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Protect yourself from three conditions with one smart move

October 10, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.

This feature is about men's urological health, but because, sorrowfully, men are not all that good at taking care of their wellbeing, we're writing it for men and the women who care about them. Sometimes you guys just need a kick in the backside to get you going.

A 2019 Cleveland Clinic survey of more than 1,100 men found that 72% would rather do household chores like cleaning the bathroom (and they really don't like doing that) than go to the doctor. Even guys who try to take care of themselves say they are frequently, well, less than honest with their doc when they do see him or her. More than a third of those men say that's because they didn't want to hear that they needed to change their diet or lifestyle.

So we're pleading with you to listen up, because recent studies reveal a great shortcut that reduces your risk for three serious health problems with one easy-to-do, enjoyable lifestyle upgrade. Really, it could even be fun -- at least a lot more fun than cleaning the bathroom!

Prospects for a healthy prostate. Two studies were recently presented at the American Urological Association virtual meeting that looked at PSA levels (a marker for prostate cancer) and full-blown prostate cancer.

The first, done by researchers from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, looked at data on almost 1,400 men and found that those who had a higher intake of a healthy plant-based diet that included whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and tea and coffee, were almost half as likely to have an elevated PSA level.

The second study tracked more than 27,000 men for up to 28 years. The researchers found that among men who were diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 66 those who ate the most fruits and vegetables had a lower risk of advanced prostate cancer, and it was less likely the disease would be fatal.

Protection from erectile dysfunction. Another UMiami-based study presented at AUA looked at info on 2,549 men, around 57 % of whom contended with erectile dysfunction. Turned out the more vegetables and fruits men ate, the less likely they were to have erectile problems.

ED is something that three out of every five men (of all ages) report having experienced at least sometime, yet 60% of them never mention it to their doctor. That's a shame because it can be a sign of an underlying condition -- like high blood pressure, clogged arteries, diabetes or hormone imbalance -- not an emotional problem.

"We can summarize [the three studies] succinctly," said Dr. Stacy Loeb of NYU Langone Health, the lead author of the study titled "Association of Plant-Based Dietary Patterns with Prostate Cancer Risk." "Eat more plants for your prostate and your erections."

So here's the short course for prostate health and erectile wellbeing: Head to the grocery store, fellas, and pick out five colorful vegetables -- red bell peppers, orange carrots, blueberries, yellow squash and arugula, for example -- plus some beans and whole grains or 100% whole-wheat pasta, and get your whole family in on the prep of a tasty dinner. Want to add animal protein? Choose skinless chicken or salmon -- broiled, steamed, sauteed, stir-fried or added to a pasta sauce.

Your goal is to eat five to nine servings a day of fruits and vegetables -- and to let that push red and processed meats, highly processed foods and sugar-added foods and drinks off your plate. Since 56% of 18- to 34-year-old men contend with ED, it's never too soon to adopt a plant-based diet. And just so you know, it can do a lot for the women and girls in your life, too: reduce the risk of breast and uterine cancer, help fight depression, ease monthly period pain, and reduce the risk of urinary tract infections -- studies even show vegetarians have a 16% lower risk of UTIs compared to meat eaters.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c)2021 Michael Roizen, M.D.

and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

King Features Syndicate

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