One of the delights of summer is the abundance of delicious fresh fruit. Happily, fruits are high on the list of first-choice foods for your daily diet to support prostate problems. Berries are excellent, low in fat and calories, but high in taste. An apple, an orange, a peach or a plum are tasty snacks that are great for you.
As a general rule, eat whole fruit instead of drinking fruit juice. Fruit juice concentrates sugar and calories while eating whole fruit provides fiber and helps you feel fuller. One exception is a daily serving of 100% pomegranate juice, now commercially available and sugar-free. Pomegranate juice provides a high-level concentration of antioxidants and prostate healthy phytonutrients.
Munching on whole fruit is satisfying, while your body gets the benefits of the high fiber to keep digestion moving along. Since obesity is a proven factor in poor prostate health, it’s important to stay at a healthy weight. Studies especially advise keeping belly fat in check and eating whole fruit may help you do that.
Many fruits are naturally high in important beta carotene antioxidants, phytonutrients and fiber. Carotenes are the plant pigments that add the vibrant red, orange, yellow and pink colors to many fruits (and vegetables). Think of the antioxidants in fruit as the high octane gas you want to put in your prostate tank. So choose fruits with powerful colors to maximize those important nutrients.
One of the most potent carotenes is the antioxidant lycopene. Research studies over many years have pointed to lycopene as one of the most effective natural medicinal nutrients to promote prostate health. Lycopene is naturally present in healthy prostate tissue but appears to decline in the aging prostate and low levels of lycopene are found in unhealthy prostates. Many studies have measured improved prostate health outcomes in men who consumed higher amounts of lycopene compared to control groups that did not.
You can add more lycopene to your diet with watermelon, apricots, pink grapefruit, papaya, goji berries and raspberries. (Interestingly, some red fruits like cherries and strawberries don’t contain lycopene, while some non-red vegetables, like asparagus, do.)
Tomatoes, which are botanically classified as a fruit, are another popular source of lycopene. In the case of tomatoes, the cooked, rather than fresh, tomato delivers more lycopene to the body, and in turn to your prostate. You’ll lose some Vitamin C when tomatoes are cooked, but it’s easy to make that up with other fruits and especially the cruciferous vegetables, so high in Vitamin C (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts are just a few) that should be the mainstay of your healthy prostate eating plan. When tomatoes are cooked over low or medium heat in oil the lycopene from tomatoes becomes more bioavailable. That makes it more readily absorbed by your body. Be sure to avoid using processed vegetable oils. Instead, choose a healthy oil like olive oil, avocado or coconut oil. The Mediterranean diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables and olive oil is excellent.
Your local farmers’ markets are at their best this time of year. So shop local. Buy Fruit. Get some tomatoes. And have a great time supporting your local farmers and your prostate too!