Prostate Health Diet
The prostate is a male gland of the reproductive system. Roughly the size and shape of a walnut, the prostate wraps around the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder, and sperm from the testicles, out through the penis). A high proportion of men from middle-age on have urinary problems associated with an enlarged prostate.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) or Enlarged Prostate
The prostate gland continues to grow during most of a man’s life, with accelerated growth periods during adolescence and from around age 50. Prostate enlargement usually causes problems only later in life, as it compresses the urethra more tightly, impeding urination – some symptoms of BPH will affect over 50% of men in their 60s, growing to 90% of those aged 70 and 80. Treatment for BPH seeks to reduce the symptoms, as the condition cannot be cured.
Prostate enlargement is not prostate cancer, nor does it increase one’s chances of developing prostate cancer. BPH can raise PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels to 2 or 3 times the normal level. High PSA levels do, however, carry a higher chance of having cancer.
Diet factors for reducing BPH symptoms
It has been reported that men who consumed the most calories had the highest risk of BPH and symptoms of BPH. In addition when calorie intake was compared, men who ate more protein had a higher risk of BPH. Conversely, soy and green tea may be of benefit – plant based estrogens (called isoflavones or flavonoids) found in soy and other foods like legumes, tea, apples and onions may help prevent or treat the symptoms of BPH.
In addition, growth of the prostate may be retarded with a low fat, no caffeine diet, and ‘saw palmetto’* supplementation has been shown to reduce the rate of growth in BPH.
Dietary Guidelines For Prostate Health
So to reduce symptoms, incorporate these factors in your daily diet:
- increase intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, soy, and green tea, foods rich in omega 3 oils (cold-water fish – salmon, sardines, mackerel) and in zinc (raw pumpkin seeds for omega-3 and zinc)
- reduce foods high in fat and cholesterol (butter and margarine, beef and
whole milk), sweet foods, and refined carbohydrates (white bread and white-flour pasta)
- avoid or decrease intake of alcohol, coffee, and beer, particularly after dinner, and tobacco
- taking saw palmetto* supplements may benefit the prostate
* Saw palmetto (Serona repens) is a type of palm tree, also known as the dwarf palm. Its primary medicinal value is in the oily compounds found in its berries. Most dietary supplements are composed of an extract or powder derived from the berries. Saw palmetto is believed to inhibit the actions of testosterone on the prostate that causes prostate enlargement.
NOTE: There is mounting evidence that very-low-fat (such as the Ornish Diet) and vegetarian regimes aid in fighting Prostate cancer.
For an article with more comprehensive dietary guidelines, check out ‘STRAIGHT TALK ON YOUR HEALTH AND LIFE’ at FindArticles.com – Men’s Health, Natural Health, April, 1999, by Robert Ivker
Dr. Katz’e Guide to Prostate Health which retails for $15.95.