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Understanding the difference between foods that help the prostate and the worst foods for prostate health is an invaluable tool for men with BPH or prostatitis.
For men with BPH or prostatitis, the idea of a specialized enlarged prostate diet made up of foods that shrink the prostate gland sounds like a godsend. Even though diet is only one piece of a larger picture when it comes to an enlarged prostate, researchers have been able to point to a number of foods that help prostate health due to the specific nutrients they contain, while also identifying which foods are bad for the prostate.
By recognizing both the best and worst foods that help prostate health, you’ll be well-equipped to try out your own enlarged prostate diet that’s informed by the science behind these different foods. To make it easy, we’ve compiled a simple list: the do’s and don’ts for an enlarged prostate diet.
Among the best foods that help prostate health are tomatoes, thanks to their high content of a powerful antioxidant called lycopene. In addition to giving tomatoes their vibrant red color, lycopene’s antioxidant properties help protect and strengthen cells in the prostate. While it can’t be said that any one food shrinks the prostate gland, one study found that lycopene helped slow the progression of an enlarged prostate.1
To help your body get the most out of tomatoes as a part of your prostate diet, it’s best to eat them cooked. This enhances your body’s ability to absorb the lycopene by weakening its bond to the tomato’s cell walls.
It’s unfortunate to think that a juicy steak ranks as one of the worst foods for prostate health, but that does appear to be the case. Red meat’s role in elevating the level of arachidonic acid in the body may be to blame, as it can worsen inflammation. Studies have ultimately found a correlation between red meat consumption and the development of BPH.2
It’s important to note that there is also evidence suggesting men with a higher total protein intake are less susceptible to prostate issues, meaning that replacing red meat with lean protein like chicken and fish is a healthier option for your prostate diet.
The Mayo Clinic specifically mentions citrus fruits in their discussion of an enlarged prostate diet. A high vitamin C content is what makes citrus fruits another one of the best foods that helps prostate health, since vitamin C is believed to protect the prostate gland.
You have a colorful array of choices here, including lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines, and grapefruit. While you’re at it, add more berries to the fruit basket, since their high antioxidant levels make them another good food to help the prostate.
The caffeine found in your morning cup of coffee or tea is a diuretic, meaning it can stimulate the urge to urinate and worsen some of the symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate. Along with alcohol, caffeine is often identified as a food that’s bad for the prostate (despite technically being a drink).
A good trade-off to achieve a better prostate diet is drinking green tea that’s lower in caffeine, which packs a powerful antioxidant punch to nourish prostate cells.
Not all fats are created equal when it comes to their health implications, especially when looking for foods that help prostate health. While the saturated fats found in things like red and processed meats may serve to worsen inflammation, healthy fats like Omega-3’s may help to reduce it. Cutting out bad fats and increasing good ones is also important for maintaining a healthy weight, which is an important factor for prostate health as well as overall health.
Salmon and other fatty fish are good sources of Omega-3’s, as are walnuts, flax seeds, and canola oil.
No steak, no coffee, and no ice cream or milkshakes… this prostate diet may be starting to sound like a drag, but dairy truly is one of the worst foods for prostate health, and the study results that explain why are sobering.
Research has found that men consuming more than 2.5 servings of dairy per day face a higher risk of prostate cancer than those consuming a half serving or less.3,4 Full fat cheeses, full fat butter, and whole milk should be the most highly avoided, with the best alternatives being non-dairy options like flax, soy, or almond milk.
Consisting of vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and brussel sprouts, cruciferous vegetables are incredible foods that help prostate health, and should be the cornerstone of a healthy prostate diet (or any healthy diet, for that matter).
These vegetables are amazingly rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and sulforaphane, a special sulfur-containing compound that gives these vegetables their scent and signature bitter taste. These compounds work as an incredible team, and are believed to protect cells, reduce inflammation, and maintain healthy DNA in the prostate gland.
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