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Prostate

Present only in men, the prostate is a walnut-sized exocrine gland that is situated between the penis and the bladder andjust in front of the rectum. The urethra that runs through the center of the prostate allows semen and urine to flow out of the body. The prostate consists of thousands of tiny glands that produce a fluid that forms part of the semen. This fluid also protects and nourishes the sperm. During orgasm, sperm travels from the testes and move into the prostate gland by tubes called vas deferens. The smooth muscles present in the prostate gland contract and allow the semen to move through the urethra and finally exit the body.

Facts of Organ

A PSA test can determine whether a man has prostate cancer or not

The prostate produces a protein called prostate specific antigen or PSA which helps in determining whether a man has prostate cancer or not. Small amounts of PSA are normal in the blood but if the PSA level is raised in the blood, then it could indicate prostate cancer. A PSA test is a blood test which measures the level of PSA in the blood. But not all raised PSA levels indicate cancer –it could indicate some other problem as well.

Your family history can indicate your chances of suffering from prostate cancer

One’s family history can give a good indication whether one is likely to get prostate cancer or not. If any immediate member of your family such as your father, brother, uncle or grandfather has had prostate cancer then there is a greater probability that you too might suffer from the disease.

Urine flow can be a good indicator of prostate health

One’s urine flow can be a good indicator of prostate health. If you notice a change in your urine flow then it is better to go see a doctor. A change in urine flow could indicate many things, chief among them being an enlargement of the prostate called benign prostatic hyperplasia or an inflammation of the prostate called prostatitis. However, prostate cancer may not affect urine pressure until the disease is well -advanced, so you need to be on the lookout for other symptoms as well.

Functions of Organ

Secretes prostate fluid

The prostate gland is a male reproductive organ whose main function is to secrete prostate fluid, one of the important components of semen. Prostate fluid is a milky white mixture that is composed of enzymes, chemicals and simple sugars. The simple sugars such as glucose and fructose present in prostate fluid nourish the sperm as it passes into the female body. The enzymes serve to break down the proteins in semen after ejaculation while the alkaline chemicals present in prostate fluid help to neutralize the acidic vaginal secretions which allows the sperm to survive in the female body.

Urine control

The prostate gland with the help of muscle fibers helps in urine control. Themuscle fibers present in the prostate release and contract thereby controlling the flow of urine passing through the urethra. Under normal circumstances, urine present in the urethra passes through the prostate without any difficulty. However, if the prostate is enlarged then the passage of urine becomes difficult and a man may have difficulty in urinating.

Anatomy

Peripheral zone

The peripheral or the outside area of the prostate is the nearest to the rectum. It makes up the largest area of the prostate. It is this region of the prostate where the majority of prostate tumors are detected. Doctors can detect a prostate tumor by palpating the rectal wall.

Transition zone

The transition zone lies is the middle area of the prostate situated between the central and peripheral zones. The transition zone constitutes about 20% of the prostate gland. As men start aging, the transition zone begins to enlarge leading to a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). As the transition zone grows in size it pushes the peripheral zone toward the rectum.

Central zone

The central zone lies in front of the transition zone and is that part of the prostate that is farthest from the rectum. As a result of this, it is difficult to detect prostate cancer by a physical examination. Although only 2.5% of prostate cancers occur in this region, the ones that occur are very aggressive.

Food Tips

Berries

Berries like blackberries, strawberries and raspberries are rich in powerful antioxidants which protect the body from free radicals that increase cancer risk. The anthocyanins derived from berries reduce inflammation in the body and thus provide relief from inflated prostrate. Berries also contain Vitamin C which helps to ease the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia by reducing swelling and promoting urination.

Tofu

Soybean isoflavones are known to have a positive effect on prostate health. The isoflavones slowed down the growth of prostate tissues in BPH and also interfere with the growth of cancer causing cells in the prostate thus reducing the risk of prostate cancer.

Bell Peppers

Vitamin C derived from vegetables is an antioxidant that is known to play an important role in fighting BPH. A cup of raw bell peppers provide 195 percent of our daily Vitamin C requirement – more than any other vegetable. Other Vitamin C rich vegetables are cauliflower, broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are rich in a carotenoid called lycopene which gives tomatoes its vibrant red color. Lycopene lowers the risk of men suffering fromprostate cancer and BPH. Lycopene also helps to lower the blood level of antigen which is connected to prostate inflammation and BPH. Other carotenoid rich products are apricots, watermelon, papaya and pink grapefruit.

Avocadoes

Avocadoes are rich in a plant sterol called beta-sitosterol which helps reduce symptoms of BPH. Men who take beta-sitosterol supplements are known to have better urinary flow. Beta-sitosterolalso strengthens the immune system and reduces inflammation and pain as well. Apart from avocadoes, other beta-sitosterolfoods include pecans, soybeans, pumpkin seeds and wheat

Vegetables

Consuming more vegetables can lower the risk of developing BPH. Green leafy vegetables particularly broccoli reduce the risk of prostate diseases like prostate cancer and BPH. Those who consume garlics and onions regularly are well protected from prostate problems hence garlic and onions must be consumed regularly.

Fatty Fish

Omega 3 fatty acids present abundantly in fatty fish like herring, sardines, anchovies, tuna and salmon are known to boost prostate health. The healthy fats present in fatty fish not only protect against cardiovascular diseases but also lower the risk of prostate cancer. The anti-inflammatory features of omega 3 fatty acids inhibit tumor growth thus preventing cancer.

Brazil nuts

Healthy fats found in nuts not only promote cardiovascular health but have other benefits as well. Brazil nuts are especially good for the prostate as they are a rich source of selenium apart from being a rich source of nutrients like calcium and vitamin E. Selenium can help fight against prostate cancer and provide protection from other diseases too.

Pecans

Pecan is another nut which is good for prostate health. They're loaded with a plant steroid called beta-sitosterol which provides relief from the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are rich in zinc, a mineral essential for the health of the prostate. Men who suffer from prostate cancer or BPH are seen to have lower levels of zinc in their bodies, sometimes as much as 75 percent less than men with healthy prostates. In addition to sesame seeds, you can also consume adzuki beans, pumpkin seeds, oysters and almonds all of which are high in zinc.

Pomegranate

Compounds present in pomegranate prevent the metastasis of prostate cancer. These compounds inhibit the movement of cancer cells and thus reduce the spread of the disease to other parts of the body.

Lifestyle Tips

Exercise regularly

Studies show that men who exercise regularly have a reduced risk of suffering from prostate cancer. Exercise will not help you to maintain your weight but also help you to lose it. If you are new to exercising, start slowly at first. Try to aim for 30 minutes of exercise every day at least five days of the week.

Maintain a healthy weight

Men who are overweight with a BMI of 30 or higher have a greater chance of suffering from prostate cancer. If you are overweight find out means on losing weight. You can either cut down on your calorie intake or exercise more. If you are in the healthy weight range, then try to maintain it by exercising regularly and having a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

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