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The Ultimate Prostate Health Cheatsheet

The prostate is critical to the sexual and reproductive function of men but this gland can also be seen as the Achilles heel for many men.

That is, the prostate is very vulnerable and cause annoying or even fatal health problems in older men.

Both enlarged prostate and prostate cancer are both VERY common. Nearly all men, by the age of 80, develope an enlarged prostate and the symptoms that go along with it [1]! Even 25% of men are affected as early as their 40s [2].

Prostate cancer is a source of fear for many men. 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime according to the American Cancer Association.

An enlarged prostate can lead to annoying urinary symptoms like trouble urinating, trouble holding urine, waking up many times at night to pee, etc. Prostate cancer can be fatal if it spreads to other parts of the body.

Key Point

An unhealthy prostate causes lots of trouble for men - it affects quality of life and even whether you will be alive or not. So what can you do to keep your prostate as youthful and healthy as you possibly can? There are lots of things you can do!

An unhealthy prostate causes lots of trouble for men - it affects quality of life and even whether you will be alive or not. So what can you do to keep your prostate as youthful and healthy as you possibly can? There are lots of things you can do!

Lifestyle and dietary factors, along with supplementation, greatly affect the health of your prostate. So taking the right steps to keep your prostate healthy is crucial. This checklist will show you what steps to take to stay healthy, including what foods and supplemental compounds aid the health of your prostate.

Symptoms or signs of an Unhealthy Prostate (enlargement or cancer)

So - lots of unpleasant symptoms that you don't want! If you are experiencing a few of these symptoms, it's not too late to recover your prostate health though. You can take action.

Foods Shown To Promote Prostate Health

Research from human, animal, and in vitro studies have demonstrated that certain foods benefit prostate health.

1. Flax Seeds

Phytoestrogens are evidenced to disrupt the production of DHT [16]. And flax seeds have the highest phytoestrogen content of any plant in the world. Flax specifically is evidenced to reduce the enzyme that generates DHT [17][18]. So when the potent growth hormone DHT is reduced, the conditions of BPH and cancer should be improved because their will be less prostate or cancer cell growth.

2. Soy

Higher soy consumption has been linked to lower rates of prostate cancer [19]. Soy is high in phytoestrogens, encourages healthy prostate cell death, and might stop rapid cell replication [19].

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are high in lycopene, a carotenoid (plant pigment), and lycopene has been found in a variety of research - both in test tubes and in living organisms - to have powerful anti-prostate cancer effects such as protecting prostate cells from damage, inhibiting cancer growth, stimulating cancer cell death [20].

4. Broccoli

There is evidence that broccoli has anti-cancer effects on the prostate and decreases excessive cell growth that leads to enlarged prostate [21].

5. Cauliflower

The sulforaphane compound in cauliflower and broccoli has “established anti-cancer effects” [22]. Sulforaphane helps induce healthy cell death and inhibits DNA production for excessive new prostate cells [23].

6. Spinach

Spinach is associated with lower rates of aggressive prostate cancer cell growth and it has “at least 13 different flavonoid compounds can be found in spinach and these compounds function as antioxidants and as anti-cancer agents” [24].

7. Chlorella (algae)

The powerful astaxanthin carotenoid in chlorella inhibits DHT production and decreases the growth of prostate cancer cells in test tubes [25]. Astaxanthin is very absorbable into the tissues of the human body.

8. Blueberries

Blueberries decrease an array of growth-promoting factors that fuel enlarged prostates and prostate cancer [26].

9. Green Tea

This beverage blocks DHT, lessens enlarged prostate symptoms, and fights cancer in a variety of ways [27].

10. Carrots

The carotenoids in carrots like beta carotene are thought to be responsible for the possible lower risk of prostate cancer associated with consumption [28].

11. Pomegranate

Three components of pomegranates - “luteolin, ellagic acid and punicic acid together, have similar inhibitory effects on prostate cancer growth, angiogenesis and metastasis” [29].

12. Avocado

The lutein carotenoid, along with other carotenoids and Vitamin E, in avocado has been shown to shown to inhibit growth of prostate cancer cells by inhibiting an army of pro-growth hormones [30].

13. Citrus Fruit

Flavonoids in citrus fruits like grapefruit and oranges have been shown to dramatically inhibit prostate cancer cell growth [31].

14. Olive oil

In a review of thousands of men, involved in 19 observational studies, olive oil is associated with reduced prostate cancer risk [32].

15. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens contain an antioxidant called neoxanthin that has been evidenced to cause death in human prostate cancer cells [24].

16. Whole Grains

Consume slower-release carbohydrates to minimize insulin, a hormone that stimulates the growth of cells. Increased fiber intake, like that from whole grains, is associated with lowered aggressiveness of cancer growth [33].

17. Apples

Apple peels can have strong effects against prostate cancer cell growth [34].

18. Watermelon

Watermelon contains lycopene, similarly to tomatoes, which has anti-growth capabilities on prostate cells.

19. Fish

Researchers think that the anti-inflammatory effects of the fish oils EPA and DHA may help inhibit or prostate cancer or slow the growth of tumors that could be fueled by inflammation [35].

20. Pumpkin Seed

Pumpkin seeds inhibit DHT production, the hormone the fuels aggressive prostate cell growth and enlarged prostate [36].

For more information on prostate-health-promoting foods, click here.

Natural Compounds to Fight Enlarged Prostate and Prostate Cancer

Various herbs and natural compounds have been shown to support prostate health. They work mostly by inhibiting excessive prostate cell growth and interrupting hormones that are bad for the prostate.

1. Saw Palmetto

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” [3][4].  This enzyme generates the powerful DHT hormone which causes prostates to become enlarged and can fuel cancer cell growth.

2. Plant Sterols

A review of 4 clinical trials showed that plant sterols improved urinary flow in men with enlarged prostates, animal studies have also demonstrated decreased prostate sizes [5][6].

3. Cruciferous Vegetable Extracts

This is a great way to benefit from the medicinal effects of cruciferous veggies - these extracts have been shown to reduce cancer cell growth and excessive prostate cell growth [7][8].

4. Zinc

“Zinc ions inhibit androgen metabolism in the prostate” [9]. In other words, you might have too much DHT in your prostate if you don’t have enough zinc in your body.

5. Lycopene

This is an antioxidant in tomatoes. It’s been shown to reduce enlarged prostate symptoms and kill prostate cancer cells [10][11]. It’s also well absorbed by your body.

6. Nettle Leaf

“In three clinical trials on [enlarged prostate] patients, nettle had a better impact in reducing patients’ clinical symptoms than placebo” [12]. As a whole, nettle is recommended to be used more in treatment of [enlarged prostate]” [12].

7. Reishi Mushroom

Reishi has been shown to inhibit prostate cancer cell growth and can boost the immune system’s ability to fight malignant cells [13].

Frequently Asked Questions

1. If I have an enlarged prostate, do I necessarily have prostate cancer?

    No. You can have an enlarged prostate without having cancerous growths in your prostate. An enlarged prostate means that healthy prostate cells have multiplied too rapidly, and your prostate is too large, causing urinary symptoms.

    It should be noted, though, that the same hormones - excessive DHT and estrogen - that are largely responsible for prostate enlargement, can fuel the growth of cancerous prostate cells just like they do with healthy prostate cells.

    So if you have an existing cancerous growth, DHT and estrogen could be enlarging tumors. The difference between prostate cancer and enlargement is the type of cell that has replicated too much.

    2. How can I fight prostate enlargement?

    Use the lists noted above, regarding foods and natural compounds, to reduce excessive levels of DHT and estrogen and to promote healthy cell death. These hormones potently trigger cellular replication - you want less of them.

    3. What causes prostate cancer?

    If someone in your immediate family has had prostate cancer (PC), your chance of developing the disease increases two to three fold. So researchers believe that there are genetic conditions that increase the risk of prostate cancer.

    If you are over 50, and are of African or white descent, you are more likely to develop PC. Though, lifestyle factors play a large role in the development of PC. Epidemiological studies show that increased consumption of meat, dairy, refined carbohydrates and eggs lead to greater risk [14][15]. Why? Along with other reasons, animal products can have a variety of inflammatory effects which increase cell division and cancer growth. High-temperature cooked meat is often full of mutagenic compounds, AGEs, endotoxins, environmental pollution (these all can contribute to cancer initiation through DNA damage and can also stimulate excessive cancer cell replication).

    4. How is PC diagnosed?

    The only way to fully confirm prostate cancer is biopsy (the removal of small amounts of prostate tissue for microscopic examination).

    Other methods can give clues as to whether PC is occurring. Blood PSA tests, testing prostate-specific-antigen, gives a clue whether the prostate is either enlarged or has cancer. When so, the prostate lets off excessive amounts of PSA. Other tumor markers can be tested in the blood because high PSA doesn’t always occur with prostate cancer.

    Imaging techniques like ultrasounds and MRIs can also show the state of the prostate and give a clue to cancer status.

    5. When Should I Start Getting a PSA Test and What Does a Healthy Result Look Like?

    If you’re being very proactive, it’s recommended that any man above the age of 40 get a yearly PSA test. If the the resulting number value is healthy and low, regular testing can be spread to every 2-3 years.

    For families at very high risk of prostate cancer, testing can be recommended starting as low as age 35.

    A healthy PSA test result is reccomended by forward-thinking institutions to be less than 2 ng/mL. A more antiquated guideline holds that a PSA below 4 ng/mL can be normal. However, there are instances of prostate cancer in men who measure below 4 ng/mL.

    6. Is there a way to prevent prostate cancer?

    A vegan or a calorie restricted diet are recommended by experts for reducing the risk and growth of prostate cancer as much as possible. These diets make sense in inhibiting cancer growth because they reduce various growth factors that help cancer spread quickly: Insulin-like growth factor, insulin, VEGF, and inflammation.

    And as listed above, specific foods have also been shown to be associated with reduced prostate cancer risk and growth.