The prostate is a small walnut-sized gland located close to the bladder and surrounding the urethra. It grows during puberty, and again after age 40.
Approximately half of all men after the age of 50 develop symptoms of benign (non-cancerous) prostate enlargement. This can lead to symptoms including frequent or painful urination, incomplete emptying of the bladder, as well as frequent day and night time urination and urgency. After time, this can lead to acute and chronic inflammation of the prostate, which can cause bacterial infections, physical discomfort, sexual dysfunction and mental and emotional stress. Cancer of the prostate is also a concern, and is listed as the number two cause of cancer deaths in men.
Natural Prostate enlargement is mainly due to the accumulation of DHT (DiHydroTestosterone), from natural conversion of testosterone, as well as the natural increase in estrogen in men as they age, both of which encourage the growth of prostate cells. Lifestyle and nutritional habits are a major factor in maintaining prostate health or conversely, creating disease or dysfunction.
A diet including daily consumption of red meat is known to increase prostate cancer risk by up to 250% compared to eating red meat only once per week. Exposure to artificial chemicals and pollutants can also stimulate prostate enlargement.
There are many foods as well as natural health remedies that have a long history of safety and efficacy in helping to ease symptoms and preventing inflammatory prostate conditions.
Lycopene, found in fresh, ripe tomatoes, papaya, watermelons and carrots, is a pigment in the large carotenoid family and has been shown to greatly reduce BPH inflammation and prostate cancer risk.
Insufficient amounts of zinc are associated with increased prostate inflammation and conversion of testosterone to DHT (which we want to avoid as it can stimulate prostate enlargement). An inflamed prostate may contain only 1/10th of the amount of zinc found in a healthy gland!
It is easier for men to become zinc deficient than it is for women, as men loose amounts of zinc with seminal emissions. Studies show up to 70% of patients experience improved symptoms by correcting their zinc deficiency.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc. Eat pumpkin seeds and use a pumpkin seed oil that is pressed in a clean and nutrient-preserving process. Remember to buy your oils in dark glass bottles that preserve this delicate oil. Pumpkin seed oil is delicious and can be added to salads, oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies, and more.
Vitamins C, D and B6 have been well researched for their benefit in maintaining and treating prostate health.
Saw Palmetto is a herb listed in the US Pharmacopoeia. It is one of the most studied herbal medicines for the prostate. Rich in the phyto chemical beta-sitosterol that interferes with conversion of testosterone to DHT, its regular use has shown good results in many studies. It is shown to reduce the enlargement and inflammation of the prostate, as well as assist in reducing the associated urinary symptoms. Today it is one of the most popular herbs used for prostate health, and is a licensed product in many European countries.
Saw palmetto is usually taken in capsule form and can found at natural health stores. Request a quality product, ideally CO2 extracted in the proven clinical dose and combined with Zinc and/or Vitamin B6.
To prevent prostate problems and many other issues, think of adding some of these nutritional and herbal remedies, drinking lots of water, moving to a healthy diet rich in fresh, organic vegetables and cold-pressed oils and including daily exercise.
This column is sponsored by Good 'n' Natural in Steinbach.