Most men experience prostate enlargement as they grow older, which can cause bladder and urination problems. Also called benign prostatic hyperplasia, an enlarged prostate gland is not cancerous and does not raise your risk for prostate cancer. While some men require medications or surgery, eating a healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, can help manage your symptoms. Some vegetables and fruits provide particularly helpful benefits. For severe or long-lasting symptoms, seek guidance from your doctor.
Antioxidants reduce inflammation and support your body's ability to resist and overcome infections and disease. In a study published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in February 2007, researchers analyzed the diets and prostate health of more than 6,000 men aged 46 to 81. Participants who consumed rich amounts of vegetables were found to be significantly less likely to develop an enlarged prostate than participants who did not. High intake of the antioxidants vitamin C, lutein and beta-carotene was also linked with a healthy prostate. Vegetables particularly rich in vitamin C include red bell peppers, which provide over 100 percent of the daily value per serving, tomatoes, broccoli and potatoes. For beta-carotene, consume dark-green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes and carrots. Dark leafy greens are also lutein-rich.
Fruits are additional valuable sources of antioxidants, particularly vitamin C and beta-carotene. Eating one medium orange or kiwi fruit more than fulfills your daily need for vitamin C. Strawberries, grapefruit and tangerines also provide significant amounts. Cantaloupe supplies vitamin C and beta-carotene. Fruits high in other carotenoids also promote prostate health, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Look for red, orange and deep-yellow varieties, such as mango and apricots.
A high-fat, low-fiber diet leads to imbalances of sex hormones, which causes cells in your prostate to multiply. To lower your fat intake and consume more fiber, cut back on fatty, inflammatory foods, such as red meat, whole milk and fried foods, incorporating more fiber-rich fruits and vegetables into your meals. Beans and lentils provide rich amounts of fiber and protein, minus the saturated fat of fatty meats. Cooked lentils, black beans and kidney beans provide 6 to 8 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup, going a long way toward the recommended 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day. Cooked peas, brussels sprouts and turnips each provide 3 to 5 grams per serving. Apples, apricots, dried figs and mango provide 2.5 to 3 grams per serving.
A heart-healthy diet could help stave off risks an enlarged prostate, reported the "New York Times" health guide in August 2014. In addition to eating plentiful fruits and vegetables, emphasize foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which promote cardiovascular health and reduce inflammation. Top sources include oily fish, such as salmon, herring and mackerel, flaxseeds and walnuts. Replace refined grain products, such as white bread, instant rice and low-fiber cereals, with whole-grain foods, such as oatmeal, brown rice and quinoa. While hydration is important, drinking too much fluid can increase urination problems. Limit fluids to about 2 quarts per day, unless your physician instructs otherwise. Caffeine and alcohol can also exacerbate your symptoms.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Enlarged Prostate
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Fruit and Vegetable Consumption, Intake of Micronutrients and Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia in US Men
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Antioxidants
- Linus Pauling Institute: Carotenoids
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin A Fact Sheet for Health Professionals
- Dr. McDougall Health Center: Prostate Enlargement (BPH)
- Harvard University Health Services: Fiber Content of Foods in Common Portions
- New York Times: Enlarged Prostate
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Omega-3 Fatty Acids