One of the common health issues affecting men over 50 is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or an enlarged prostate.
The prostate gland is a walnut-shaped gland that helps produce semen during sexual activity. These glands are controlled by the sex hormone testosterone that transforms into another hormone which is dihydrotestosterone (DHT). High levels of DHT cause the prostate to enlarge.
Studies show that symptoms may resolve without treatment. However, due to some bladder complications, some men opt for treatment. Enlargement of the prostate can’t heal naturally. But changes in diet may help prevent its painful complications.
What Causes Prostate Enlargement?
The vast majority of prostate enlargement cases show no known cause and impact men over 40 years of age. Some studies show that this condition is hormone-related and occurs naturally with aging. Risk factors include family history, age, and health risks such as obesity and heart disease.
There are many natural ways to prevent prostate problems even after diagnosis. Some alternative options for prostate health have even become accepted around the world. So if you do suffer from BPH, here are some healthy alternatives.
Natural Food Remedies
Several types of food can either reduce or worsen associated symptoms of BPH. So, it is crucial to identify foods that may benefit people with BPH symptoms. Here are some of the beneficial foods:
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw apple cider vinegar has astringent properties that help shrink swollen prostate glands. It also aids in the prevention of bladder problems such as urinary tract infections.
- Saw Palmetto
This herbal remedy has been in use by Native Americans for several centuries. Berry from this palm tree contains hormone-balancing elements that prevent testosterone from being converted to DHT. It is also useful to treat decreased sex-drive and hair loss.
- Sesame Seeds
Men with BPH have up to 75% lower zinc levels in their bodies than those with healthy prostates. Sesame seeds are rich in zinc, a mineral that is essential to prostate health.
Pygeum is an herbal extract taken from the bark of the African plum tree. It is proven to have antibacterial and anti-viral properties to treat urogenital tract infections. It also aids with malarial fever and kidney diseases. Consuming Pygeum extract every day may help reduce BPH symptoms such as frequent night urination.
- Stinging Nettle
The stinging nettle or common nettle contains similar anti-inflammatory compounds found in Pygeum. It also carries diuretic properties that aid in increased urine production. This herb is also often combined with other natural remedies such as the Saw Palmetto.
- Pumpkin Seeds
Beta-sitosterol, a compound similar to cholesterol, is found in pumpkin seeds. The seeds or oil extract has been a component in men’s health folk remedy for many years. Zinc is an essential part of healthy prostate function.
These seeds contain zinc and other essential fatty acids. It can be consumed as snacks and may be eaten raw or cooked. A recommended intake of 10g of pumpkin seed extract is needed to help aid in reducing BPH symptoms.
Lycopene is a nutrient commonly found in fruits and vegetables. Tomatoes being the richest source of lycopene, contain ah high level of this antioxidant. The deeper the pink or red color of a fruit, the higher the lycopene content.
Other sources of lycopene are red cabbages, carrots, pink grapefruits, red bell peppers, and watermelon.
Hibiscus and green contains antioxidants called catechins that help enhance the immune system and slow the progression of prostate problems.
Note that tea also may contain caffeine, a diuretic compound found in coffee and soda, so choose caffeine-free sources.
Several natural remedies are beneficial to prostate gland health. Changing your diet is the most common of it. These diets do not point to a single nutrient, fruit or vegetable, but rather a combination of several and a change in lifestyle as well.
Lifestyle Habits to Adapt
Changes in lifestyle habits are proven to alleviate BPH and its symptoms. These include the following:
Increase Water Intake
Water helps dilute urine and reduce bladder irritations. Concentrated urine is a breeding ground for bacterial infections. Drink at least two liters of water daily to keep yourself well-hydrated but do not drink too much at a time.
Here are some tips to stay well hydrated:
- Keep a water bottle handy at all times when you are going out.
- Limit intake of coffee and tea.
- Eat fruits and vegetables with high water content.
- Try to flavor your water with fruits and herbs.
Exercise Regularly and Maintain a Healthy Weight
Evidence suggests that vigorous exercise is helpful for men suffering from BPH and urinary tract symptoms. Studies show that walking reduces the risk of developing BPH by 25%. Also, men who live an active lifestyle experience fewer symptoms from bladder problems.
As obesity is also one of the factors associated with developing BPH, it is essential to maintaining the ideal body weight.
Realizing that prostate health is majorly tied-up to diet and lifestyle is the key to better overall health. Health supplements are also available in the market to provide the daily needed dose of vitamins and nutrients mentioned above.
These health supplements can help manage prostate symptoms with the right dosage. Talk to a health professional before taking any supplements and stick to a prostate friendly plan and diet to keep your prostate healthy at all times.