Going Macho For Movember

Movember is a great reminder to focus on men’s health & the big issues that can affect men specifically.

Although a healthful diet is beneficial to all there are a few things in particular that men should concentrate on to keep themselves functioning as their best selves.

1. Zinc

Is a vital nutrient for immune function and in men it is also crucial for reproductive health. Optimal zinc levels are directly correlated with sperm motility & prostate health, so if you’re aiming for peak potency Zinc is exceptionally important. [1]

Food sources: Sesame seeds, Pumpkin seeds, Lentils, Chickpeas, Cashews, Quinoa, Spinach, Beef, Lamb, Turkey, Prawns

2. Lycopene

Is a natural antioxidant that gives the red pigment to fruits including tomatoes, pink grapefruit and rosehips. This can be particularly helpful to men in guarding against heart disease.

Lycopene is seen to accumulate in the tissues of the prostate & testes where it actively guards against free radical damage that can contribute to cancer development. [2]

Lycopene supplementation is also considered a viable treatment for male infertility as it decreases lipid peroxidation & DNA damage whilst increasing sperm count & viability, as well as general immunity. [3]

Food sources: Cooked Tomatoes, Pink Grapefruit, Guava, Watermelon, Rosehips

3. Quercetin

Another natural anti-inflammatory antioxidant with direct actions on the prostate.

Quercetin is seen to improve Prostatitis symptoms including abdominal pain, urinary frequency & painful ejaculation by blocking the release of histamine & other inflammatory markers. [4][5]

Research also suggests the Quercetin can inhibit the activity of genes associated with prostate cancer development & spread in addition to promoting cancer cell death. [6][7][8]

Food sources: Apples, Peppers, Raw Red Onion, Cruciferous vegetables (e.g. broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts), Green leafy vegetables (e.g. Spinach, Kale), Berries, Citrus fruits, Whole grains, Capers, Green Tea.

4. Hormone Balancing

Adequate excretion of hormones is necessary to maintain good health. The Liver aids in this through the removal of hormones once they have had their necessary actions.

Excess oestrogens are implicated in cancer development due to their growth promoting action. An imbalance of androgen hormones can also contribute to the onset or perpetuation of male pattern baldness. [9]

Foods can be exceptionally powerful in aiding good Liver function & maintaining good digestive transit to ensure the products of detoxification are readily removed from the body.

Examples: Watercress, Rocket, Garlic, Grapefruit, Artichoke, Beetroot, Walnuts, Green Leafy Vegetables, Oats, Whole grains, Legumes, Beans, Pulses

5. Exercise

The incorporation of regular exercise into our routines increases longevity, happiness & aids the avoidance of conditions such as cardiovascular disease & diabetes.

There is also good evidence to suggest men who regularly exercise have improved sexual function when compared to those who do not exercise. [10]

Exercise is also shown to improve the quality of life & survival rates of men diagnosed with prostate cancer. [11]

Protecting the Prostate

Enlargement of the prostate; Benign Prostate Hyperplasia, is the most common pathology affecting the male reproductive system.

Others including Prostatitis & Urinary Tract Infections, in addition to Prostate & Testicular Cancers, can be significantly improved through Nutritional Therapy intervention.

For individuals currently experiencing symptoms of an enlarged prostate, or with a diagnosis of BPH the following dietary points could be of significant benefit.

To have/do everyday

Food:

  1. ¼-½ cup pumpkin seeds or 1-2 tablespoons pumpkin seed oil
  2. 1 tablespoon organic tomato puree – preferably from a glass jar not a tube
  3. 2-3 brazil nuts
  4. 2 double handfuls of green vegetables (as a side dish, in soups, braised in chopped tomatoes, blended with beans/chickpeas to make a houmous for example)
  5. 1.5-2 litres of water
  6. 1-2 cups of organic Nettle tea
  7. At least 1 portion of whole grains, legumes, pulses or beans (brown/red/black  rice, quinoa, black rice noodles, lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, adzuki beans, mung beans, red/green/brown lentils etc)

Lifestyle:

  1. At least 30 minutes of exercise or movement that increases your heart rate.
  2. At least 1 set of pelvic floor exercises – See below for instructions (ideally you should work up to doing them 3 times a day – you will see more improvement this way too) 

 

Other good foods to include

  • Cooked Tomatoes
  • Onions, Garlic, Shallots, Leeks
  • Salmon, Mackerel (fresh or tinned rather than smoked) Herring, Anchovies, Sardines
  • Avocados
  • Adzuki beans, Chickpeas, Butter beans, Cannellini Beans, Kidney Beans
  • Lentils & Whole grains
  • Broccoli, Cauliflower, Kale, Brussels sprouts, Spinach, Watercress
  • Edamame beans
  • Sesame seeds/tahini, almonds, walnuts – maximum 2-3 times a week
  • Chia seeds & flaxseeds
  • Oats
  • Rainbow coloured vegetables

 

To avoid

  1. Sugar – no additional sugar, honey, syrups etc & prepared condiments, sauces or dips.
  2. White flour, bread, rice, pasta – super inflammatory and acts exactly the same as sugar in the body
  3. Red meat – max 1 serving a week & must be organic. Preferably leaner meat, cooked slowly rather than flash cooked at higher temperatures.
  4. Processed food – for at least a month no junk food, anything fried including crisps, sweets, ice cream, chips, biscuits, chocolates (unless raw) etc
  5. Alcohol – again not for at least month
  6. Caffeine – max 1 cup a day of organic green/matcha green tea

 

Supplements & herbs are also known to be particularly useful for managing the symptoms of an enlarged prostate & aiding shrinkage.

For more information on these or to discuss your particular situation please contact me on 07738711183 or email pliebling@me.com

Male Pelvic Floor Exercises

 

How to find the pelvic floor muscles

 

    • To find your pelvic floor, try to stop the flow of urine in mid-stream or imagine trying to avoid passing wind by squeezing inside and pulling upwards.

 

How to do pelvic floor exercises

 

Pelvic floor exercises can be done anywhere and anytime. You can perform them standing, squatting or lying down but at first you may find it easier to do the exercises sitting down:

    • Sit on a chair, toilet seat or toilet lid.
    • Make sure that your feet are flat on the floor and your legs are slightly apart.
    • Lean forwards, resting your elbows on your knees.
    • There are two types of exercises – slow twitch and fast twitch. It is important that you do the slow twitch first and then the fast twitch each time you exercise your pelvic floor muscles.

To perform the slow twitch exercises:

  1. Close and draw up the muscles around back passage, as if you are trying to stop passing wind. Make sure that you do not contract (tighten) your buttock muscles while you do this.
  2. Now close and draw up the muscles around your urethra, as though you are trying to stop the flow of urine. Try not to hold your breath, breathe normally. Pull upwards and count how long you can hold the squeeze. If you can hold for a count of 10, then relax for a count of 10.
  3. Repeat this until you feel tired. Over time you should be able to increase the length of time you can hold for.

To perform the fast twitch exercises:

  1. Pull up the pelvic floor muscles as before.
  2. Hold for one second and then relax.
  3. Repeat until your muscles feel tired.

Pelvic floor muscles tire easily and you may notice that it takes a lot of concentration to begin with to do these exercises correctly. If you find that the muscles ‘let go’ too quickly and that you cannot hold for long, just hold them for as long as you can. If you can only hold the contraction for a count of three, then every time you do your exercises, contract the muscles for a count of three. Gradually try to work up to four, then five and so on.

Once you feel confident in doing the exercises try doing them in other positions, such as standing or squatting. Remember to tighten your pelvic floor muscle during and after any activity that makes you leak – like rising from a chair or coughing – so that tightening becomes an automatic reaction.

While performing the exercises, it is important not to:

  • squeeze your buttocks together
  • bring your knees together
  • hold your breath
  • lift your shoulders, eyebrows or toes upwards.

If you do any of these, you will not contract (tighten) your muscles correctly.

How often should I do my exercises?

Practise pelvic floor contractions (as explained previously) three times a day. Make sure you do the contractions properly every time. It is a good idea to have something that reminds you to do your exercises. Doing them after meals or after passing urine may help.

If you are doing these exercises to improve your bladder or bowel control, you should do them for the rest of your life. If you stop exercising, your problems may return.

Do not expect instant results:

It will take several weeks of regular exercise to regain the strength in your pelvic floor muscles.

How do I know I’m doing them correctly?

To check that you are doing the exercises correctly stand in front of a mirror and do a contraction. You should see your penis dip downwards, and see and feel your scrotum lift upwards.

Every two weeks, test the strength of your pelvic floor by stopping the flow of urine mid-stream. You may not be able to completely stop the flow of urine to begin with, but you may notice that you are able to slow the flow down. Gradually over the weeks, you should notice an improvement.

It is important that you do not do this test more than once a fortnight as it may cause problems with your bladder. (This is just a test to see how you are progressing.)

References

[1] Zinc Levels in Seminal Fluid in Infertile Males and its Relation with Serum Free Testosterone. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27437207

[2] Lycopene effects contributing to prostate health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20155615

[3] Lycopene and male infertility. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24675655

[4] Quercetin in men with category III chronic prostatitis: a preliminary prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10604689

[5] Phenotypically directed multimodal therapy for chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome: a prospective study using UPOINT. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20363491

[6]Inhibition of prostate cancer cell colony formation by the flavonoid quercetin correlates with modulation of specific regulatory genes. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC321331/

[7] Quercetin downregulates matrix metalloproteinases 2 and 9 proteins expression in prostate cancer cells (PC-3). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16645725

[8] Quercetin regulates insulin like growth factor signaling and induces intrinsic and extrinsic pathway mediated apoptosis in androgen independent prostate cancer cells (PC-3). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20658310

[9] Hair growth compositions and methods for treating hair loss or related conditions https://www.google.com/patents/US20070086972

[10] Lifestyle factors and reproductive health: taking control of your fertility https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3717046/

[11] Integrating diet and exercise into care of prostate cancer patients on androgen deprivation therapy https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4993404/

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