Why Your Dad Stays in the Bathroom So Long
A man's prostate is a funny little thing. This walnut-sized gland's job is to produce fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. About 30% of your baby batter is prostate juice. Feel free to drop that fact during dinner conversation to impress your date.
Weird thing is, the prostate keeps growing a little after puberty. Sometimes too much. Since it's close to the urethra, a swollen prostate can disrupt or block urine flow. This is known as "benign prostate hyperplasia" or BPH. In short, it makes it hard to pee.
And the prostate is also really prone to cancer. It's the most common form of cancer in men and the second biggest man-killer in that category, right behind lung cancer.
How to Protect Your Man Gland
When it comes to protecting the prostate, the antioxidant lycopene, part of a class of phytonutrients called the carotenoids, is important. Your prostate really likes lycopene. (It also likes to be tickled, but that's another story.) Studies show that people who maintain good blood levels of lycopene are less likely to get prostate cancer.
Where to Get Lycopene
Most of the info out there focuses on tomatoes, canned or cooked tomatoes to be precise. But there's another great source that gets overlooked: watermelon.
Problem is, you'd have to eat a whole crop of watermelons to get all the beneficial effects. Studies use watermelon juice, but that's not widely available and a pain in the butt to make. Straight lycopene supplements in pill form can help, but at least one study showed that they're not as beneficial as whole-food sources.
The best supplement route to take appears to be freeze-dried watermelon. Even though it's in the form of a concentrated powder, it's still a whole food, minus the water content. I get mine from Biotest's Superfood formula (1000 ppu lycopene).
If you are male, lycopene – from foods, the right supps, or a combo of both – should be high on your list of health staples.