Men's Health


A plant-based diet appears able to both successfully prevent and treat prostate cancer (see also here, here, here). Whole plant foods, coffee, flax seeds (see also here, here, and here), rye bread, orange bell peppers, chamomile tea, apple peel, certain spices, and broccoli consumption may also reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

What else should we eat in a prostate-friendly diet? Eating tomatoes appears to protect against prostate cancer, possibly due to the red pigment lycopene. Eating whole food sources of fat such as nuts will help maximize lycopene absorption.

Conversely, multivitamins, kimchi, and fried foods may increase the risk of prostate cancer. Boiling meat can reduce the carcinogenic potential of meat compared to dry heat methods of cooking such as grilling, broiling, or frying. The modern spike in prostate cancer rates in Japan may be linked to consumption of hormone-laden meat. Similarly, the hormones in dairy may increase risk. The stimulation of human prostate cells from organic milk was compared to that of almond milk.

Cutting down on saturated fats (primarily found in meat and dairy) appears to be linked to prostate cancer survival. Egg consumption—perhaps because of the choline—is associated with prostate cancer progression and death. Reducing the ratio of animal to plant protein in men’s diets may slow the progression of prostate cancer, though. Eating a plant-based diet may also protect against benign prostate hyperplasia—an enlarged prostate gland, likely a consequence of a Western diet.

To improve muscle strength and weight lifting power in addition to potential anti-cancer properties, we can eat the spice fenugreek.

Men eating the most meat appear to have twenty times the odds of having muscle tremors.

Eating foods rich in carotenoids and vitamin C (though not cranberries) may be associated with a reduction of lower urinary tract infections in men.

Male smokers over the age 65 are at the highest risk for an abdominal aortic aneurysm and should consider getting an ultrasound to rule it out.

Vegetarian men should be sure to eat whole grains, nuts, and beans every day to meet their zinc requirements. For overall health, men should drink six to eleven cups of water a day.

Chicken consumption during pregnancy may result in the feminization of the genitalia of male babies in utero (see also here). Xenoestrogens (human-made chemicals that have estrogenic effects) also may negatively influence male sperm counts. Soy consumption, on the other hand, has not been found to decrease male fertility. Meat consumption has been found to have a negative effect on the body odor attractiveness of men (which may affect fertility indirectly :). Men might be cautious about using lavender; though it works well in relief of persistent anxiety, it may have estrogenic effects (as might nettle tea). Mushrooms are the best source of the antioxidant amino acid ergothioneine, found in seminal fluid.

Dioxins and PCB levels in men can be used as fish biomarkers; you can use blood levels to estimate how much fish men have been eating. Radioactive fallout from the Fukushima nuclear power plant tragedy absorbed by the Pacific Ocean may be dwarfed on a global scale by the radioactivity already present in seafood that may lead to low sperm count. A study on men found that advice to eat oily fish or take fish oil to lower risk of heart disease, stroke, or mortality is no longer supported by the balance of available evidence. Endocrine-disrupting industrial toxins found in fish and seafood may affect genital development of boys and sexual function of men. Sex steroid hormones found in meat, dairy, and eggs and saturated fat intake and lack of sufficient fruits and vegetables may be a cause for the ongoing global drop in male fertility.

Watermelon and pistachios may be natural treatments for erectile dysfunction. Coronary heart disease and impotence can be reversed with a healthy diet, whereas BPA contamination from sources such as water bottles, canned foods, and sliced turkey has been linked to increased risk cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and erectile dysfunction.

Topic summary contributed by Katie.

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