Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH) is a common condition among men over 60. In fact, around 80-90 percent of men over 70 experience the condition. As men age, the hormones regulating the prostate gland can get too high and cause the prostate to enlarge. Luckily, there are things men can do to lower their risk of developing BPH. One thing you may not expect is a change in diet.
How Can Diet Affect BPH?
A man’s diet can become a risk factor for BPH due to the effect certain foods have on hormone levels. Testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) are the main hormones involved in the prostate gland, and diets that elevate these hormones can increase a man’s risk of BPH. However, there are foods that can help decrease a man’s risk and have a positive impact on prostate health.
Healthy Foods for Managing BPH
Studies have shown that BPH is more prevalent in men who eat a diet consisting primarily of dairy and meat products. A diet lacking in vegetables can even lead to certain forms of cancer, particularly prostate cancer. To help reduce the risk of BPH, men should consider adding the following foods into their everyday diets.
1. Sesame Seeds
Zinc is an essential mineral to prostate health. A recent study shows that men with BPH or prostate cancer often have up to 75 percent lower zinc levels than men with healthy prostates. While zinc supplements can be helpful, the body can absorb it much easier through food. One food that is a great source of zinc is sesame seeds. These seeds make a great snack on their own or can be added to a dish or salad. Other foods rich in zinc include almonds, pumpkin seeds, and adzuki beans.
2. Bell Peppers
Vitamin C is another nutrient that is suspected to play a role in maintaining prostate health, and bell peppers are an excellent source of Vitamin C. Bell peppers can be mixed into a stir fry, eaten with hummus, or added to a bowl of pasta. Other great sources of Vitamin C include brussel sprouts, kale, and cauliflower.
Since obesity is another risk factor for BPH, achieving or maintaining a healthy weight is vital to help prevent it. Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3s as well as healthy fats. Incorporating salmon into your diet is a great way to promote a healthy weight and prevent BPH, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, and arthritis.
Lycopene, the nutrient in tomatoes that gives them their red color, is known to slow the progression of BPH as well as help men lower their risk of developing the condition.
Beta-sitosterol, a plant sterol found in avocados, is known to reduce the symptoms of existing BPH. This makes avocados a great addition to any meal for men who are currently suffering from an enlarged prostate. Beta-sitosterol can also be found in pecans, pumpkin seeds, and wheat germ.
Studies have shown that soy isoflavones can reduce prostate growth and even reduce cancerous cells in the prostate. Soy isoflavones can be found in tofu, soymilk, and edamame.
The antioxidants found in blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries are known to remove free radicals from the body. Free radicals are caused by negative reactions in the body and can eventually lead to damage and disease, including BPH.
8. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are another great source of Vitamin C that can help ward off BPH.
Top Foods to Avoid
There are many foods that can help maintain your prostate health. However, there are also foods and beverages that can have the opposite effect. These foods should be eaten in moderation to help avoid an enlarged prostate:
1. Red Meat
Daily red meat consumption has proven to triple a man’s chance of developing BPH and is also linked to prostate cancer. Doctors often encourage men over 50 to avoid eating red meat altogether if possible, as it can lead to cardiovascular issues.
Since caffeine is a diuretic, it can increase the urge to urinate. For men already suffering from the urinary symptoms of BPH, avoiding coffee and other forms of caffeine is highly recommended.
Like caffeine, alcohol can stimulate urine production. For men who experience frequent urges to urinate due to BPH, avoiding alcohol may increase their comfort and limit bathroom visits.
For the same reasons as red meat, dairy products like cheese, butter, and milk are closely linked to negative prostate health. Cutting down on these products is a great way to lower the risk of an enlarged prostate and prostate cancer.
A high sodium intake from added salt and processed foods can increase urinary symptoms in men with BPH. A low or no-sodium diet can be very helpful for men suffering from frequent urination or incontinence due to BPH.
Getting Treated for BPH
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia is a common condition among men. However, it is highly treatable. If you suspect you are experiencing the symptoms of BPH, it is important to contact your urologist to rule out any other possible conditions. Once you have been properly tested and diagnosed, you and your urologist can discuss the right treatment plan for you.
At Advanced Urology, we have a variety of treatment options available. Whether it is medication, WaVE Therapy or the UroLift procedure, we will get your BPH under control in no time.