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The American Cancer Society classifies prostate cancer as the most common form of cancer among U.S. men. According to recent projections, of the 232,090 new cases to be diagnosed, about 30,350 men will die from prostate cancer. If you are a man over the age of 40 and prostate cancer runs in your family, it is extremely advisable to monitor your Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) levels. A PSA blood test measures the level of a protein released by prostate cells. Recent experts state that if a PSA level is 2.5 or higher, it reveals the possibility of prostate growth (hyperplasia), but it does not always mean that cancer is present. Since PSA levels may fluctuate with infection and lab errors, usually more than one test over a period of time is done to confirm your PSA level. Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) and ultrasound are other ways to evaluate the prostate. However, only biopsies can truly determine whether the growth in the prostate is benign or malignant.
The prostate gland lies at the base of the bladder surrounding the urethra (urinary tract from bladder to penis). During ejaculation, the prostate secretes a fluid that combines with the seminal fluid in order to prevent infection in the urethra while protecting and invigorating sperm. Due to the aging process, the prostate naturally enlarges as hormones change and weaken after the age of 40. The swelling of the prostate puts pressure against the bladder and urethra, thereby affecting the smooth flow of urine. Abnormal patterns of urination such as higher frequency at night, burning sensation, difficulty, blockage and dribbling are common symptoms and signs of prostate enlargement.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Approach to Prostate Care
TCM associates hyperplasia of the prostate with damp heat, blood stasis and kidney deficiency. After the age of 40, one's vital energy in the kidney system decreases, resulting in the disturbance of sex hormones. This process also decreases one's sexual energy, which affects the function of the prostate and the circulation in this region. Throughout the ages, in order to compensate for the decline of prostate function, men in China have used regular acupuncture treatments to improve the circulation and energy in the prostate. To enhance the effect of acupuncture, they have also used Chinese herbs such as He Shou Wu, in traditional, custom herbal formulas to replenish the kidney essence. Kidney essence nurtures the prostate. As the prostate is revitalized, it is now capable of self-regulating toward normal functioning and maintaining a balance of growth and non-growth. This is the balancing properties of Chinese medicine.
Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations
TCM nutrition encourages men to eat more nuts, seeds, pumpkin, mushroom and berries to help nourish their prostates. Managing stress, regular exercise and massaging the prostate are also vital to help maintain prostate health. Besides Chinese herbs and western herbs such as saw palmetto, there are many delicious foods that you can eat to help maintain a healthy prostate. Regular consumption of foods that contain lycopene (a prostate protective antioxidant) is highly recommended.
The following are foods that contain lycopene:
watermelon, pink grapefruit, guava, papaya, apricot and cooked tomatoes (tomato paste, tomato soup, tomato juice and marinara sauce). Nutrition experts have expressed concern that pesticides and herbicides in animal products may trigger cancer growth. This may be another good reason for you to eat more organic fruits and vegetables and avoid saturated, high-fat animal products and snacks that contain hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated oils.
Include pumpkin seeds, anise, tangerines, cherries, figs, sunflower seeds, mango, seaweed.
Avoid dairy products, sugar, rich foods, fatty foods, fried foods, processed foods, all stimulants such as alcohol, caffeine, and smoking. Vegetarian diet is recommended.
1. Roast pumpkin seeds or boil into tea one large handful twice a day. 2. Make tea from rhubarb root, peach kernel, winter melon seeds, pearl barley, azuki bean, and cornsilk. Drink three times daily.
3. Boil fig tea.
4. Make tea from dried orange peel, organic and include the seeds.
5. Make 4 slices into okra vertically, 4 pieces, steep overnight in 1 cup room temperature water and drink the water early am. Continue for 8 days.
6. Dilute 1 tbsp. aged balsamic vinegar (preferred at least 10 years aged) with 2 tbsp. water and drink between meals twice a day.
7. Drink a glass of water every two waking hours.
8. One bunch of fresh parsley steeped in 3 cups of hot water, let steep overnight, drink 3 cups a day.
16 oz. a day, alternate between these options.
1. 10oz. carrot, 3oz. beets, 3oz. cucumber
2. 10oz. carrot, 6 oz. spinach
3. basil (fresh) - 3 tbsp, blueberries - 1.5 cup, cayenne Pepper (spice) - 2 pinch, lime - 1/2 fruit, watermelon - 5 cup, diced
4. lemon - 1/2 fruit, tomato - 1 large whole, watermelon - 1 large wedge
5. carrots - 2 large, celery - 3 stalk, large, cucumber - 1/2 cucumber, parsley - 2 handful, Pepper (sweet green) - 1/2 medium, spinach - 1 cup, tomatoes - 3 medium whole
Exercise daily with low-impact workouts, to keep cholesterol down and work off stress. Walking for an hour or two every day is excellent. Qigong exercises that focus on qi cultivation in the dantian are essential. Regular cardiovascular exercises are important for prostate health. A healthy heart equals a healthy prostate.
Avoid riding bicycles, motorcycles, or horses as this may injure the perineum, resulting in congestion of the prostate.
Avoid exposure to dampness and cold, and do not sit for long periods of time on padded seats as this compresses the prostate.
Avoid constipation; this is very important.
Do not let the bladder become too full. Urinate as quickly as possible when the urge comes, and try to completely empty the bladder each time.
In TCM, sexual energies are governed by the kidneys and problems related to male sexual health also include male infertility and erectile dysfunction. While another good saying is that good sexual health equals good prostate health, the importance of treating all conditions related to the prostate as well as male infertility and erectile dysfunction are important for optimal sexual health.
These diet and lifestyle recommendations may help prevent this pervasive cancer and help invigorate your body.
Your acupuncturist or herbalist will likely recommend an herbal protocol to clear damp heat, invigorate blood and qi, and reinforce the kidneys. An herbal protocol for 6 months is suggested.
credit: Ban Wong, L.Ac., Dr. Lilian Chang, the tao of nutrition, Dr. Norman Walker.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.