Napsgear Knowledge article: Prevent Prostate Enlargement with These Foods



In their 60’s, men have a 50% chance of having an enlarged prostate. By the age of 80, nearly 90% of men will live with BPH, or benign prostatic hyperplasia. That means there’s a pretty good chance that you may develop BPH in your life. Fortunately, certain diets and regular exercise may prevent or reduce the risk of this happening.

What is BPH
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is when the prostate and surrounding tissue expands. Early in puberty is when the prostate doubles in size. And at age 25, the prostate goes through a second growth stage. And as you age, your prostate may continue to grow. BPH is when it gets large enough to cause problems.
The prostate surrounds part of the urethra. Usually the size of a walnut, the prostate can grow to be as large as an orange. The prostate’s main function is to produce fluid for the semen (but not the sperm themselves, that is created in the testicles, which also make the hormone testosterone).
Thankfully, BPH does not seem to increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. However, they do have similar symptoms. So if you think you may have BPH, there may be a chance that you have undetected cancer at the same time. Starting at age 55, you should consider having a prostate screening annually. Luckily treatment for BPH can be prescription drugs, less invasive surgery, or more invasive surgeries.

When the prostate is enlarged, it can block or bother the bladder. Symptoms of BPH include:
• Slowness, weakness, or dribbling of the urinary stream
• Difficulty starting to urinate
• Needing to stop and start several times while urinating
• Straining to urinate
• Frequent urination (especially at night)
• Sudden need to urinate
• Pain after ejaculation or while urinating
• Urine that looks or smells unusual or off-putting
Other more serious symptoms may develop, such as:
• Bladder stones
• Bladder infection
• Blood in your urine
• Damage to your kidneys from retaining large amounts of extra urine in the bladder

Foods to Eat

: rich in healthy fats that contain omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation in the body. If you’re not a fan of salmon, you can have other sources of food that are rich in omega-3’s like sardines, trout, walnuts, flax seeds, and chia seeds.
Green leafy vegetables: kale, spinach, cabbage, collard greens; can reduce the risk of prostate problems because they are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are important as they prevent damage from free radicals, which are molecules that attack healthy cells and can increase a risk of cancer.
Broccoli: as well as cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, brussels sprouts, etc. contain sulforaphane, which is thought to target cancer cells and promote a healthy prostate.
Berries: strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are high in vitamin C and antioxidants. Vitamin C may help BPH symptoms by promoting urination and reducing swelling.
Nuts & Seeds: rich in the trace mineral, zinc. Zinc is found in high concentrations in the prostate. Zinc is thought to help balance testosterone and DHT. Shellfish and legumes are also high in zinc.
Citrus: oranges, limes, grapefruits, and lemons are all high in vitamin C, which may help to protect the prostate gland.
Tomatoes: They are packed with lycopene, an antioxidant that may benefit prostate gland cells. Cooking tomatoes, like in a soup or sauce, helps to release the lycopene, and make it more bioavailable.
Beans: since red meat and processed meat should be limited, a good alternative are plant proteins like beans, chia, and hemp seeds. Not only do they have a nice amount of protein, but they also contain fiber and other vital nutrients.
Green Tea: not only can it lower cholesterol and improve memory and attention spans, a study from 2011 showed that men who consumed more green tea (not black tea), experienced lower risk of prostate cancer.
Watermelon: rich in vitamins A and C, and an excellent source of lycopene. Other fruits that contain lycopene are apricots, guava, and papaya. There’s about 9-13mg of lycopene in a cup and a half of watermelon.
Avocado: rich in beta-sitosterol (a plant sterol), it is thought to reduce symptoms associated with BPH. While beta-sitosterol supplements have not been studied and proven effective, many men who take them say they have better urinary flow and less residual urine volume.

Limit These Foods

Red Meat
: some research suggests that limiting red meat or even going meat-free may help improve prostate health. Daily meat consumption is even believed to increase the risk 3x of prostate enlargement.
Dairy: dairy like butter, cheese, and milk have been linked to an increased risk of BPH. Cutting these out may help reduce BPH symptoms.
Caffeine: since caffeine is a diuretic, it may increase how often, much, or urgently a person has to urinate. Cutting back on black tea, coffee, soda, and chocolate may improve the urinary symptoms of BPH.
Alcohol: alcohol can also stimulate urine production.

The risk of BPH increases greatly as you age, but it doesn’t mean you have cancer. BPH symptoms can be managed with surgery, medications, a well-balanced diet, and exercise.
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