Enlarged prostate: Does diet play a role?

The risk of an enlarged prostate, also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), increases with age. By age 50, half of men will show signs of BPH. But making some healthy changes to your diet and exercise habits may help you manage BPH symptoms such as increased urinary frequency and urgency.

While there's no one magic bullet, research suggests that these measures may lessen BPH symptoms:

  • Avoid liquids a few hours before bedtime or before going out
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol as these may stimulate the urge to urinate
  • Eat a low-fat diet
  • Eat a large variety of vegetables each day
  • Eat a few servings of fruit daily, and be sure to include citrus fruits
  • Participate in moderate to vigorous physical activity most days of the week
  • Maintain a healthy weight

The role of total protein in the diet and its link to BPH is unclear. Some studies found an increased risk of BPH in men who ate more red meat. But other studies found a decreased risk of BPH in men with a high total protein intake, especially protein intake of leaner forms of protein such as fish.

Studies on dietary supplements and herbal therapies — such as saw palmetto, lycopene and beta-sitosterol — and BPH have had mixed results. Ask your doctor for advice before taking supplements.

The bottom line? Healthy habits such as regular exercise, watching your waistline, eating vegetables and fruits, and keeping an eye on dietary fat may help with BPH as well as lower your risk of erectile dysfunction, diabetes and heart disease.

Last Updated Jul 2, 2022

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