The standard American diet is leaving its mark on the nation’s health.
It includes a high amount of animal protein, dairy, processed foods, prepared meals, and sugar, all of which can impact your health.
This is why paying close attention to your diet is essential.
This article will discuss how diet can impact your prostate health and the prostate friendly foods that you should be enjoying as part of a healthy diet plan.
What is an enlarged prostate?
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia is a non-cancerous prostate enlargement that leads to obstruction in the flow of urine. This is a common prostate problem that affects many men.
However, men over the age of 50 are more prone to get BPH because as they age, their prostates naturally begin to enlarge, under the constant influence of hormones.
By the time you reach the age of 60, your prostate will have grown from the size of a walnut to that of a lemon.
In BPH, the enlargement of the prostate usually occurs in the middle of your prostate, where it wraps around the urethra. This means that as the prostate grows, it squeezes the urethra. When this happens, it causes urinary problems.
You may find that you have to urinate more often, even having to get up multiple times during the night.
What are the symptoms of BPH?
Some common symptoms that men tend to experience when they develop benign prostatic hyperplasia include:
- There may be an urge to urinate often. (frequent urination).
- Urination becomes much more frequent as the prostate continues to swell up.
- Nighttime urination causes sleep disturbances.
- The urine stream tends to become weak due to the obstruction in the urethra.
- The urine stream may also be frequently interrupted during urination.
- Urine may leak after the man has urinated.
- Initiating a urine stream can feel difficult and uncomfortable.
When these symptoms persist, and the patient fails to obtain the right treatment for the condition, benign prostatic hyperplasia may lead to some of the following complications and more serious symptoms:
- Urine control may be completely lost.
- There may be damage done to the bladder.
- The kidneys may become damaged due to infection, caused by an obstruction in urine flow.
- Frequently affected by urinary tract infections.
- Urinary retention.
- Bladder stones may develop when all urine is not removed during urination.
- Some patients may find that there is blood in their urine.
Can diet help with enlarged prostate problems?
In Asia, China, and Thailand, where few dairy foods are consumed, there is a far lower incidence of both heart disease and cancer.
Studies have shown that overall, men in western countries have a six-fold increase in prostate cancer incidence compared to countries such as China and Japan.
One theory for this discrepancy in the differences in diet.
It is worth emphasizing that many oriental countries such as South Korea and Japan are densely populated. They have been highly industrialized and urbanized for many years, yet their rates of prostate cancer remain much lower than the West.
The even more massive incidence is seen in the UK at around thirty per 100,000, yet higher rates occur in the USA, with a figure of about 120 per 100,000.
In addition, there are studies of migrant populations that show quite clear increases in certain diseases like prostate cancer; when ethnic Chinese become American citizens and their children and grandchildren adopt more of the American diet.
Okinawa, Japan, has traditionally had a diet based on lots of vegetables, fermented soy products like miso, fresh fish, herbal tea, as well as health-supporting practices such as Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and walking.
It is, therefore, advisable to eat a healthy and balanced diet that includes organic vegetables, which reduce pesticide exposure and offer an increase in vitamin concentration.
What foods are good for an enlarged prostate?
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, minerals, and fibers that reduce may help reduce inflammation in BPH and improve urinary symptoms.
Plant foods such as rice bran, wheat germ, peanuts, corn oils, and soybeans contain beta-sitosterol, which may protect prostate health.
One study looked at the link between fruit and vegetable intake and urinary symptoms in elderly Chinese men suffering from urinary symptoms.
High intakes of fruits and vegetables (at least 300 grams per day) were associated with improved symptoms.
At least 50 grams of dark and leafy vegetables and 10 grams of tomatoes per day were strongly linked with improved urinary symptoms over four years.
Lycopene is an antioxidant that gives tomatoes its red color.
A study published in the journal of nutrition looked at the effects of lycopene extract in men with BPH. Men were given 15 mg of lycopene per day or a placebo for six months.
PSA was significantly reduced in the lycopene group, and prostate volume was unchanged after six months. Prostate volume increased by 24% in the placebo group.
These benefits were exerted from lycopene from whole foods rather than as an extract. Lycopene from whole foods likely exerts health benefits than does not occur with an extract.
Increased inflammation is one of the characteristics of BPH. More prostate inflammation is associated with more severe urinary symptoms and greater prostate volume.
One clinical trial found that omega-3 supplementation with drug therapy was more effective at improving urinary symptoms and reducing prostate volume than drug therapy alone.
The participants given omega-3 consumed 900 milligrams per day through fish oil capsules.
Omega-3 fatty acids are known for their strong ability to suppress inflammation. Seafood provides rich sources of omega-3, therefore increasing seafood intake or supplementing with omega-3 may help reduce prostate volume.
A study in the United States reported vitamin D deficiency in middle-aged men increased the risk of moderate to severe urinary symptoms. Thus vitamin D may play an essential role in preventing BPH.
However, clinical trials have not been conducted to see the effects of vitamin D supplementation on BPH and urinary symptoms in men.
A clinical trial in females with urinary symptoms reported positive effects of vitamin D supplementation
The sun is our primary source of vitamin D, and there are very few natural food sources.
However, some natural resources from which you can get vitamin D include egg yolks, fatty fish, and fish liver oils. Milk, margarine, and some cereals are fortified with vitamin D.
People who live in Northern regions of the United States are at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency, especially if they spend most of the daylight hours indoors.
In such cases, Vitamin D supplementation should be considered to prevent deficiency.
What foods are bad for your prostate?
As far back as 1997, the American Institute of Cancer Research drew a link between the consumption of industrially produced red meats like beef, lamb, and pork, and an increased chance of the development of prostate cancer
These findings followed up earlier studies in the early 1990s by Harvard University.
Harvard continually tested tens of thousands of subjects over a number of years.
Today, current studies show that men who consume large amounts of non-grass fed red meat are 12% more likely to develop prostate cancer than those who consumed moderate servings as part of a controlled diet
According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), we get too much protein, about twice what we really need.
Moreover, too much animal protein is harmful. Experts from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) found that a high intake of animal protein was linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer.
The study estimated that an additional 35 grams of animal protein per day increases the risk by as much as 32 percent.
To maximize milk production, cows are kept permanently pregnant and as a result, have 200 times the average level of female hormones in their milk.
Human beings are mammals, and we share the same hormones as cows. Therefore, the effect of these hormones on the human body is not a good one.
As discussed, consuming food with high levels of estrogen can upset your hormonal balance and increase the production of DHT (an active form of testosterone).
This can lead to a number of health issues, including an enlarged prostate.
Studies have also shown that dairy products contain the insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), a hormone that promotes the growth of cancer cells.
90 to 95% of U.S.-grown soy is genetically engineered to make soy protein isolate, and so that can withstand high amounts of herbicide.
Soy protein isolate is found in many products such as protein bars, fruit drinks, soups, sauces, cereals, supplements, and meal replacement shakes.
This unfermented soy can hide under names such as bouillon, textured protein, and natural flavor.
These worst foods for men are associated with thyroid problems, mental decline, reproductive problems, cancer, and heart disease.
Instead, opt for fermented soy products, which are the only soy products with health benefits. Fermented soy products include soy sauce, fermented bean paste, miso, and tempeh.
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What is the best thing to drink for your prostate?
When it comes to making dietary changes, it can be easy to concentrate solely on what we eat, yet what we drink can also have a substantial impact on our health.
When it comes to prostate health in particular, there are a number of drinks that can either help or hinder your improvement.
Drink green tea
There seems to be no end of endorsements of green tea as an all-conquering superfood. The prostate is just one area of the body; it has been found to help.
Studies show that green tea can help prevent prostate cancer from forming and may even slow the growth of aggressive prostate cancer.
In an American study published in 2014, a sample of men was given a diet of green and black tea extracts each day for 12 weeks, while others received a placebo.
Taking measurements, the researchers found that those receiving the tea had an improved quality of life in as little as six weeks, as well as improved urine flow and decreased urological inflammation.
Enjoy a morning coffee
There has been some controversy surrounding the benefits of coffee for prostate health, with studies showing conflicting results.
However, a recent study revealed that two compounds found in coffee; kahweol acetate and cafestol, may help to slow the growth of prostate cancer cells.
The results are preliminary, yet findings of several studies, most recently the study published in 2018, indicate that coffee compounds can benefit prostate health and possibly reduce prostate cancer incidence.
However, it is essential to note that for some men experiencing BPH, coffee can irritate, stimulating an already overactive bladder, increasing urinary frequency and urgency.
Limit alcohol consumption
Further research is needed to establish the relationship between alcohol consumption and prostate cancer risk.
However, it is possible that drinking excessively can increase the risk of developing the disease.
Alcohol should also be avoided if you have prostatitis, as it can irritate the bladder and worsen symptoms.
Avoid sugary drinks
Sugary drinks can be hard to avoid, and even those branded as ‘health drinks’ can be high in sugar content. However, consuming them can have a detrimental impact on your prostate health.
A 2019 study published by The BMJ reports a possible association between higher consumption of sugary drinks and an increased risk of cancer.
The results show that a 100 mL per day increase in the consumption of sugary beverages was associated with an 18% increased risk of overall cancer and a 22% increased risk of breast cancer.
Ditch cow’s milk
As mentioned above, dairy products, such as cows milk, contain high levels of estrogen.
Increased estrogen production can upset your hormonal balance and increase the production of DHT (an active form of testosterone), contributing to prostate problems.
You opt for dairy alternatives, such as coconut milk, almond milk, and goats milk, which contains more protein and is less likely to be industrially produced.
What is the best prostate diet?
As discussed, good nutrition plays an integral role in maintaining and managing prostate health. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats is thought to protect the prostate, by reducing the risk of developing prostate disease.
Two diets in particular that have been considered to improve prostate health are the Ketogenic diet and the Mediterranean diet. We will discuss both below.
The ketogenic diet for prostate health
The keto diet is a low carb, high-fat diet, designed to drastically reduce the intake of carbs and replace it with fat.
Such reduction puts your body into a state called ketosis, whereby the body burns fat for energy.
The most important thing for reaching ketosis is to avoid eating too many carbs. You will probably need to keep carb intake under 50 grams per day of net carbs, ideally below 20 grams.
You might be thinking, ‘Isn’t fat bad’? For decades the mainstream media have been advertising that fat is bad for our health, resulting in a craze of ‘low fat’ fad diets and products.
However, consuming the right type of fat will provide energy, satiate the appetite, and reduce the need for over-consuming refined carbohydrates.
Also, the process turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can provide energy for the brain.
As a result, keto diets can significantly reduce blood sugar and insulin levels.
Ketosis is an excellent way to lose weight as it induces the metabolism of starvation.
The body stops trying to burn sugars for energy and starts burning fat stores instead. It also affects your nervous system, elevates your mood, and suppresses appetite.
What are the advantages of the Ketogenic Diet?
- Faster Weight Loss -no carbs means your body is burning fat for fuel.
- Better Brain Function– the keto diet is high in healthy fats – these are crucial for better cognitive function.
- Reduced Risk of Metabolic Syndrome– Low-carb diets, particularly the keto diet, highly effective at reducing risk factors of metabolic and heart diseases.
- Reduced Risk of Diabetes– Studies have shown that you can treat diabetes by adopting the keto diet. It helps normalize blood sugar levels and insulin production.
- Helps Fight Cancer– High levels of glucose in the blood increase insulin release and insulin-like growth factors. These hormones promote growth and cellular multiplication and favor cancer. The keto diet reduces the circulating levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factor, which reduces the incidence of various types of cancer.
- Less Craving for Food– The keto diet switches off ghrelin – the “hunger hormone.” More healthy fats and proteins mean feeling more full, having fewer cravings.
- Better Digestion– Healthy fats, proteins, and veggies help nourish the digestive tract and reduce the potential for disease.
What are the disadvantages of the Ketogenic Diet?
- One size doesn’t fit all– Each person reacts differently to various diet plans. There is no one-size-fits-all approach.
- You may experience keto “flu” – This occurs as you transition from burning carbs to burning fats. The severity of the symptoms can vary and include sugar cravings, dizziness, brain fog, nausea, sleep difficulties, irritability, stomach distress, and fatigue.
- Health concerns– Before going on a keto diet, people should consider his age, level of activity, body weight.
- Unwanted Side effects – Low-carb diets might increase fatigue and irritability in some people.
- Muscle loss– A keto diet can also affect your physical performance. When ketosis occurs, it might cause loss of muscle tissue.
What can you eat on a Ketogenic Diet?
- Meat: chicken and turkey.
- Fatty fish: Such as salmon, trout, tuna, and mackerel.
- Eggs: Look for pastured or omega-3 whole eggs.
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds.
- Healthy oils: Primarily extra virgin olive oil.
- Avocados: Whole avocados or freshly made guacamole (not store-bought).
- Low-carb veggies: Most green veggies, tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.
- Condiments: You can use salt, pepper, and various healthy herbs and spices.
What foods should I avoid?
- Sugary foods: Soda, fruit juices, smoothies, cake, ice cream.
- Grains or starches: Wheat-based products, rice, pasta, cereal.
- Fruit: All fruit, except small portions of berries like strawberries.
- Beans or legumes: Peas, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
- Root vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc.
- Low-fat or diet products: These are highly processed and often high in carbs.
- Some condiments or sauces: often contain sugar and unhealthy fat.
- Unhealthy fats: Limit your intake of processed vegetable oils, mayonnaise, etc.
- Alcohol: Due to their carb content, many alcoholic beverages can throw you out of ketosis.
How does a Keto Diet help Prostate Cancer?
Nutritional ketosis involves restricting carbohydrates to decrease the availability of glucose in your bloodstream.
Restricting carbs also increases the production of ketone bodies from your liver.
Nearly all of your normal cells have the flexibility to readily adapt to using ketone bodies for fuel in place of glucose, but cancer cells do not have this metabolic flexibility.
Hence, they effectively starve to death, while all your normal cells operate more efficiently than before.
A traditional ketogenic diet allows you to eat quite a few dairy products. However, dairy can actually be problematic for cancer in particular, even if from raw organic sources.
Lactose is a sugar made from galactose and glucose, and lactose makes up 2% to 8% by weight in dairy milk from cows.
Plus, there are a number of other serious problems in milk produced by cows if you are dealing with suspected or diagnosed prostate cancer.
You can use small quantities of goat’s milk (which has a very different constitution).
You can eat butter if it is produced from grass-fed cows. And you should ideally restrict yourself to cheese and yogurt that is produced from goats.
The Mediterranean diet for prostate health
The Mediterranean diet incorporates the traditional healthy living habits of people from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, such as Italy, France, Greece, and Spain.
A large fraction of Mediterranean cuisines are generally based mainly on vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, cereal grains, olive oil, and fish.
It is a diet that has been associated with good health, including a healthier heart.
A 2013 study found that people following a Mediterranean diet had a 30% lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
By adopting a more Mediterranean diet, all you need to do is consume;
- Large sums of fruit and vegetables.
- More fish.
- Less meat.
- Products made from vegetable and plant oils, such as olive oil.
Many of you are aware that we strongly advocate a ketogenic diet for men with prostate cancer and metabolic disease.
However, we also know that many men struggle with the ketogenic diet or that it is not practical for some.
The Mediterranean or Paleo Diet is the best alternative option for men who cannot maintain the ketogenic diet.
Below, I explain everything you need to know about The Mediterranean Diet.
How does a Mediterranean diet help prostate cancer?
Recent studies have found a diet incorporating seeds, nuts, avocado, and an oil-based dressing could decrease the chances of death for men with prostate cancer.
The 2.5 million men living in the US with prostate cancer may have to avoid the smell of those sausages and switch to a Mediterranean diet.
Researchers have found the fat intake of 4,577 men with prostate cancer from 1986 to 2010, who swapped as little as 10 percent of their daily carbohydrates and animal fats, reduced their prostate cancer mortality risk by almost 30% than those who didn’t.
“Consumption of healthy oils and nuts increases plasma antioxidants and reduces insulin and inflammation, which may deter prostate cancer progression.” Lead author Erin L. Richman, ScD, a postdoctoral scholar in the UCSF Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.
Can a Tablespoon of Oil Really Help Your Prostate Health?
Opting for a tablespoon a day of an oil-based dressing can Mediterranean diet help deter the chances of mortality with prostate cancer.
Research has shown these dressings incorporated with the recommended daily oil intake showing a 13 percent lower risk of death from prostate cancer than individuals that did not change their diets.
The research also found adding one ounce of nuts per day correlated to an 18 percent lower risk of prostate cancer mortality and an 11 percent reduced risk of death.
Although additional research needs to be conducted to validate the findings, Richman has stated,
“Overall, our findings support counseling men with prostate cancer to follow a heart-healthy diet in which carbohydrate calories are replaced with unsaturated oils and nuts to reduce the risk of all-cause mortality.”
Treatment for BPH
Alpha-blockers are a class of prescription medications commonly prescribed to treat BPH. There are several medications available as alpha-blockers. These medications are:
- Tamsulosin (Flomax).
- Alfuzosin (Uroxatral).
- Doxazosin (Cardura).
- Prazosin (Minipress).
- Silodosin (Rapaflo).
- Terazosin (Hytrin).
They are used to relax muscles around small blood vessels.
By preventing the muscles from tightening, they can help improve blood flow and lower blood pressure.
However, it is essential to note that they can have adverse side effects. Some of the most common side effects include loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, drops in blood pressure, and headaches/nausea.
Prostate surgery to remove the prostate gland can treat your symptoms. The intervention will depend on the severity of your symptoms.
Your doctor will help you determine the best surgery based on your circumstances. Common surgeries include:
- Prostate Turp (Transurethral resection of the prostate)
- Radical prostatectomy
- Prostatic urethral lift
- High-intensity focused ultrasound
- Urolift procedure
- Prostate artery embolization (PAE)
Prostate volume (size) is a critical consideration in selecting the best surgical intervention for your BPH because complications increase with prostate volume.
Natural supplements have also been shown to be effective in the management of BPH.
Saw palmetto is the most commonly used herbal supplement for treating lower urinary tract symptoms.
It works by inhibiting 5 alpha-reductase enzyme activity, an enzyme that converts free testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
Beta-sitosterol is another supplement that has been proven to relieve symptoms associated with BPH.
Herbal extracts like saw palmetto, rye grass pollen, pygeum africanum, and contain beta-sitosterol. These extracts are used for treating BPH, and beta-sitosterol may be the key ingredient.
Prostate diseases such as BPH and prostatitis are leading health issues for men. Every month, thousands of men are diagnosed with prostate illnesses.
Proper nutrition, along with other lifestyle factors, plays an integral role in decreasing these numbers.
The above examples are only some of the foods that will help you promote and maintain good prostate health.
Over time, be sure to add in moderate exercise and activity for a balanced approach.
A properly maintained diet and a healthy lifestyle provide you with a fighting chance at preventing prostate diseases and significantly improving your prostate health.