Celebrate Men’s Health with a these tips for a healthy prostate

What Every Man Wants: A Healthy Prostate

This blog was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated in July 2013, but you can read the original post here.

HELP THE MEN IN YOUR LIFE WITH THESE TIPS FOR A HEALTHY PROSTATE

Knowing how to maintain a healthy prostate is as important for women as it is for the men they love.  Men with an enlarged prostate gland take longer to urinate, so when out together, women have to wait twice as long at public restrooms. Once to get into the Women’s Room and again waiting for her man to come out of the Men’s Room.

 Focusing on the Prostate for Men’s Health Month

Enlarged prostate is medically known as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). Growth of the prostate gland is accelerated in men during adolescence and again around age 50. As the prostate gets larger it compresses the uretha (tube that carries urine from the bladder). As a result, the stream of urine gets slower and slower, and the waiting begins.

The good news is, BPH is not a sign of prostate cancer and does not increase a man’s chances of developing it. The test used to detect prostate cancer is the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) level. While an enlarged prostate can raise the PSA a few points, that reading is not the best, or sole, indicator of prostate cancer. Other tests musts be done to confirm a diagnosis.

Diet for a Healthy Prostate

If you are following a diet to reduce your risk for heart disease, the number one cause of death in the U.S. for men and women alike, you are helping to lower the risk of BPH, too. Ads promising quick results to shrink the prostate are preying on the “impatience” of those dealing with the problem. Don’t be fooled. There are no foods or herbs that can instantly make trips to the urinal shorter.

What to Do:

Maintain a healthy body weight. A large waist measurement, or “beer belly,” is associated with higher risk of BPH.

Get regular physical activity. Even if weight is normal, exercise improves the circulation and muscle mass, both important in keeping the prostate healthy.

Eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Vitamin C from vegetable sources, such as bell pepper, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts, has been found to be especially beneficial.

Reduce fat intake. Choose lower fat milk and dairy products, light spreads, and lean cuts of meat and poultry for a lower fat diet.

Limit alcoholic beverages to 2 drinks a day. Studies have shown moderate drinking may inhibit risks of BPH while excess is questionable.

What to Doubt:

Saw Palmetto may or may not help due to variation in ingredients, purity and dosages. If you decide to take it be sure to tell your physician since it can affect other medications.

Zinc supplements or eating more foods high in zinc, like oysters and pumpkin seeds have not been proven effective.

Lycopene supplements or extra servings of foods high in lycopene, such as tomatoes and watermelon cannot shrink an enlarged prostate.

Vitamin D supplements unless being taken to meet daily requirements for general good health.

Beta-sitosterol supplements did not shrink the prostate or increase urinary flow in 4 studies of its effectiveness

The role of diet in reducing the risk of enlarged prostate is just one more piece of evidence that the diet that good for the heart is good for the whole body.

The amount of alcohol many people drink is more than they realize

How Much Alcohol Do You Really Drink?

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, so I have copied the original blog here.

SERVING SIZES FOR DRINKS CONTAINING ALCOHOL ARE SMALLER THAN MOST PEOPLE REALIZE

Drinking beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages can be good for you. But like every other dietary guideline, the benefits are tied very closely to how big the serving is and how often you have it. In fact, when it comes to alcoholic beverages, the difference between the right dose and an overdose can be lethal.

So rather than reviewing the potential health benefits of including alcohol in your diet, I want to deal directly with the issue of quantity.

How much alcohol is in one drink?

A “standard” drink in the United States is one that contains 0.6 fluid ounces of pure alcohol, which is 14 grams. Different alcoholic beverages have different “proof,” or alcohol concentration, so the serving sizes that provide that 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol differ.

Regular beer is only 5% alcohol so you get that “standard” serving of 0.6 grams of pure alcohol in 12 ounces of beer. Table wine is 12% alcohol so a 5 ounce serving of wine will supply 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol. Distilled spirits, or what is commonly called “hard liquor,” are typically 40% alcohol so a “standard” drink of whiskey, rye, or gin is just 1.5 ounces.

How many drinks are in one bottle?

Beer sold in bottles and cans clearly indicates the volume. The most common size is 12 ounces. A pub glass of beer holds 16 ounces, which is also called a “pint” of beer.

A bottle of wine contains 750 milliliters (ml), which is a little more than 25 fluid ounces. That means you should get five 5 ounce portions out of a bottle if you’re drinking “standard” servings.

To see what 5 ounces looks like in your wine glasses, fill a fluid measuring cup with 5 ounces of water and pour it into the different shaped wine glasses you have. That will also help you estimate the amount of wine you’ve been served when drinking it away from home since all wine glasses are not the same.

Another “handy” reference is the “two finger” gauge. That is the amount of wine in a glass that is no higher than the width of your pointer and index finger when put together.

A 750 ml bottle of 80 proof spirits, also called a “fifth,” holds 17 standard servings or 1.5 ounce shots. Shot glasses are not all the same size and most have no indication on them of how many ounces they hold. Their capacity can range from one ounce to three ounces or more. If you want to know how much you’re getting when using your own shot glasses, fill them with water and transfer the water to a graduated liquid measuring cup with ounce and half ounce markings to check the volume.

Since mixed drinks contain more than one alcoholic ingredient, you need to follow a recipe to know exactly how many shots or ounces of each were used. But when you’re out, you’re at the mercy of a fast moving bartender!

Are you drinking more than you thought if you use these standard serving sizes to count your drinks?