After prostate cancer, a plant-based diet also helps maintain healthy sexuality

After prostate cancer, a plant-based diet also helps maintain healthy sexuality


OfAnna Fregonara

A study on over 3 thousand people found that a prevalence of foods of non-animal origin reduces the rate of possible side effects related to disease treatments

A diet a plant based appears to improve the quality of life of patients who have had treatment for prostate canceralleviating the possible side effects of therapies, such as erectile dysfunction and theurinary incontinence.

I study

These are the results of a prospective study that appeared in the journal Cancer, which included 3,505 participants with nonmetastatic prostate cancer. The sample was divided into five groups based on the proportion of foods of animal origin compared to those of plant origin. The median age at cancer diagnosis was 68 years: the most common treatments were radical prostatectomy and radiotherapy, in 48% and 35% of the sample, respectively.

The researchers found that those who consumed the highest percentage of vegetables achieved improved scores for sexual and bowel function, urinary irritation and obstruction, incontinence, and hormonal health, assessed by symptoms of depression, hot flashes, and low energy. The results are in line with previous investigations.
The same group of researchers, in fact, had already highlighted how greater adherence to a plant-based dietary model can reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer which in Italy is the first tumor in terms of incidence in men: in fact, it represents 19.8% of all male tumors.

What to eat

That’s the plant-based diet the researchers refer to traditionalcharacterized by a high consumption of vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts and whole grains and a low intake of dairy products and animal proteins.

A possible explanation could be the presence of fibre, polyphenols and antioxidants typical of foods of plant origin which, as has been seen in various studies, are capable of improving the glucose metabolism and endothelial function and to reduce theinflammation general.

«It is important to take into consideration the improvement of these three aspects because their alteration can affect urination and erectile function, which can be compromised due to prostate cancer treatments», explains Omid Sedigh, head of the Complex Structure of Urology and Reconstructive Andrology of Humanitas Gradenigo (Turin) and adjunct professor at Humanitas University. «Moreover, a greater intake of fiber is correlated with correct intestinal regularity and this is reflected in the well-being of the urinary tract and the perineum, that set of muscles, ligaments and tendons that closes the pelvis and has close relationships with the organs of the genitourinary system”.

Healthy sexuality with vegetables

Urologist Stacy Loeb, a urologist at NYU Langone Health and lead author of the aforementioned study, said: “Our findings cast doubt on the idea that meat consumption increases sexual function in men: the opposite appears to be true.” «There is no evidence in the literature that correlates meat consumption with sexual functionality», specifies urologist Sedigh. «From a study that appeared in The Journal of Sexual Medicine it has been seen that a dietary pattern characterized by high consumption of fruit, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and fish, but with a low consumption of red meat and refined cereals, is more represented in subjects without erectile dysfunction. Furthermore, among men with type 2 diabetes, those who had the greatest adherence to Mediterranean diet had the lowest prevalence of erectile dysfunction and were most likely to be sexually active».

March 16, 2024



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