The prostate gland, which is located at the base of the bladder and surrounds the urethra like a donut, enlarges in men after age 40 and continues to grow and obstruct the flow of urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. This problem affects millions of American men and impacts their quality of life. This blog will discuss reducing the symptoms using dietary modification.
Fifty percent of men over the age of 60 suffer from an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). By the age of 85, over 95 percent of men will live with BPH.
The good news is that a diet rich in certain vitamins and minerals can keep your prostate healthy and lower your risk of BPH. And because being overweight is another risk factor for BPH, making nutritious food choices is a great way to lower both your weight and your symptoms of the enlarged prostate gland.
The symptoms of the enlarged prostate gland include frequency of urination, dribbling after urination, and getting up at night to urinate multiple times.
Sesame seeds are rich in zinc, a mineral essential to the health of the prostate. Men with either BPH or prostate cancer have lower levels of zinc in their bodies — sometimes up to 75 percent lower than healthy prostates.
Zinc that comes from food is easier to absorb than zinc supplements. Help your body by snacking on sesame seeds. Or try oysters, adzuki beans, pumpkin seeds, and almonds, which are all high in zinc.
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These are healthy fats that can protect you from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis. Fatty acids also help in the synthesis of prostaglandin. Fatty acids deficiency may lead to prostate problems.
If you’re not a fan of fish, you can get your omega-3s from walnuts, ground flax seeds, canola oil, and kidney beans.
It is a known fact that Asian men have a lower risk of developing BPH than Western men. One possible reason is that Asian men eat more soy. Soybean isoflavones have been linked to a lower risk for an enlarged prostate. Eating more soy may reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer.
For other sources of soybean isoflavones, try low-fat soymilk, tempeh, roasted soybeans, soy yogurt, and meat substitutes made with soy.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that might play a role in fighting BPH. Not all vitamin C is the same, however. Only vitamin C obtained from vegetables lowers your risk of an enlarged prostate. Fruits don’t offer the same benefit. Bell peppers contain more vitamin C than any other vegetable. One cup of raw bell peppers contains 195 percent of your daily requirement intake of vitamin C. Other vegetables to try include broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, the bright carotenoid that gives tomatoes its red color. Lycopene may lower the risk of developing prostate cancer. It can also help men with BPH. Lycopene also helps lower the blood level of antigen, a protein connected to prostate inflammation and BPH.
Tomatoes and tomato products (such as tomato sauce and tomato juice) are the best source of lycopene. You can also get this carotenoid from watermelon, apricots, pink grapefruit, and papaya.
Avocadoes are rich in beta-sitosterol, a plant sterol. Beta-sitosterol can help reduce symptoms associated with BPH. Men taking beta-sitosterol supplements have better urinary flow and less residual urine volume.
Beta-sitosterol can help strengthen the immune system. It can reduce inflammation and pain, as well.
Besides avocadoes, other foods rich in beta-sitosterol include pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, soybeans, and pecans.
Eating more vegetables can help lower your risk of BPH. Green leafy vegetables are especially important because they are rich in antioxidants. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli also reduce the risk of prostate problems, including BPH and prostate cancer.
People who eat onion and garlic regularly might also have a lower risk of BPH. Onions and garlic are often used in natural medicine to fight infection and help strengthen the immune system.
Bottom Line: Prostate gland affects the majority of men after middle age. The symptoms can affect a man’s quality of life and even impact his productivity in the work place. There are dietary modifications that may reduce the symptoms. If these are ineffective, speak to your doctor as there are medications and treatment options that can restore a man’s urinary health.