What is the prostate?
The prostate gland is a donut shaped male sex organ located just below the bladder that produces fluid to protect and enrich sperm.
In younger men the prostate gland is the size of a walnut, but it continues to grow during most of a man's life.
The prostate wraps around the urethra (the tube that transports urine from the bladder and sperm from the testicles), which is why an enlarged prostate can cause some urinary and sexual difficulties later in life.
An enlarged prostate is usually due to benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), a condition that affects more than half of all men aged over 50. Click here for more information on BPH from the Blackmores library.
How does diet affect prostate health?
A number of studies have highlighted the influence that diet has on the prostate, and its impact on prostatic growth and disease.
The importance of cutting down on dietary fat has also been highlighted in a 2006 Greek study which showed that an increased consumption of both butter and margarine was positively associated with BPH risk.
Another important strategy to protect your prostate is to eat more fruit and vegetables. A 2005 study showed that increased fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with a reduced risk of BPH.
The Healthy Prostate Diet
Knowing what foods to include and avoid in your diet can help to make a difference when it comes to the prevention and treatment of BPH. The following foods are proven to help maximise the health of your prostate. They include:
- Green tea
- Fruits and vegetables
- Raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
Minimise these foods to maximise your prostate health:
- Dietary fats, especially animal fats
- Excessive animal protein
- An overall high kilojoule intake
- Excessive dairy products, especially the full fat variety
Natural ingredients to help your prostate
There are a number of natural ingredients with proven prostate health benefits. Supplementing with antioxidants (including vitamin E and selenium, zinc and lycopene) can protect prostate cells from free radical damage.
Other natural ingredients (such as saw palmetto, and nettle root) may help with the relief of symptoms of an enlarged prostate.
Urol. 2006; 68: 470-476
J Mens Health. 2005; 2: 230–235
References available on request