Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) — also called prostate gland enlargement — is a common situation as men get older. An enlarged prostate gland can cause uncomfortable urinary symptoms, such as blocking the flow of urine out of the bladder. It can also reason bladder, urinary tract or kidney problems.
The severity of symptoms in people who have prostate gland enlargement varies, but symptoms tend to gradually worsen over time. Common signs and symptoms of BPH include:
- Frequent or urgent need to urinate
- Increased frequency of urination at night (nocturia)
- Difficulty starting urination
- Weak urine stream or a stream that stops and starts
- Dribbling at the end of urination
- Inability to totally empty the bladder
A man’s diet can become a risk factor for BPH due to the effect certain foods have on hormone levels. Testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) are the main hormones involved in the prostate gland, and diets that elevate these hormones can increase a man’s risk of BPH. However, there are foods that can help decrease a man’s risk and have a positive impact on prostate health.
There are many foods that can help maintain your prostate health. However, there are also foods and beverages that can have the opposite effect. These foods should be eaten in moderation to help avoid an enlarged prostate:
- Red Meat
Daily red meat consumption has proven to triple a man’s chance of developing BPH and is also linked to prostate cancer. Doctors often encourage men over 50 to avoid eating red meat altogether if possible, as it can lead to cardiovascular issues.
Since caffeine is a diuretic, it can increase the urge to urinate. For men already suffering from the urinary symptoms of BPH, avoiding coffee and other forms of caffeine is highly recommended.
Like caffeine, alcohol can stimulate urine production. For men who experience frequent urges to urinate due to BPH, avoiding alcohol may increase their comfort and limit bathroom visits.
For the same reasons as red meat, dairy products like cheese, butter, and milk are closely linked to negative prostate health. Cutting down on these products is a great way to lower the risk of an enlarged prostate and prostate cancer.
Vitamin C is another nutrient that is suspected to play a role in maintaining prostate health, and bell peppers are an excellent source of Vitamin C. Bell peppers can be mixed into a stir fry, eaten with hummus, or added to a bowl of pasta. Other great sources of Vitamin C include brussel sprouts, kale, and cauliflower.
Since obesity is another risk factor for BPH, achieving or maintaining a healthy weight is vital to help prevent it. Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3s as well as healthy fats. Incorporating salmon into your diet is a great way to promote a healthy weight and prevent BPH, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, and arthritis.