September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Which you may or may not be aware of, given the fact that prostate cancer and prostate health get far less attention from the media than the annual pink-ribbon parades in October. But these health concerns are equally as important. So, for the rest of the week, I’m bringing you new findings about prostate health from front lines of research.
Today, I’m focusing on benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which is a huge problem for men, especially as they get older. It’s caused by a benign swelling of the prostate, which can obstruct urine flow and make a man’s day-to-day (and night) life absolutely miserable.
Some of the most common symptoms of BPH include:
- Increased sense of urgency to empty the bladder
- Frequent urination, including at night
- A weak, hesitant, or interrupted stream of urine
- Incomplete emptying of the bladder, with dribbling or leaking
Some men eventually turn to prescription drugs to deal with their symptoms. But, as I’ve reported before, research links these drugs with an increased risk of developing Type II diabetes.
Fortunately, there are many natural approaches that can help shrink an enlarged prostate—and reduce (or even eliminate) these troubling symptoms…
6 steps to a healthy prostate
I often write about the importance of following a balanced, Mediterranean-type diet, which includes beans, full-fat dairy (including cheeses), fruits, heart-healthy fats from wild-caught fish and olive oil, grass-fed and free-range meat, nuts, and vegetables.
This sensible, enjoyable diet is the healthiest on the planet—and it even supports the prostate specifically. In fact, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Urology, following a Mediterranean-type diet lowers the risk of the aggressive, often-fatal form of prostate cancer.
You can even enjoy alcohol in moderation on this diet, as I discussed just yesterday! Just make sure to steer clear of processed foods and artificial ingredients.
2.) Exercise and physical activity
Maintaining a healthy weight through moderate exercise and a healthy diet helps to reduce excess fat, balance hormones, and lower the risk of prostate problems. I recommend getting about 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity total per week.
But recent research points to one specific kind of exercise you may want to add to your “workout” schedule. A new study suggests that Kegel exercises, which are typically recommended for women of childbearing age, can also help men deal with symptoms of BPH.
To exercise these muscles, men can practice interrupting their urination mid-stream. Or they can practice contracting the muscles for three seconds, then releasing them while lying flat on the floor.
Studies show that an ingredient in green tea (and other plants, such as cacao) called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) can also help manage the nagging symptoms of BPH. But as I’ve reported before, you’d need to drink up to 16 cups of green tea a day to get the most effective doses. Not to mention, green tea also contains other constituents, such as tannic acid and oxalic acid, which can cause gastrointestinal (GI) and kidney problems.
So, opt for an EGCG in supplement form or switch to red tea—and skip all of the green tea drinking.
Lycopene is a carotenoid commonly found in tomatoes and certain other deep-pink and red fruits and vegetables. I did the original research to discover its role in food composition, and in human nutrition and metabolism, in the mid-1980s, when I was working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland.
In the wake of our research, other studies have shown that lycopene also supports prostate health specifically. In fact, clinical studies show lycopene not only reduces the symptoms of BPH, but it can also stop the progression of BPH entirely.
As a supplement, I recommend a daily dose of at least 4 mg. You can also get lycopene through your diet by eating plenty of apricots, carrots, sweet red peppers, tomatoes, and watermelon.
5.) Saw palmetto
Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) extract derives from the berry of the American dwarf tree, which grows in the southern coastal regions of the United States. For centuries, Native Americans—such as the Seminole—used these berries medicinally.
Saw palmetto also has a long history of use in mainstream “western” medicine, dating back to the 1800s. And it’s been the subject of at least 100 clinical studies. In fact, recent studies demonstrate it reduces the size of the prostate and improves the symptoms of BPH—especially nighttime urination. And it seems to work by reducing inflammation and balancing the body’s supply of androgen hormones, such as testosterone.
I recommend 900 mg of saw palmetto daily—just be sure to choose a supplement that contains 100 mg of beta-sitosterol, a significant active ingredient used to standardize the formulation.
Zinc is a trace metal, perhaps best known as a cold remedy. But studies show it may also be useful in balancing hormones that stimulate growth of both benign and malignant prostate cells. Which may explain why the prostate has such a high concentration of zinc.
You can take zinc as a supplement or get it through your diet by eating more seafood and meat, which are particularly rich sources.
Of course, there are many more effective, natural approaches to supporting healthy prostate function than what I’ve talked about today. And you can learn all about them in my new comprehensive, science-backed Insider’s Ultimate Guide to Perfect Prostate Health. To sign up or learn more about this innovative learning protocol, click here now!
P.S. Tune back in on Thursday to learn about the serious dangers associated with one of the most common prostate cancer treatments doled out to men.
“Natural Ways to Shrink an Enlarged Prostate.” Newsmax, 8/13/2019. (newsmax.com/Health/health-news/prostate-enlarge-natural-shrink/2019/08/13/id/928406/)
“Mediterranean Dietary Pattern is Associated with Low Risk of Aggressive Prostate Cancer: MCC-Spain Study.” The Journal of Urology, 2018; 199 (2): 430. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2017.08.087