In recognition of Men’s Health Month and to raise awareness about preventable conditions among men, Dr. Gerald Wang, chief of the Division of Urology at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens and assistant professor of clinical urology at Weill Cornell Medicine, offers tips on what men need to know regarding prostate health.
“After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American men, but this disease can be prevented or detected with simple lifestyle changes,” said Dr. Wang. “An adult male who follows dietary guidelines, schedules regular checkups, and receives recommended screenings can live a longer and healthier life.”
Here, Dr. Wang offers eight tips for a healthier prostate:
- Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is linked to several prostate health issues including prostate cancer. A balanced diet and consistent exercise is important for a healthy prostate, and managing a healthy weight.
- Eat more vegetables: A diet rich in green, leafy vegetables is important for a healthy prostate. Vitamins and antioxidants found in vegetables keep you and your prostate healthy. Try adding lettuce, spinach, kale, and broccoli to your meals each day.
- Reduce the consumption of red meat: Heavy consumption of red meat has been associated with PhIP, a chemical compound released when red meat is charred, which can cause an increased risk of prostate cancer. By eating red meat only on special occasions, you can reduce your risk.
- Know your risk and get tested. According to the CDC, prostate cancer screening recommendations are different depending on whether you’re in a high-risk or an average-risk group. Men with a higher risk of developing prostate cancer include: African-Americans, people of Scandinavian descent, and anyone who has two or more family members who were diagnosed with prostate cancer. If you are in a high-risk group, you should consider getting screened for prostate cancer starting at age 40. Men who are at normal risk are encouraged to consider screenings starting at age 55.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise has a preventive effect on many conditions that affect prostate health. Even 30 minutes of moderate activity each day, like a brisk walk or jog, can have far-reaching health benefits.
- Hydrate daily. Drinking water is essential for prostate and overall health. On average, it is recommended to consume at least eight cups of water daily. More water should be consumed during and after exercise.
- Manage stress. Although stress may not directly cause prostate issues, long-term stress can weaken the immune system, alter your hormonal balance, and make you more susceptible to disease. Meditation is a great way to forget about daily pressures and can also help improve your mental health.
- Stop smoking. Smoking contributes to some of the leading causes of death in men. The carbon monoxide in tobacco attaches to red blood cells until the cell dies, which can cause prostate cancer and other diseases. If you’re a smoker, talk to your doctor about the best plan to quit.