February is American Heart Month, serving as a reminder to practice good heart health habits. For men who embrace these habits, not only does their heart reap the benefits, but so does their prostate. As a general rule, what benefits cardiovascular health is also beneficial for prostate health. Studies have shown that for men who have succumbed to prostate cancer, one of the most common reasons why is that they also have cardiovascular disease.
To protect prostate health, men should adopt healthy habits that protect the heart
Specific lifestyle habits that benefit the heart can also help reduce the risk of developing prostate issues such as prostate cancer or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
Let’s take a look at several healthy lifestyle habits for men to consider to improve the health of both their heart and prostate:
- Heart healthy diet – Food to feed your heart also improves prostate health. Start by limiting unhealthy fats such as saturated fats and trans-fatty acids, and replace them instead, with healthier monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Choose more fatty fish such as salmon, albacore tuna, trout, avocados, nuts, seeds, and poultry while significantly reducing fatty cuts of red meat, bacon, butter, sour cream, or other processed meats such as hot dogs, sausage, or bologna.
Fill up with fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. These foods are naturally low in fat and sodium, making them perfect for heart health. Every day, men should aim to consume at least five servings of fruits and vegetables and other foods high in fiber such as beans, lentils, nuts, chia seeds, and whole grains. Men should consume between 30-38 grams of fiber daily.
- Regular exercise – The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that men obtain at least 30 minutes or more of aerobic exercise (brisk walking, jogging, running, swimming, bicycling, etc.) daily and to lift weights at least two days a week for good heart health. These same physical activities are also beneficial for keeping the prostate in tip-top shape.
- Reach and maintain a healthy body weight – Gaining excessive weight is a known risk factor for heart disease and prostate cancer. To reduce the risk of developing either, men need to pay attention to their weight, especially the amount they gain in the abdominal area, also known as central obesity. A good method for determining if a man has too much abdominal obesity is to measure their waist circumference. In an average man, a waist circumference greater than 35 inches is considered overweight, and greater than 40 inches is considered obese.
- Quit smoking – Most of us know how harmful smoking affects heart health. The chemicals in cigarette smoke can damage the heart and blood vessels which can lead to cardiovascular disease. This same smoke damage can lead to plaque buildup, a waxy substance comprised of cholesterol, scar tissue, calcium, fat, and other material that build up in the arteries and increase a man’s risk of a heart attack or stroke. But what men may not know is that smoking cigarettes also increases a man’s risk of dying from prostate cancer. Men being treated for prostate cancer and continue to smoke, are more likely to die of it, as the cancer is more likely to recur. Research has found that smoking affects every cell in the body and does harm the prostate gland. Ideally, the message is never start smoking but if a man already does, take steps to quit as soon as possible.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.