Prostate, after surgery better sex life with a plant-based diet

Prostate, after surgery better sex life with a plant-based diet

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Fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts could be the key to improving the quality of life of men affected by prostate cancer. According to a recent study published in Cancer and led by researchers from the NYU Grossman School of Medicine and the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health a plant-based diet would be able to reduce erectile dysfunction and improve sexual health and function: the side effects most commonly observed in treated patients for this type of cancer. By examining the eating habits of 3,500 men affected by prostate cancer, it emerged that reducing the consumption of meat, dairy products, eggs and fats promotes higher levels of sexual health and well-being.

“The percentage of people who report erectile dysfunction problems after treatment for prostate cancer can vary greatly. In addition to individual factors, the frequency depends on the type of therapy patients undergo. In some cases, however, such as for example with radical prostatectomy, erectile dysfunction can occur in over 50% of individuals,” he comments Alessandro Palmieripresident of the Italian andrology society (Sia).

The study on men with prostate cancer

The researchers took into consideration the data collected through the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, a survey conducted entirely on men, started in 1986 and still ongoing, created with the aim of understanding how eating habits influence the risks associated with cancer, heart disease and other serious conditions. Among all participants, only individuals with a diagnosis of early non-metastatic prostate cancer who underwent radical prostatectomy or radiotherapy were selected.

Two questionnaires were then administered to the 3,500 selected men. The first, every four years, concerned eating habits, types and quantities of food consumed. The second, repeated every two years, was instead related to the monitoring of factors such as weight, lifestyle, clinical history and state of health following treatment for prostate cancer. In particular, the latter aimed to evaluate the incidence of incontinence, irritation or obstruction of the urinary tract, difficulty maintaining an erection, sexual function, intestinal problems, energy level and mood state.

Based on the results obtained in the diet questionnaire, the patients were then divided into five groups, quintiles, depending on the proportion of plant foods, compared to those of animal origin, that they declared they consumed. The study authors found that the quintile with a diet richest in fruits and vegetables had scores 8% to 11% higher on measures of sexual health and function than the group with the highest meat and dairy diet. . Results consistent with previous studies by the same research group which in a 2022 work, published in theAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutritionhad already shown the potential of a predominantly plant-based diet in reducing the risk of developing aggressive forms of prostate cancer and preventing sexual dysfunction even in men without any diagnosis of this type of cancer.

The results also found that, regardless of demographic factors, lifestyle differences and medical history, consuming high quantities of plant-based foods is linked to better urinary tract health, with fewer cases of incontinence, obstruction and irritation. compared to those who follow diets with a greater presence of meat. The authors also found scores of up to 13 percent better in hormonal health and vitality, which assesses symptoms such as low energy, depression and hot flashes.

Why are fruits and vegetables so good for you?

“Diet affects sexual health and the reduction of erectile dysfunction mainly through improving blood circulation, reducing oxidative stress and supporting the production of nitric oxide. Foods rich in nutrients such as arginine, omega-3, antioxidants and Zinc can help maintain vascular health and the proper functioning of the reproductive system,” he explains Claudio MarinoSia andrologist.

As also highlighted by the authors of the study, dietary fibre, polyphenols and antioxidants present in plant-based foods improve glucose metabolism, reduce inflammation and promote endothelial function. In contrast, pro-inflammatory eating patterns such as diets rich in animal foods, such as red and processed meats, are associated with a greater risk of erectile dysfunction, urinary incontinence and depression.

“The study addresses issues that are very clear and well known to us andrologists. In fact, the positive effects of numerous substances on the prevention of urological diseases and the improvement of erectile function are well known in the literature”, underlines Palmieri. Increasing your consumption of plant-based foods is an easily modifiable factor that aligns with cardiovascular health recommendations and prevention for obesity and diabetes. “Introducing a healthy diet could have a positive impact on overall health and post-treatment erectile dysfunction management. However, diet alone may not completely eliminate the need for specific medications or therapies. However, it could be part of an integrated approach to improve sexual health and reduce associated risk factors. Substances such as arginine, omega-3 and antioxidants found in foods such as fish, fruit, vegetables and nuts can be included in a targeted eating plan. Nowadays – continues -, with an increasingly busy and frenetic life, to overcome the difficulties of following a healthy diet and correct nutrition, supplements and supplements also come in handy, such as Drolessane developed by Sia, in collaboration with the Institute of Clinical Pharmacology of the University of Catanzaro. In any case, however, a personalized approach and medical advice remain essential”, concludes President Sia.

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