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Food Surgery with Paula Mee - Week two: Foods for Men's health Issues

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Paula will be in cooking and discussing nutritious food with us for the next 2-3 weeks. Each week she talks about specific foods needed in the diet to help with specific health issues.

Today she will be talking about foods for men's health issues, in particular, foods to help with prostate problems and foods to help with male fertility. Last week she dealt with foods to help boost the immune system against swine flu.

Prostate Cancer:
In Ireland, prostate cancer is the most common internal cancer in men. It represents 11% of all cancers. There are about 1,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Although the statistics for this disease are similar to those of female breast cancer, it receives considerably less publicity or health resources

Men's Fertility:
Defined as an inability to achieve a pregnancy after at least two years of trying, infertility can affect as many as 15% of couples. There is no known reason why infertility rates are rising.

Some experts are concerned about the growing trend of couples to delay marriage and parenthood, the rise in sexually transmitted diseases and a drop in the sperm production and the impact these factors have on fertility.

It's not just women who can be infertile. In approximately 40% of cases, the man is infertile. While nutrition is not the cause of infertility, eating a well balanced diet can enhance the chance of your partner conceiving and delivering a healthy baby.


1. In Ireland, prostate cancer is the most common internal cancer in men.
2. It represents 11% of all cancers.
3. There are about 1,000 new cases diagnosed each year

Meat and dairy products may increase risk of prostate cancer
Irish Examiner

Prostate cancer deaths to double as younger men contract disease
Sunday Tribune

Paula Mee

BSc., Dip Dietetics., MSc in Health Sciences., Dip Allergy, M.I.N.D.I.

Nutrition Consulting

From Galway, Paula graduated from University College Galway with a BSc in Biochemistry.

She then completed her postgraduate qualifications in Dietetics and a Masters in Health Science in Leeds Metropolitan University.

Paula has recently been awarded a Diploma in Allergy from Southampton University. She has also completed the British Dietetic Association's Sports Dietitian course. She is a current member and a past president of the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute. Paula Mee, Nutrition Consulting was set up in 2004 and offers organizations and industry an extensive range of services in nutrition, product development, and marketing communications.

As part of her working week she also operates a dietetic and weight management clinic in the Dublin Nutrition Centre.

Prior to this, Paula was the Nutrition Manager for Superquinn. Previously she worked as senior nutritionist in the National Dairy Council. She has also practiced as a dietitian in hospitals in Northern Ireland.

Paula is currently on the board of Consumer Foods in Bord Bia. Paula was one of the presenters of RTE TV's Health Squad programme which ran from 2002 to 2006. She makes regular appearances on TV and radio programmes advising on nutrition and health issues.

Angela Phelan's "Who's Who in Ireland" recently commented:
"(Paula) now has a national profile from her Health Squad TV series. Down to earth, no nonsense approach to diet and nutrition. Doesn't lecture or hector instead her easy manner makes her advice so much easier to take"

5 Top Foods!

1. Tomates and tomato-based sauces
2. Red grapefruit, watermelon
3. Pomegranate juice
4. Cruciferous vegetables - broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower
5. Wheatbran and wheatgerm

Prostate problems
The prostate, a golf-ball size gland located just below the bladder, can be the source of male urinary problems, benign enlargement, inflammation (prostatitis) and cancer. Urinary tract infections, lifestyle habits and a high-fat diet may predispose a man to some of these problems.

If treated at an early stage, prostate cancer is highly curable. Prostate cancers usually occur in older men and are generally slow growing.

Until regular screening becomes commonplace, older men should talk to their GPs if they suffer any urinary problems such as difficulty in urinating, a weak or intermittent flow of urine, increased frequency of urination and even occasional incontinence.

Hoki Brodetto (Italian Fish Soup)

Served with Crusty seedy nutty bread

This rich tomato and fish soup, based on an Italian recipe, can also be served as a sauce to pasta. Its intense flavour comes from a luscious combination of three types of tomato - fresh, tinned and passata (sieved fresh tomatoes) - cooked with white wine and fresh herbs.


Serves 4
. 1 tbsp olive oil
. 1 medium onion, finely chopped
. 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
. 3 tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped
. 250g Passata
. 1 x 400g tins chopped Tomatoes
. 60ml dry white wine
. 1 tsp caster sugar
. ½ tsp each dried oregano and thyme
. ½ tbsp each chopped fresh basil and flat-leaf parsley
. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
. 350g Hoki Fillets, cut into 4cm pieces
. 1-2 tbsp Basil Pesto Sauce

1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan, add the onion and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes, until soft.
2. Add the fresh tomatoes and cook for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the passata, tinned tomatoes, wine, sugar and the dried and fresh herbs.
3. Season, then simmer for 20 minutes until thickened.
4. Add the hoki pieces and gently cook for a further 5 minutes, or until fish is just cooked.
5. Pour into warm bowls, top each one with a spoonful of pesto and serve with crusty bread and olives.

Little Tips
The soup can be made the day before: prepare to the end of step 1, cool, cover and chill. Reheat gently and continue from step 2.
When adding the hoki or cod, stir the soup very gently to avoid breaking up the pieces of fish.

Boosting Male Fertility

5 Factors that may effect fertility

. Inadequate zinc-rich foods
. Inadequate vitamin C-rich foods
. Inadequate folic acid-rich foods
. Alcohol lowers sperm count
. Smoking lowers sperm count

Vitamins & minerals that can help

. zinc-rich foods - wheat germ, wheat bran, pumpkin seeds, (Oysters?)
. vitamin C-rich foods - peppers, kiwi, oranges
. folic acid-rich foods - green veg, black eyes beans, sweetcorn

This is the most widely studied nutrient in terms of fertility for both men and women. It is an essential component of genetic material and a zinc deficiency can cause chromosome changes leading to reduced fertility. Zinc is found in high concentrations in the sperm.

It is found in the outer layer and tail of the sperm and is, therefore, essential for the health of your sperm. Interestingly, several studies have also shown that reducing zinc in a man's diet will also reduce his sperm count. Zinc is found in shellfish such as crab and oysters, so this is perhaps why oysters are associated with fertility. It is also found in red meat, pork, chicken, nuts and wheatgerm.

Folic acid (also called folate):
Is involved in the production of genetic material, so it is important that men also have adequate intakes of this B vitamin. Folic acid is found in green leafy vegetables (e.g. spinach, broccoli, cabbage), pulses, nuts and wholegrains.

Vitamin C:
Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, and studies show that vitamin C enhances sperm quality, protecting sperm and the DNA within it from damage. Vitamin C also appears to keep the sperm from clumping together, making them more motile. One study which correlated low levels of vitamin C with this increased tendency of the sperm to clump together, found that three weeks of vitamin C supplements reversed the problem. Until more research is carried out it is best to make sure you are getting adequate vitamin C in your diet rather than from supplements.
Vitamin C is found in fruit and vegetables, especially citrus fruits, berries, peppers and broccoli.

Good old fashioned Pork Casserole

What does it contain:
Pork - zinc
Black eyed beans - folate
Tomatoes - vitamin c, lycopene
Apricots - flavonoids
Cashew nuts - magnesium, zinc

An ideal dish when you want to prepare in advance. It combines pork and dried or fresh fruit. The hint of cinnamon brings out the best of the flavours.

Serves 6

. 1 dsp olive oil
. 900g pork cubed
. 225g baby onions
. 1 garlic clove
. ½ teaspoon paprika
. ½ teaspoon cinnamon
. Tin (400g) of cherry tomatoes
. 1 litre of vegetable low sodium stock cube
. 50g cashew nuts
. 25g almonds
. 150g juicy dried apricots
. Additional - you can add in some saffron threads to give it a lovely red colour

1. Heat the oil in the casserole pot and add the meat.
2. Cook over a high heat for 6-7minutes until the meat is browned. Cook in batches so you over cook the pork- you only want to brown it.
3. Add in your baby onions, paprika and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes.
4. Then add cinnamon, saffron if you like, apricots, cherry tinned tomatoes and your stock. Place a lid on top and pop into your oven at 180 degrees (gas mark 5) for about one hour.
5. Add the nuts to the casserole and pop into oven for a further 10 minutes.
6. Serve with brown, basmati or wild rice.
7. Enjoy.

Paula Mee