The risk of an enlarged prostate, also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), increases with age. By age 60, half of men will have BPH. And, yes, making some healthy changes to your diet and exercise habits may help you manage BPH symptoms such as increased urinary frequency and urgency.
Studies suggest that the following factors may lessen BPH symptoms in men:
- A low-fat diet
- Four or more servings of vegetables a day
- A high level of physical activity and no "belly fat"
Looking at diet specifically, the following nutrients appear helpful:
- Vitamin C. Vegetables highest in vitamin C include bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, snow or snap peas, cauliflower, kale, and tomato or vegetable juices.
- Zinc. Foods higher in zinc include oysters, crab, baked beans, duck, lamb and beef (lean).
Interestingly, there's little evidence that supplements are useful for BPH.
And the role of total protein is unclear. Some studies have demonstrated an increased risk in men who ate red meat every day compared with men who only ate it once a week, but other studies found a decreased risk in men with a high total protein intake.
Take note: Healthy habits such as regular exercise, watching your waistline, eating your vegetables and limiting dietary fat may help with BPH as well as lower your risk of erectile dysfunction, diabetes and heart disease.
June 29, 2017
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- Poon KS, et al. Dietary patterns, supplement use, and the risk of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Current Urology Reports. 2009;10:279.
- Espinosa G. Dietary patterns, supplement use, and the risk of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Current Opinions in Urology. 2013;23:38.
- AskMayoExpert. Benign prostatic hypertrophy. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2017.
- Nelson JK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 17, 2017.
- Castle EP (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 17, 2017.