Worst foods for an enlarged prostate

What should you NOT be eating?

Dr. Jen Tan

23 February 2015

Your diet and your prostate

While the exact causes of BPH are not entirely understood, we do know that what you eat can have a big influence on the health of your prostate. While some foods can help reduce the risk of developing an enlarged prostate (BPH), as well as lessen the severity of the symptoms, there are others which can actually aggravate your symptoms.

The more inflammation present in your body generally, the more likely you are to have inflammation in the prostate, so avoiding or limiting certain foods which trigger an inflammatory response is a good place to start, as well as staying clear of food and drinks which irritate the bladder and cause frequent urination.

Unfortunately gentlemen, it is often some of our favourite foods that can cause inflammation flare ups and bladder problems. Knowing the main culprits however could help you manage your symptoms better.

Foods to avoid

Red Meat

You may love your steak but the problem with meat is that it elevates levels of arachidonic acid in your body, and that, in turn, increases inflammation, the very thing your enlarged prostate does not need. Choosing alternatives such as lean meat and fish is a better option for men needing to reduce inflammation of the prostate.

Eggs & Poultry

A study published in the January 2006 issue of Urology which explored the connection between food and the increased occurrence of BPH symptoms, found that eating eggs and poultry appeared to increase symptoms, so these too should be avoided if possible. Egg yolks also have high levels of arachidonic acid, which, as mentioned earlier, increases inflammation. Try eating only the egg white, as this is a good source of protein.

Processed foods & sugar

Highly processed food (which tends to include junk food and take-aways) and refined sugar all increase inflammation in your system. Cut them down or out to reduce the pressure on your prostate.


Avoiding or limiting your caffeine intake including coffee, tea and fizzy drinks can make a big difference to your urinary health. Caffeine has a diuretic effect, which means it increases your urge to go to the toilet. Because it can be difficult for men with an enlarged prostate to empty their bladders completely, drinking these beverages, especially late at night, can irritate the bladder and increase the need to go to the toilet.

Instead, try drinking chamomile tea which has anti-inflammatory properties, green tea which has antioxidant benefits or caffeine-free coffee alternatives such as Bambu. Another important drink for your prostate is water. It’s vital to stay well hydrated, but remember to try not to drink anything at least 2 hours before bedtime.

Spicy foods

Curries, chilli, hot sauces can make tasty meals but men with an enlarged prostate need to be wary of spicy foods like these, as they can irritate the bladder and prostate, causing urinary symptoms associated with BPH.


A low fat diet is a recommended way to help relieve BPH symptoms. Dairy is typically high in saturated fats as well as inflammatory chemicals which can worsen your symptoms. Reducing your dairy intake or switching to soya alternatives are a good idea. Worried about the suspected oestrogenic effects of soya? Read my article on whether or not soya is safe for men to drink.


Avoiding alcohol is recommended as it acts as an irritant in the bladder and prostate, resulting in the need to urinate frequently. There is, however, some evidence that moderate alcohol consumption can help reduce the risk of BPH, but the key word here is moderation!

So watch what you eat and drink, look out for foods which aggravate your BPH symptoms or drinks that make you need the toilet more and try to avoid them if possible or at least eat and drink them less often.

Which prostate hating foods or drinks would you find most hard to give up?

Meet our expert

Having trained as a doctor at the University of Newcastle-on-Tyne, Jen Tan, Medical Director of A.Vogel, has been involved in herbal medicine research over a number of years, coordinating projects both within the UK and internationally.

"Having been told by a consultant urologist some 30 years ago that I would at some stage require surgery, I am pleased to say that having used the saw palmetto capsules from that time he has (so far) been proved wrong!" James, UK

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  • ian's photo avatar
    ian — 22.02.2018 04:34
    That 2006 study said that cereals and bread was worse than eggs and poultry.


  • Imran's photo avatar
    Imran — 19.02.2018 12:51
    Hey, I am 28 and I'm having problem with my urination, difficult to empty out the bladder in a single time and I'm having a weak stream too. I also have an ED problem, sometimes having pain in lower back, abdomen, groin and rarely in one of the testicles. I got myself checked by a urologist. I had a normal kidney ultrasound, and normal Urine D/R. The doctor prescribed maxflow 0.4mg and multivitamins for a month. During that month, I felt a bit better because of a normal urine flow and I had been emptying out the bladder almost in a single toilet visit. But as soon as I left the medicines, I came back to the same worse condition. I'm sure I have an enlarged prostate but the doctor didn't check for it and said nothing about it. Eating spicy foods and sugary drinks worsen my problem. Please guide me what should I do. It's really embarrassing.


    • Jen Tan's photo avatar
      Jen Tan — 19.02.2018 21:28
      Hello Imran. At the age of 28, it is unlikely that you will have an enlarged prostate but as you say, you should get your doctor to check this out. With a poor stream and ED, you may have a problem with the nerves in the area. This is more likely if you are diabetic or a smoker even at the age of 28. The best advice I can give you is to go back to your doctor to get him to do further tests as what you have described is not something I would consider normal especially at the age of 28.


    • Imran's photo avatar
      Imran — 21.02.2018 04:15
      Thank you sir. :)


  • DANIEL's photo avatar
    DANIEL — 15.02.2018 21:17
    I have an enlarged prostate, and had an ultrasound today. I was told it measures about 95 grams, which is close to 4 times normal size, and my PSA is just over 12. I work out regularly, don't eat losts of red meat, though I like a good steak. I am 63 years old, and have been dealing with prostate issues, including a bad case of ED, for about 5 years. I had 2 biopsies performed a few years ago, and there was no sign of cancer. I am 6ft and weight about 218, and pinch out around 20% body fat. What should I do?


    • Jen Tan's photo avatar
      Jen Tan — 18.02.2018 15:59
      Hello Daniel. If your symptoms are not troubling you too much, your doctors might wish simply to watch and wait. However, in this situation, some men choose also to use the herb Saw palmetto to help control symptoms. If this fails to help, then we would consider the use of prescribed oral medication such as tamsulosin, finesteride or one of the newer drugs - the one downside of this approach is that side effects are more common compared to saw palmetto. Finally, if your prostate enlargement is severe, there may be no other choice but to recommend surgical removal of part of he prostate gland.


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What's being asked

Hi, I had a blood test a few weeks ago to check for prostate cancer, which came back as negative. Would this test tell me if I had an enlarged prostate?

No, blood tests are not part of the diagnosis for an enlarged prostate.
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I have an enlarged prostate. I take Saw Palmetto with other ingredients including zinc etc. Any other ideas please?

Zinc is a good supplement to take, as it is thought to benefit the prostate gland generally. You ...
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I have an enlarged prostate and have had a biopsy. All is ok but is there a herbal or other type of product I can take to reduce the size of my prostate?

If you have a diagnosis of enlarged prostate then you can take Prostasan Saw Palmetto capsules to ...
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Here's what I recommend

As the A. Vogel Men’s Health expert, I recommend Prostasan® Saw Palmetto capsules to help relieve symptoms arising from enlarged prostate.

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Did you know?

BPH is a very common problem that increases the older men get, and around half of all men have an enlarged prostate by the age of 50. At the age of 80, this has risen to 80%

What you need to know about BPH
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