chelate.
Pyridoxal 5-phosphate (P5P) is the active form of vitamin B6. In a population-based prospective study of 525 men, they found that high vitamin B6 intake had an inverse association with prostate-related mortality. (28)