Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wham: Two for the price of one for men on heart-healthy diets

A new study reported on in the American Journal of Epidemiology indicates that a heart-healthy diet, and even moderate alcohol intake, may help decrease the risk of prostate problems in men. This is great news for men who have been cautioned about heart issues because taking some of these dietary precautions will also help them with what is called symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia, known as BPH.

The study showed that a high-fat diet increased the risk of BPH, a condition associated with frequent and painful urination that affects about half of all men by the time they reach 50 and nearly all men by age 70. The daily consumption of red meat increased the risk of BPH by 38 percent. Bad news for all those hamburger eaters.

The study also found that eating four or more servings of vegetables daily was associated with a 32 percent reduction in risk; consuming high amounts of lean protein was linked to 15 percent risk reduction, and that regular, moderate alcohol consumption was linked to 38 percent decline in BPH risk.

It has long been known that obesity increases the risk of prostate difficulty. The dietary pattern that is associated with obesity among men in the United States is high fat consumption. The results of this study clearly show a link between a high-fat diet and increased risk of BPH.

In the study, researchers found small, incremental increases in BPH risk as fat intake increased, with the most substantial risk, more than 30 percent, among men who got about 40 percent of their calories from fat.

In contrast, a low fat, high vegetable and moderate alcohol consumption pattern is associated with less obesity, lower circulating estrogens and androgens and less stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system.

Moderate alcohol use lowers circulating hormones and decreases muscle tone of the prostate.


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