My 7-step plan to maximise prostate health

How to maximise prostate health

March is prostate cancer awareness month in the UK, to encourage men to become more aware of health problems they could develop, I wanted to use this awareness time to focus on my 7- step plan to maximise prostate health.

Watch my video here or read on for the 7 Step Plan.

1 in 8 men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, but for many more men a condition known as BPH (benign prostatic hypertrophy) is far more common with over 40% of over 50-year-olds and 80% of over 80-year-old men living with the condition.

In both instances, the prostate gland, which wraps around the urethra, becomes enlarged. And with that enlargement, the prostate presses on the urethra – the tube that carries urine from the bladder, causing symptoms. It can act like a clamp and impede the flow of urine.

My 7-step plan to maximise prostate health

The symptoms can include:

  • needing to pass urine more often than usual, especially at night;
  • difficulty urinating – for example, a weak flow or having to strain;
  • hesitancy or urgency related to urination; 
  • feeling like you have not completely emptied your bladder;
  • potential pain in the pelvic region

The symptoms of benign (non-cancerous) prostate conditions and prostate cancer can be similar, so always investigate via your medical physician when you are aware of any of these changes.

Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH)

My 7-step plan to maximise prostate health

Whilst investigation is always essential to rule out cancer, BPH is far more common. BPH is a non-malignant (non-cancerous) abnormal growth of the prostate tissue.  Whilst a relief to know it is not cancerous, the enlargement can be due to lifestyle and dietary habits and the symptoms inconvenient.

Ageing does not have to lead to BPH. Sex hormones play a significant part in BPH development and progression. DHT is a stronger form of testosterone which encourages the growth. Oestrogen plays a role too. Looking at dietary and nutrient factors that may encourage the conversion of testosterone to the more potent DHT is the focus of my 7 step plan. 

7 dietary factors that can influence the management of BPH

My 7-step plan to maximise prostate health
  1. Avoid a high fat diet, particularly from saturated animal and dairy fats. A 2008 study of 4770 men over a 7-year period found that men who received more than 38% of their calories from fat were nearly one-third more likely to develop BPH than men who received less than 26% of their calories from fat. Be aware this is the more processed and saturated fat intake rather than essential fats from oily fish, nuts and seeds which have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.
  2. Eat more vegetables. Studies have found that men who eat more vegetables are less likely to develop BPH. This is particularly the case for vegetables rich in beta-carotene (carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and winter squash; lutein (kale, spinach, broccoli, peas, parsley, peppers) and vitamin C (yellow and red peppers, parsley, tomatoes, peas, broccoli). This was not the case for fruit (see blood sugar below).
  3. Pumpkin seeds have been used in folk medicine as a treatment for urinary problems caused by an enlarged prostate, but this is now backed up by research. A 2014 one year German study found that overall, men with BPH given 12 months of treatment with pumpkin seed led to a clinically relevant reduction in BPH scores compared with placebo. Add pumpkin seeds to cereal like porridge and to salads, or just snack on them.
  4. Include foods containing phytoestrogens every day. These really aren’t just for women! These plant compounds block more harmful natural oestrogen that can exert a negative effect in the male body that can lead to prostate growth. These are found in soy (choose fermented like tempeh and tofu), lentils, flaxseed, pulses, celery and oats.
  5.  Zinc is increasingly lacking in the modern diet and has been found to be significantly lower in those with BPH. It plays a part in blocking the conversion of testosterone to DHT. The best food sources are oysters, chicken legs, pumpkin seeds, tofu, lentils, sesame seeds and eggs.
  6. Take care to keep blood sugar levels stable as excess blood glucose can raise insulin, which in turn could lead to increased levels of DHT. Switch refined starchy carbohydrates for wholegrains and keep portions sizes low; always eat protein with meals and minimise sugary fruit like grapes, bananas, tropical varieties and dried fruit. Avoid fruit juices which are very high in sugars.
  7. Foods containing beta-sitosterol may reduce the inconvenience of urinary frequency. It is found in plant-based foods so eat a vegetable rich diet, soya, olives and olive oil and flaxseeds. Saw Palmetto is the most well known therapeutic agent for BPH, and it is rich in beta-sitosterols. Saw Palmetto has been shown to help reduce the conversion of testosterone to the more potent hormone DHT, which may encourage the growth of the prostate leading to BPH.

Pharmacological effects of saw palmetto extract in the lower urinary tract 2009 10.1038/aps.2009.1
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4002402/

Trying to minimise processed foods, refined carbohydrates and sugars is the first step in any health regime, whilst incorporating my 7 steps above to minimise prostate conditions and symptoms.

Need help or advice? Book a free Discovery Call

If you suffer any symptoms you can’t resolve or you are unsure about your diet and health, why not book a free discovery call? Simply visit www.peytonprinciples.com, or email caroline@peytonprinciples.com


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Again, thanks for reading. 

Keep your eye out for more articles and Peyton Principles in the media.

Caroline

Gut Health Nutritionist Caroline Peyton Principles
Caroline is a Professional Nutritionist, Naturopath based in Wiltshire.

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