Over the years, awareness of prostate health has increased. Men are making sure they get checked for an enlarged or changing prostate, and annual prostate cancer screenings are saving lives. A lot of men, however, still aren’t even sure what the prostate is or what function it serves in the body, much less ways to help keep it healthy.
The prostate is a small gland about the size of a walnut that is an integral part of the male reproductive system. It’s located below the bladder and in front of the rectum, and its role in the reproductive system is to help make semen, which carries sperm from the testicles.
With age, the prostate gland enlarges. Some enlargement is normal, but if the prostate grows to the point that it interferes with urination, it becomes a problem called BPH, or benign prostatic hyperplasia, commonly called an enlarged prostate.
Signs and symptoms of BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia – enlarged prostate) include:
– Difficulty urinating
– Decreased force of urine stream
– Blood in semen or urine
– Swelling in the legs
– Bone pain
– Discomfort in pelvic region
Treatments for BPH include watching and waiting, medication, surgery and lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes may include limiting alcohol, increasing exercise and adjusting your diet.
Pecans contain a natural compound that creates a cholesterol-lowering superpower, beta-sitosterol. In scientific studies, the beta-sitosterol contained in two ounces of pecans per day, has proven effective in treating BPH as well as reduce cholesterol.
On top of being a key component of prostate and heart health, pecans are a great addition into your diet because:
– One ounce of pecans supplies 10% of your daily fiber requirement.
– Pecans contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals – including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.
– Pecans are heart-healthy, with little saturated fat and no trans-fat.
– Pecans are an excellent source of vitamin-E, and especially rich in gamma-tocopherol, providing about 25 g per 100 g. Gamma-tocopherol is considered a powerful antioxidant fights heart disease and also fights colon and breast cancer.
– Pecans are a natural, high-quality source of protein with very few carbohydrates, no cholesterol and no sodium.
– People with gluten intolerance or Celiac disease, a very serious health concern, can enjoy naturally gluten-free pecans.
– Pecans and pecan meal can be used in recipes for gluten-free diets.
– Pecans may help with weight control. When combined with a healthy diet, nuts may help increase metabolism and enhance satiety, making dieters feel full.
So, guys, September, National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, is the perfect time to think about your prostate and get a prostate exam, as prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men. We definitely are NOT encouraging you to eat pecans instead of getting a checkup – get a checkup! – but consider pecans as a delicious, proven way to punch up your healthful lifestyle.Sources: GeorgiaPecans.org WebMD Nutritional Fact Sheet Cancer.org