Dear Dr G,

I am a sixty-year-old man and with the new year rolling in, I am one of many making resolutions for a healthier lifestyle.

After witnessing my elderly father experiencing problems from an enlarged prostate, I am determined to focus on and ensure my prostate health.

I currently have mild urinary issues and I hope taking early measures can help me avoid catheterisation and prostate operations.

I went to see a urologist, who recommended some medication.

I am not against taking medication but I hope to utilise more natural means to reduce the progression of prostate issues.

Can I put Dr G on the spot for some dietary guidance, starting with the basics?

What exactly is the prostate and what are the symptoms of prostate enlargement, and what kind of diet is good for the prostate?

Is there anything I should avoid?

I look forward to your dietary guidance and wishing you a healthy new year!


Prostate Preston

The human prostate is a walnut-sized organ that is responsible for the production of semen, crucial for sexual and reproductive health. While organs in a man typically shrink during aging, the prostate gland continues growing, resulting in men having Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) issues.

Although benign prostate enlargement is not cancerous, the aging progress can cause distressing urinary symptoms, discomfort and complications.

The growth of the prostate is generally controlled by testosterone. In the prostate gland itself, testosterone is converted to its active dihydrotestosterone form, which is responsible for cell growth in prostatic enlargement. The impact of certain foods and beverages are known to influence prostatic health because of their effects on testosterone and other hormones. Therefore, dietary habits can significantly affect your health, including that of your prostate.

Certain fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes contain a powerful antioxidant called lycopene which may reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. A publication reviewing 24 studies revealed men who eat more tomatoes are less likely to develop prostate cancer. Lycopene is also known for its antioxidant properties that decrease cell damage and slow cancer cell production. Other scientific publications also suggest links between cruciferous vegetables and lower prostate growth. Although the scientific basis unclear, researchers propose that some phytochemicals in these vegetables, including sulforaphane, selectively target and kill cancer cells while leaving normal prostate cells healthy and unaffected. Cruciferous vegetables are mainly broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussel sprouts.

While there’s still a need for more conclusive studies, some research has linked soybean isoflavones with reduced prostate enlargement. Legumes are a food group that include beans, peanuts and lentils, which have biologically active plant compounds known as phytoestrogens. Isoflavones are one such phytoestrogen. One review found that people who ate the most phytoestrogens had a 20% reduced risk of prostate cancer.

Strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also excellent sources of antioxidants, removing free radicals from the body. Free radicals are the by-products of reactions that occur within the body and can cause damage and disease over time. Similarly, oranges, lemons, lime and grapefruit are all high in vitamin C, which may help to protect the prostate gland.

Nuts are rich in zinc, a trace mineral. Zinc is found in high concentrations in the prostate and is thought to help balance testosterone and DHT. Besides nuts, shellfish and legumes are also high in zinc. Several reviews also reported links between higher omega-3 fat consumption and a lower risk of high-grade prostate cancer. Salmon is rich in healthy fats that contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent and reduce inflammation within the body. Other cold-water fish such as sardines and trout are also rich in these types of fats.

A healthy diet is more than just eating good food – it also means avoiding some types of foods that are not good for the prostate.

Research suggests that going red meat-free may help improve prostate health. Daily meat consumption is believed to triple the risk of prostate enlargement. Similarly, regular consumption of dairy products has been linked to an increased risk of BPH. Cutting out or reducing butter, cheese, and milk may help reduce BPH symptoms.

On the other hand, caffeine may act as a diuretic, which means that it increases frequency and urgency of urination. Alcohol can also stimulate urine production. Men with BPH may find that their symptoms are improved by giving up alcohol.

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