Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or enlarged prostate, is a noncancerous prostate gland enlargement. This common condition affects about 50% of men over 50 and up to 90% of men older than 80.
Despite various symptoms that can affect your quality of life, an enlarged prostate is treatable. Lifestyle modifications, such as diet adjustments, are important for managing BPH. Read on to learn more about diet for BPH, foods to eat, and worst foods for the prostate.
How diet affects your prostate
Generally speaking, the food we eat can either contribute to our health and wellbeing or aggravate it.
To understand how diet affects the prostate, you need to know that the prostate is controlled by testosterone and other sex hormones. Testosterone converts to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the prostate gland. And high DHT levels may lead to prostate enlargement.
Through their impact on testosterone and other hormones, some foods can contribute to prostate health.
Diet influences your weight directly. This is yet another way the food you eat can affect the prostate. Obesity, both central and general, is the risk factor for BPH and worsened urinary symptoms.
Moreover, a rise in your BMI increases prostate volume and International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS) while weight loss decreases them. This leads to improved quality of life in patients.
Without a proper diet, it would be challenging to lose weight, balance your hormones, and manage BPH.
The Best Diet to Shrink Your Prostate
The best diet to reduce your prostate size and manage other symptoms of BPH is plant-based. Studies show polyphenols, active compounds in various plant-based foods, are no replacement for the doctor-recommended treatment of BPH, but they can help manage this condition.
A diet that involves a high intake of dairy and meat may worsen BPH and increase prostate cancer risk. This is particularly the case for men who don’t consume enough vegetables.
If you don’t want to entirely avoid certain foods, such as meat, you may want to reduce their intake. It may also be useful to up your intake of fruits and vegetables. Consuming a rich source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibre, and other healthy compounds is what our body and prostate need for good health. (1)
Foods to include in your diet
Now that we’ve established the best type of diet to shrink the prostate, it’s time to focus on foods you may want to include in your menu.
Pumpkin or sesame seeds
Seeds, such as pumpkin or sesame seeds, are a rich source of zinc. This mineral is vital for prostate health. Studies show decreased zinc levels may increase BPH risk. Not only are sesame/pumpkin seeds healthy, but they also prove to be a delicious snack. Remember, zinc is also present in some prostate supplements. So if your diet doesn’t include enough zinc, that’s one way to obtain it.
Salmon is the best source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Since both chronic and acute inflammation can affect BPH, consuming salmon and other fatty fish is a good choice. Salmon can also aid in weight management, which is important for the treatment of BPH. If you don’t get enough salmon and fatty fish, fish oil supplements are an alternative.
Tomatoes are the best source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that studies show can slow the progression of BPH. Besides tomatoes, you can find lycopene in apricots, watermelon, papaya, and pink grapefruit. Tomatoes are the ideal option since you need to consume lycopene-rich food with fat to maximize absorption. Good sources of fat include nuts, oil, avocado, or butter.
Like seeds, nuts are abundant in zinc. The role of zinc in the prostate, where it is present in high concentration, may balance DHT and testosterone. Nuts are delicious, healthy, and also good for your prostate.
Avocado is a rich source of beta-sitosterol. That is a plant sterol with many health benefits. One of these benefits is the management of BPH. Other sources of beta-sitosterol include pumpkin seeds, pecans, soybeans, and wheat germ.
Other foods to eat
- Green leafy vegetables
- Cruciferous vegetables
- Bell peppers
- Citrus fruits
- Onions and garlic
Foods to avoid
Adjusting your diet for prostate health still leaves a lot of options to have delicious meals every day. As seen above, there are many options. But, not all foods are good for you.
Here are the worst foods for the prostate:
- Red and processed meat – daily consumption of meat can increase your odds of developing an enlarged prostate. Therefore, reducing your consumption of meat (both red and processed) can benefit prostate health. Your sources of protein can be lean poultry, fresh or canned fish, beans and legumes, and nuts and nut butter.
- Dairy – since it increases the risk of BPH, you may want to limit your intake of dairy if your goal is to shrink your prostate. You may want to opt for dairy-free products instead.
- Sodium – high consumption of salt can aggravate urinary symptoms linked to an enlarged prostate. Some men may find it helpful to stick to a low-sodium diet. For this reason, you will need to avoid processed foods (including meats), which are known for their high sodium content. Also, strive to eat home-cooked meals without adding salt.
- Alcohol and caffeine – while not food per se, both alcohol and caffeine can stimulate urine production and thereby aggravate your symptoms. Consider reducing your consumption of alcohol and caffeine or avoid them entirely.
- Sugary foods – sugar can increase inflammation and worsen your condition.
- Spicy foods – while delicious, spicy foods can irritate your bladder and prostate. As a result, they may aggravate urinary symptoms of BPH. (2)
Enlarged prostate is a common condition in men across the globe. Lifestyle modifications are important for the management of BPH. Studies show that the food you eat has an impact on the quality of life in men with BPH. A plant-based diet proves to be the best choice to manage this condition, prevent it, or reduce the size of the prostate. Besides a healthy diet, you may also want to exercise more and increase your activity levels. A combination of diet and exercise could work the best, but remember they can’t replace doctor-recommended treatment.
Bio: Ben’s Natural Health is the world’s first high-quality, all-natural, scientifically proven clinical supplement company. Their motto is to combine holistic healing with modern science. Ben has brought together a team of naturopaths, nutritionists, and medical researchers to help him create real, side-effect-free solutions to serious metabolic health conditions.