A healthy diet for people with an enlarged prostate should be rich in fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. Certain foods, such as salmon, tomatoes, and berries, may be especially beneficial.

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As people age, the prostate gland can enlarge in a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). However, studies show that dietary and lifestyle changes can slow prostate growth, as well as supporting overall good health.

In this article, learn what foods to eat to ease the symptoms of BPH.

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The prostate is a small gland in the pelvis and forms a critical part of the male reproductive system.

The prostate converts testosterone into another hormone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT). High levels of DHT cause the cells in the prostate to enlarge.

Certain foods and beverages are known to affect prostate health because of their effects on testosterone and other hormones.

Research shows that a diet rich in whole fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats can improve prostate health and slow its growth.

A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, such as the Mediterranean diet, may benefit prostate health. Research shows that adhering to this diet can slow prostate growth, improve health, and reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer.

The Mediterranean and similar diets are naturally rich in antioxidants and healthy fats, which can both have a protective effect on the prostate. Specific foods a person should include in their diet are:

  • Salmon: 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.
  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes are packed with lycopene, an antioxidant that may benefit prostate gland cells. Cooking tomatoes, such as in tomato sauce or soup, helps to release the lycopene and make it more readily available to the body.
  • Berries: Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are excellent sources of antioxidants, which help to remove free radicals from the body. Free radicals are the byproducts of reactions that occur within the body and can cause damage and disease over time.
  • Broccoli: Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, including bok choy, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage, contain a chemical known as sulforaphane. This is thought to target cancer cells and promote a healthy prostate.
  • Nuts: 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.
  • Citrus: Oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits are all high in vitamin C, which may help to protect the prostate gland.

Also, some studies on plant extract therapies, such as an extract from a type of palm tree known as saw palmetto, have been shown to have a positive impact on prostate size and urinary flow. More research is needed, however.

A healthful diet for an enlarged prostate is more than just eating good foods. It also means avoiding other types of foods that are not good for the prostate.

Some foods to avoid include:

  • Red meat: Red meat is high in saturated fats and may increase inflammation. Reducing red meat consumption as part of a balanced diet can have a beneficial effect on prostate growth and muscle tone.
  • Caffeine: Caffeine may act as a diuretic, which means that it increases how much, how often, and how urgently a person has to urinate.
  • Alcohol: High consumption of alcohol can have a detrimental effect on multiple body systems, including the prostate. Research shows that it also increases the risk of developing prostate cancer.
  • Sodium: A high salt intake may increase the urinary tract symptoms associated with BPH. Following a low-sodium diet by not adding salt to meals and avoiding processed foods may be helpful for some men.

Dietary changes can be quite effective in managing some of the symptoms of BPH, but other basic lifestyle changes can help as well.

Some strategies that may ease BPH symptoms include:

  • managing stress
  • quitting smoking
  • avoiding fluids in the evening to reduce nighttime urination
  • emptying the bladder completely when urinating
  • doing pelvic floor exercises
  • avoiding medications that can worsen symptoms, such as antihistamines, diuretics, and decongestants if possible
  • trying bladder training exercises
  • limiting fluid intake to 2 liters of liquids each day

If these lifestyle changes are ineffective, medication or surgery may be recommended by a doctor.

Symptoms of BPH include:

  • increased urinary frequency and urgency
  • difficulty starting urination
  • weak urine stream or dribble at the end of urination
  • interrupted urination
  • frequent urination at night
  • incontinence
  • pain after ejaculation
  • painful urination
  • urinary retention or inability to urinate

These symptoms occur when an enlarged prostate gland blocks the urethra, the tube that runs between the bladder and outside of the body. This blockage can make it difficult or even impossible to pass urine.

Treating BPH depends on the severity of the symptoms. Sometimes, only basic lifestyle changes are needed.

However, there are also medications or surgical procedures that can effectively reduce the size of the prostate or the symptoms associated with BPH.

Below are frequently asked questions relating to enlarged prostates.

What foods are good for your prostate?

A varied diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats may support prostate health, slow prostate growth, and reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer.

Specific foods that may benefit prostate health include:

  • oily fish such as salmon and mackerel
  • cruciferous vegetables such as brocolli
  • vitamin C-rich fruits such as oranges and lemons
  • antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables like tomatoes

What is the best drink for prostate health?

Similar to foods for good prostate health, juices rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals can form part of an overall healthy diet.

Limited research also suggests that green tea may improve lower urological health and could have a preventative effect on prostate cancer. However, such research is not conclusive, and further investigation is necessary to assess these effects.

How can you naturally improve prostate health?

Lifestyle changes can often improve prostate health. These include, but are not limited to:

  • eating a healthy, whole food-focused diet
  • quitting smoking if a person does so
  • managing stress

If BPH symptoms, or other signs of an enlarged prostate persist, seeking medical help is essential.

Treating BPH can range from making simple lifestyle and dietary changes at home to medication and surgery. Reducing red meat consumption and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can help manage symptoms.

It is important to communicate with a doctor about symptoms.

If the suggested lifestyle changes are ineffective in reducing the symptoms, more aggressive treatment may be needed.