As men get older, many experience issues with their prostates.
Some prostates become oversized. This causes discomfort, difficult urination, leaking urine, interrupted sleep, and reduced sexual function. An enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH) can press on the bladder and cause awkward urinary issues.
Prostate cancer is also a fear for men over 50. This kind of cancer is an unwelcome health scare for many men, and it can become life threatening if it is not detected early and spreads.
BPH and prostate cancer are not necessarily predetermined. It's not just genetics that cause these diseases. Our lifestyle and diet hugely affect the health of the prostate. We know the risk factors for both BPH and prostate cancer. And the food we eat affects these risk factors in our bodies.
Our lifestyle and diet hugely affect the health of the prostate. We know the risk factors for both BPH and prostate cancer. And the food we eat affects these risk factors in our bodies.
The main cause of enlarged prostate, or BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia), is the overproduction of DHT, an especially powerful form of testosterone that causes prostate cells to multiply aggressively. Emerging research also evidences that excessive estrogen may play a role in this overgrowth of the prostate gland.
Prostate cancer can develop due to DNA damage and be fueled by a variety of growth factors (inflammation, insulin, insulin-like growth factor 1, VEGF, and others) that can be managed by proper diet and the right foods.
Here is a list of foods you can eat to support prostate health and diminish your risk factors.
Flaxseed is perhaps the most potent prostate-supporting food you can eat. Research shows that these seeds can have powerful effects against BPH and prostate cancer.
Many grocery stores offer various flax-based products like flax milk, flax yogurt, flax muffins, etc. These seeds have the highest source of phytoestrogens in the food kingdom.
Phytoestrogens are evidenced to disrupt the production of DHT . And flax specifically is evidenced to reduce 5a-reductase levels . So when the potent growth hormone DHT is reduced, the conditions of BPH and cancer should be improved because there will be less prostate or cancer cell growth.
As expected, the consumption of flaxseed has been shown to reduce various symptoms of enlarged prostates and improve urine flow . And men with prostate cancer had lower levels of cancer cell proliferation (less tumor growth) while taking flaxseed compared to those who did not .
The phytoestrogen lignans in flax can actually be measured in prostate fluid after the seeds are consumed, so these growth-inhibiting compounds directly go about their work inside your prostate .
Tomatoes contain a carotenoid, lycopene, which has impressive effects against BPH.
There’s some evidence that lycopene can halt the rise in PSA (an indication of prostate disease) associated with prostate cancer . And scientists have detailed many ways in which lycopene can fight cancer cells. It can trigger cancer cell death, halt cancer cell division, and can inhibit growth hormones that make cells replicate quickly.
Lycopene is best absorbed when tomatoes are cooked.
3. Phytosterols (in plant foods!)
Plant sterols, or phytosterols, are cholesterol-like molecules that exist in small amounts in grains, veggies, fruits, nuts, and seeds. But they are well known for lowering LDL or “bad” cholesterol.
Be sure to include many plant foods in your diet because plant foods are full of these beneficial sterols. This is one of the reasons why vegan diets are thought to be helpful in fighting prostate diseases.
In many clinical trials, supplemental dosing with phytosterols has caused improvement in the symptoms of an enlarged prostate. A review of four clinical trials showed that plant sterols improved urinary flow in men with enlarged prostates .
In hamsters fed phytosterols, prostate sizes decreased, and researchers said that 5α-reductase was inhibited .
Everyone knows that broccoli is healthy. It’s high in vitamin C, helps your liver detoxify, and has numerous other health benefits.
There is evidence that broccoli has anti-cancer effects on the prostate and decreases excessive cell growth that leads to BPH . Broccoli has various cell-growth stopping effects . For instance, a compound in broccoli can induce cell death prostate cells and inhibits DNA production that is necessary for the duplication of cancer cells .
Broccoli can even regulate genetic signals that determine how large the prostate grows .
This edible algae is one of the most nutritionally-dense foods on the planet. It is packed with vitamins, minerals, and protein.
Chlorella also contains one of the most powerful antioxidants in the world: astaxanthin.
Low levels of astaxanthin can halt DHT production, reducing the levels of a hormone that contributes to prostate cell growth . In a lab setting, this antioxidant also decreased prostate cancer growth by 38% .
Animal studies have also shown the inhibition of prostate cancer growth due to astaxanthin ingestion . And more good news is that astaxanthin is very bioavailable. It is absorbed throughout your body so it can do its work in your cells.
Researchers believe that berries help fight cancer in multiple ways . They downregulate factors that help cancer grow such as inflammation and angiogenesis (the process of tumors creating blood vessels to nourish themselves) . Researchers also believe that blueberries can help with enlarged prostate because the antioxidants in blueberries might help decrease excessive cell growth .
7. Brazil Nuts
Add a few brazil nuts to your diet a few times a week to get a nice dose of selenium and zinc. Clinical research has shown that getting adequate selenium may be important in preventing prostate cancer . Selenium is necessary for the production of one of the most important antioxidants in the body: glutathione . Glutathione helps prevent free radical damage to the prostate (which can generate cancer cells).
The zinc in brazil nuts may also ward off prostate cancer. Those with prostate diseases have lower levels of zinc in their blood and tissue . Don’t overdo brazil nuts, though, because they contain so much selenium that you could be getting too much if you're pounding back tons of them each day. Two brazil nuts a day is enough.
8. Green Tea
Along with the innumerable benefits of green tea, this feel-good plant may improve prostate function.
Green tea can inhibit 5α-reductase and block DHT receptors, inhibiting the action of this hormone . Both green and black tea improved a number of BPH symptoms in men . Extracts increased urinary flow, sexual function, inflammation, and emptying of the bladder .
Researchers think that green tea can help prevent prostate cancer as well. Green tea stimulates DNA repair and prevents DNA damage in humans, so it might lessen the chance of cancer development . Green tea has been shown in animal, in vitro, and in human studies to have cancer-fighting properties .
Drinking organic green tea and taking supplemental green tea extracts will help prostate health , but it’s important not to take high doses of these extracts, lest they become toxic. Moderation is key!
9. Saw Palmetto Berry
Saw palmetto is perhaps the most popular and assured remedy for enlarged prostates and is an extract of the fruit of a palm plant that grows in the southeastern United States.
The main action of this herb is the inhibition of 5α-reductase. Test tube studies have shown that saw palmetto can block the “active site of the enzyme” . Saw palmetto has shown improvement in prostate symptoms in human studies and has lowered prostate-aggravating inflammation . In rat prostates, saw palmetto has inhibited the action of DHT .
Additionally, there are three other benefits of saw palmetto. First, it is safe and well tolerated in humans . Second, it may help improve sexual dysfunction, which can be exacerbated by the other treatment option: anti-DHT pharmaceutical drugs . Third, researchers believe that this herb is bioavailable, meaning that it can be absorbed into the prostate where it needs to go to provide therapeutic benefits.
In 2001, researchers seemed to confirm the effectiveness of saw palmetto supplementation in humans. biopsies were taken of the prostates of men who had supplemented with saw palmetto for 6 months and “ tissue DHT levels were reduced by 32%” .
Eat for Your Prostate
Don't think for a second that food doesn't affect the health of your prostate. What you eat can have a tremendous impact on whether you develop prostate cancer or BPH. What you eat can also affect your prognosis with these diseases. So make your prostate healthy by eating the right foods. You will live a much happier life if you do!
To read more about prostate cancer specifically, and how you can fight it, click here.
Are you concerned about your prostate health?
Would you like an easy way to maintain proper prostate health at any age?
The good news is Nutritionist Evan Burns has just released his FREE prostate health cheatsheet, which reveals everything you need to know from signs and symptoms of an unhealthy prostate to foods and natural remedies for improved prostate health, it’s got you covered.
He even provides answers to the top prostate health questions that most men are too embarrassed to ask their doctors about.