Prostate Protection
Better Nutrition|September 2019

Seven super foods that support this tiny but important gland

Lisa Turner

For guys, prostate health is one of the most critical areas of wellness. Prostate cancer accounts for almost one-third of newly diagnosed cancers in the United States and is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men in the Western world. And nearly half of American men over the age of 50 have benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), an enlargement of the prostate gland that can cause uncomfortable urinary symptoms, as well as bladder, urinary tract, or kidney problems. The good news: a handful of nutrients have been shown to protect against BPH, reduce the risk of prostate cancer, and keep the prostate healthy. Some of the best:

1 Avocados contain beta-sitosterol, a plant compound that has been linked with reduced symptoms of BPH. Some studies also suggest that plant sterols prevent or retard prostate cancer formation and progression. Avocado is also rich in lutein and other compounds that may protect against prostate cancer. Other foods high in beta-sitosterol include wheat germ, rice bran, soybeans, and peanuts.

RECIPE TIPS: Add diced avocados and red onions to scrambled eggs; purée avocados with cocoa powder and honey for a healthy chocolate mousse; sauté onions, jalapenos, and garlic, add broth and chopped avocado, heat through, and purée until silky for a creamy, dairy-free soup.

2 Tomato sauce, and tomatoes in general, are high in lycopene, a carotenoid antioxidant that helps protect against BPH and prostate cancer. Studies show that increased tomato consumption is linked with a lower risk of prostate cancer, and other research suggests that lycopene can slow the progression of BPH. Tomato sauce is more effective than raw tomatoes, since cooking makes the lycopene more available to the body. Adding olive oil further enhances its absorption. Papaya, watermelon, red peppers, and pink grapefruit are also good sources of lycopene.

RECIPE TIPS: Sauté spiralized zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and garlic, and smother with tomato sauce and fresh basil; cook tempeh and onions in tomato sauce for vegan Sloppy Joes (see recipe, right); stuff bell peppers with cooked quinoa, olives, rosemary, tomato sauce, and cheese, and bake until bubbly.

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