Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, refers to the enlargement of the prostate gland. This noncancerous growth is common in men over 40. According to Cornell University’s Department of Urology, it can be found in about 80 percent of men older than 70, though medical attention is only needed by the 20 to 25 percent of men who have trouble urinating because of the gland enlargement. Early studies indicate that some foods may contribute to the development of BPH, so should be avoided.
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Cereals, Bread and Eggs
According to a 10-year study Italian reported on the website HealthandAge.com, men who consumed larger amounts of cereals, breads and eggs were more likely to experience negative effects from BPH than those who ate more vegetables, soups, citrus fruits and dry bean legumes. The same study debunked some earlier theories about diet and benign prostatic hyperplasia. For example, neither total calorie intake nor eating dairy products had any significant effect on enlargement of the prostate.
Proteins vs. Fats
Eating a healthy diet, rather than taking dietary supplements, is more likely to reduce the risk of developing BPH, according to a study reported on Johns Hopkins Health Alert. The study also found that men were less at risk of developing BPH if they kept their total fat and red meat intake low compared to the amount of protein and vegetables they ate. The Health and Age study, on the other hand, reports little or no effect on prostate enlargement from red meat, but did include poultry among the foods to avoid.
Alcohol and Caffeine
The Italian study found that having two alcoholic drinks per day actually reduced the risk for developing benign prostatic hyperplasia, and coffee had no effect. Still, health care specialists recommend against drinking alcohol or caffeine after dinner. This is because both of these beverages tend to be diuretic, meaning you’ll feel the need to urinate more often. Because it can be difficult for men with BPH to empty their bladders, drinking these beverages within two hours of retiring might mean a sleepless night.