The Role of Nutrition in Urologic Health
You have most likely heard the phrase “You are what you eat.” The risk of acquiring a certain disease is influenced by a person’s genetics; however, lifestyle factors play a large role in determining whether or not someone develops that disease. These factors can be diet, exercise, smoking, etc. Eating unhealthy foods and lack of exercise can lead to obesity, and obesity increases your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. These diseases increase your chances of experiencing urological issues such as erectile dysfunction and prostate cancer.
Several studies have shown that men who eat a high red meat diet have a slightly higher chance of getting prostate cancer. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are recommended for a prostate healthy diet. This includes foods such as:
- Brussel Sprouts
We also recommend whole grains and fruits high in anti-oxidants, such as strawberries and blueberries. One way to incorporate anti-inflammatory foods into your diet is with cooking spices such as curcumin, garlic, and ginger.
Certain drinks and foods are also important when it comes to overactive bladder. Some patients that come in to be seen are not aware that their 2nd cup of coffee for the day could be irritating the lining of their bladder. Coffee could be worsening the symptoms of urinary frequency and urgency. Bladder irritants can include:
- Caffeine: coffee, tea, and soda
- Carbonated beverages: soda and seltzer water
- Citrus fruits and fruit juices
- Spicy foods
We recommend cutting down your daily intake of the above irritants if you are experiencing urgency symptoms. You can also try an elimination diet. This involves cutting out all irritants, and slowly introducing them back into your diet one at a time to see which ones bother you the most.
Infertility affects one out of every six couples, and research shows that it can be due to the man in up to 50% of cases. There are many causes of infertility, but there is strong evidence that a nutritious diet can improve sperm quality. They need key nutrients such as zinc, folate, and selenium to develop properly. We recommend you:
- Eat more lean protein such as fish and poultry, and cut out processed meat
- Increase your daily intake of vegetables and fruit (eat organic when possible)
- Limit saturated fat and substitute with healthy fats such as avocados and walnuts
- Maintain a healthy weight (being overweight or underweight can negatively affect a man’s sperm)
- Stop smoking
- Limit alcohol
- Take a multi-vitamin
The earlier you begin a healthy lifestyle the better, but it is never too late to start. If you are concerned about your urologic health please contact Utah Men’s Health. We are here to help!