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Eating for a healthy prostate

Foods to look out for to keep your prostate healthy

There is significant research to suggest that diet plays an important role in prostate enlargement. Dr. Jen Tan explores some of the ways you can change your diet to manage an enlarged prostate.

An introduction to eating for a healthy prostate

An enlarged prostate diet is a key aspect of promoting prostate health naturally, as there appears to be a connection between the diets of different countries, and the extent to which people there suffer from prostate problems.

The highest rates of prostate disease are observed in Western countries such as the USA and United Kingdom, where typical diets are often high in saturated and trans fats, sugar, salt and simple carbohydrates like white bread. The lowest rates are seen in Asian countries such as Singapore, as diets here tend to include more fruit and veg, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates.

An enlarged prostate diet includes plenty of leafy green vegetables, seeds and nuts, and should exclude alcohol, caffeine and excess sugar. Read on to find out more about the foods you should and shouldn’t eat for your enlarged prostate.

Vegetables and the enlarged prostate

There is some evidence to support the hypothesis that a diet poor in vegetables and pulses may have an unfavourable effect.

An American study has shown that men who regularly consume a high intake of vegetables have a reduced risk of BPH. Another study showed that eating four or more servings of vegetables daily reduced the risk of developing an enlarged prostate gland by 32%, and eating more fatty foods increased the risk.

This must be an encouragement to eat all the green, leafy vegetables, sweetcorn, kiwi fruit, grapes and yellow and orange-coloured vegetables such as peppers, to get the nutrients present.

Other foods to eat

There are a number of foods that can be beneficial to a man suffering from an enlarged prostate.

According to the Healthy Eating: Prostate Care Cookbook by Professor Margaret Rayman, Kay Gibbs and Kay Dilley, a diet focussed on vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and cabbage, as well as kale, kohlrabi, watercress, and radishes, along with leeks, onions and garlic is worthwhile. There appears to be plenty there to spice up your meals.

Eat zinc-rich foods. There is plenty of scientific back-up for the role of zinc to support prostate health. Shellfish, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, pecan nuts, fish and eggs can help you out here. Alcohol interferes with zinc uptake, so keep this to a minimum.

Green tea can also be beneficial for an enlarged prostate as it has anti-inflammatory properties which help reduce the severity of symptoms. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties which prevent infection growing in the bladder, which often becomes a problem when the bladder is prevented from emptying fully.

If you want more specific recipes and ideas for delicious and healthy meals for your prostate, The Prostate Care Cookbook is a good read.

What you should avoid

There are a number of foods that should be avoided if you are suffering from an enlarged prostate.

You should avoid foods that are high in saturated fat. Instead, get your healthy fats from nuts, seeds and fish.

Reduce alcohol consumption to reduce inflammatory processes. The more inflammation is present in your body generally, the more likely you are to have inflammation in the prostate. There’s no point having more of a bonfire going than strictly necessary! Alcohol, caffeine, highly processed food (which tends to include junk food and take-aways), refined sugar and smoking all increase inflammation in your system. Cut them down or out to reduce the pressures on your prostate.

One study has shown that eating red meat daily increased the risk of BPH - Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia ( or Hypertrophy) - by 38%, so you may want to consider cutting down your red meat consumption.

Other things you can do for your prostate

  • Take zinc, which is excellent for the health of the prostate. Zinc is found in oysters, but you may not realistically want to add these to your regular menu, so check out pumpkin seeds, oats, peas, barley, almonds, buckwheat, brown rice, adzuki beans, eggs, apples and onions as alternative sources.
  • Take Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), which may help reduce inflammation in the prostate. These are found in nuts and seeds, or you can take an Omega 3 supplement daily.
  • Pumpkin seeds contain both zinc and EFAs and are therefore a good snack food to munch on.
  • Being overweight increases the severity of symptoms, so whilst you’re cutting down the alcohol and sugar and fatty junk foods, you’ll be pleased to notice fewer calories going in, which should have a beneficial knock-on effect on your weight.
  • Regular exercise will help you to lose weight and can also reduce the severity of symptoms.
  • Sexual abstinence and withdrawing without orgasm can apparently contribute to BPH and should be avoided – now that’s cheered you up! 

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I would love to hear what you thought of the information you have read on this page. Just leave your comment below, thanks Dr. Jen Tan

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2. Cheng I et al. Cancer Epidemiology 2005; 14: 1692-1696.
3. Tymchuk CN et al. Journal of Urology 2001; 166: 1185-9.
4. Bravi BF et al. Food groups and risk of benign prostatic hypertrophy Urology, 2006, vol. 67, pp. 73—79.
5. Rohrmann S et al. American J Clin Nutr 2007; 85: 523-529.
6. Kristal AR et al. American Journal of Epidemiology 2008; doi: 10. 1093/aje/kwn389.
7. The Prostate Care Cookbook, Professor Margaret Rayman, published by Kyle Cathie.
8. Leake A et al. J Steroid Biochem 1984; 20: 651-5, and Acta Endocrinol 1984; 105: 281-8

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