By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
July 3, 2017
- Do prostate problems have you dribbling over the toilet?
- It’s all about hormones and inflammation
- 7 foods to shrink your prostate and get your urine flowing again
When you’re up and down all night long with the urgent need to pee… when your bladder never feels empty… when you groan and strain to urinate and end up with nothing more than a tiny dribble…
That’s when you know you’re having prostate problems. There’s no doubt about it.
The mechanical explanation is pretty simple.
When your prostate becomes enlarged it presses down like a clamp on your urethra. That’s the toothpick-size pipe that you urinate through. Even the slightest pressure shuts it off.
But when men come to my office with enlarged prostates, they don’t care about the mechanics of it. All they want to do is pee like a man and get on with their lives.
For the most part, their top two questions are: “Why does it happen, and what can I do about it?”
Since most men will experience this condition (known as is benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH) at some point in their lives, these are two very important questions. And I have some answers.
What Causes Enlarged Prostate?
When it comes to BPH, hormonal changes top the list.
In particular, a hormone called Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is strongly linked to prostate growth. It’s produced by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase, which converts testosterone into DHT. (Excess production of DHT is also linked to hair loss in men.)
Additionally, there’s plenty of evidence that inflammation plays a role in the development of BPH. Not only do most tissue samples show this, but men with enlarged prostate typically have high levels of several inflammatory markers, such as C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6).
Now, here’s the thing. Some folks think BPH is a normal consequence of aging. But is it natural for your DHT levels to increase as you age? Is it natural to become riddled with inflammation?
7 Foods to Shrink Your Prostate and Get Your Urine Flowing Again
Processed foods, sugars, alcohol, red meat and dairy products are all highly inflammatory. So are genetically modified foods, most cooking oils and modern-day wheat products.
Many of these same foods affect your body’s production of hormones.
This easily explains why men who eat more bread, cereal, red meat, poultry and dairy products are more likely to experience BPH or have surgery for it.
On the other hand, those who enjoy more fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts are less likely to develop enlarged prostate or urinary problems.
Dark-green leafy vegetables may be your best friend when it comes to relieving urinary symptoms. Just two ounces of greens daily can cut your overall risk of BPH by about 34%… and your chances of urinary problems by over 37%.
Beans are great when it comes to lowering levels of inflammation. In fact, people who eat beans have C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels that are about 40% lower than their non-bean-eating counterparts. These two inflammatory markers are typically high in men with BPH.
Avocadoes, lentils, nuts and seeds are all high in beta sitosterol. This compound acts like the prescription drug Proscar (finasteride), which inhibits activity of 5-alpha-reductase – the enzyme that turns testosterone into DHT.
Tomatoes are a decidedly prostate-healthy food. They are high in lycopene, a well-researched antioxidant that helps protect against prostate cancer and lowers PSA scores. This juicy red fruit can also help cut the odds of developing BPH. Just make sure to cook them first. Cooking increases the lycopene by about three or four times.
(And by the way… all of these foods are quite common in the Mediterranean way of eating, which is strongly associated with lower levels of inflammation and disease.)
If you feel you need to get a little more aggressive with your natural approach to relieving urinary symptoms and BPH, there are also some supplements that can help.
You’ll find that many of these supplements contain the same ingredients as some of the foods I’ve just listed, like beta sitosterol, lycopene and pumpkin seed. However, you’ll get them in much higher concentrations when you take them in supplemental form.
Look for a formula that contains each of these ingredients, along with other prostate-friendly nutrients like saw palmetto, stinging nettle, zinc and quercetin.
Parsons JK. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia and Male Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms: Epidemiology and Risk Factors. Curr Bladder Dysfunct Rep. 2010 Dec; 5(4): 212–218.
Liu ZM, et al. Fruit and Vegetable Intake in Relation to Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms and Erectile Dysfunction Among Southern Chinese Elderly Men: A 4-Year Prospective Study of Mr OS Hong Kong. Medicine (Baltimore). 2016 Jan;95(4):e2557.
Esmaillzadeh A, et al. Legume consumption is inversely associated with serum concentrations of adhesion molecules and inflammatory biomarkers among Iranian women. J Nutr. 2012 Feb;142(2):334-9.
Kristal AR, et al. Dietary patterns, supplemental use, and the risk of symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia: results from the prostate cancer prevention trial. Am J Epidemiol. 2008;167(8):925–34.