On episode 15 of Sisters Without Shame, a friend in crisis says prevention is better than cure – he learned this the hard way following his prostate cancer diagnosis. He advises men, young and old, to include healthier foods in their diet and take their nutrition more seriously.
Pretoria-based dietitian Jason van Heerden joins this week’s episode of Sisters Without Shame, with insights on men’s nutrition and the importance of a healthy diet for prostate cancer survival.
Maybe you might want to squirm at the thought of adding more plants to your diet. “Sometimes men [say] ‘only animals eat vegetables, I eat the animal’,” says van Heerden.
But more greens and juicy fruit could just do you a world of good, he adds. Good nutrition may help reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer, slow progression of the disease and prevent aggressive disease.
Guys, you need fibre
Fibre is celebrated for preventing or relieving constipation. Eating foods that are high in fibre can also help lower risk for diabetes, heart disease and even some kinds of cancer.
It is found mainly in fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and legumes, and men need at least 20 – 30 grams of fibre a day, Van Heerden explains.
“It just means we want to have a bit more of a focus on plant foods like fruits, vegetables and our wholegrains like wholewheat bread and All Bran flakes and other fantastic sources of fibre that we need to get in.”
Meat is not always the enemy
A chop or two never hurt anybody, as long as it cooked well and consumed in moderation.
“I often hear people say, ‘Jason, I don’t want to get cancer’ or ‘I currently have cancer, I have heard that I need to cut out all meat and especially red meat because that is very bad for me’. That is not necessarily the case,” he says.
“If we take too much protein out, it can also have a negative effect – we need to still get in enough protein, especially if you are doing things like chemotherapy. You don’t want to be overdoing it. If we have the choice, we are going to rather be focusing on white meat like fish, and chicken.”
What every man’s plate should look like
Van Heerden breaks down the essential foods on a man’s daily dinner plate:
Essential non-starch vegetables: Half of your plate must be filled with non-starch vegetables, says Van Heerden. “This includes salad greens, tomatoes, carrots, spinach and morogo – the more watery vegetables.”
Starch in moderation: A quarter of the plate can be starches like potato, butternut, rice and breads.
Meaty business: “Ideally we want to be having more protein, for example more meat with less fat and chicken without the skin. We can even have pork, we can look at things like eggs, and beans because beans are very high in fibre as well,” Van Heerden advises.
Good fats: Just a little bit of fat, like the oil you use to make the meat, a bit of avocado or a bit of olives.
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