If you’re worried about prostate enlargement and you want to avoid the symptoms of an enlarged prostate as you get older, you’re definitely going to want to read this article because I’m going to give you great tips on how you can use food as medicine to shrink an enlarged prostate.
In this article, we’re going to cover what prostate enlargement is and what symptoms we’re trying to avoid. Then, I’ll talk about the medications commonly prescribed for prostate enlargement and how we can recreate those effects using food or supplements. I’ll provide data to demonstrate how powerful food and supplements can be for shrinking an enlarged prostate. Finally, I’ll offer specific tips for how you can put this into practice to get the results I’m sharing today.
What is Prostate Enlargement?
Let’s start with what prostate enlargement, also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is. First, what is the prostate? The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located below the bladder that wraps around the urethra, which is the tube carrying urine from the bladder out of the body. As the prostate enlarges with age, it can put pressure on the urethra and cause uncomfortable urinary symptoms.
Prostate enlargement is very common. It doesn’t usually impact men under 40, but about 8% of men in their 40s experience prostate enlargement and symptoms. Over 50% of men over 50 have BPH symptoms, and by age 80, 80% of men have symptoms of an enlarged prostate. So it’s extremely prevalent, and most men will need to take BPH medications at some point.
An enlarged prostate can cause uncomfortable urinary symptoms, including:
- Frequent urination or getting up multiple times at night to urinate
- Incomplete emptying and feeling like the bladder isn’t fully empty
- Urgency and having to urinate again quickly after just going
- Weak urine stream
- Dribbling after urination
- Difficulty starting or stopping the urine flow
What Causes Prostate Enlargement?
Prostate enlargement occurs largely due to the cumulative effect of testosterone on the prostate gland over time. An enzyme called 5-alpha reductase converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which causes prostate cells to proliferate, gradually enlarging the gland.
Looking at the medications prescribed for BPH, there are two major categories:
- Alpha blockers like Flomax, which relax the prostate and bladder muscles to improve urine flow. This is the most commonly prescribed BPH med.
- 5-alpha reductase inhibitors like Proscar which block the conversion of testosterone to DHT. This stops the prostate from enlarging.
We can mimic the effects of these 5-alpha reductase inhibitor drugs using food or supplements. The data shows how powerful plant nutrients are for shrinking an enlarged prostate.
Lycopene Shrinks the Prostate by Blocking DHT
The powerful nutrient that blocks 5-alpha reductase and improves BPH symptoms is lycopene. Lycopene not only inhibits the creation of DHT from testosterone, it also reduces inflammation by blocking COX enzymes. So it provides a double whammy – lowering DHT and reducing inflammation – leading to profound prostate shrinkage.
What is lycopene? It’s a red pigment found in many fruits and vegetables. Although it’s similar to vitamin A, it’s not actually a vitamin. Lycopene is an antioxidant that also has anti-inflammatory effects. After ingestion, it accumulates in certain organs, including the prostate, where it provides remarkable benefits.
As a red pigment, lycopene occurs in red and pink fruits and vegetables, including strawberries, watermelon, papaya, guava, pink grapefruit, and most abundantly, tomatoes. Tomatoes are the single most important food for preventing prostate enlargement and alleviating BPH symptoms.
Powerful Data Shows Lycopene Treats Enlarged Prostates
Let’s examine the data demonstrating how potent lycopene is for improving prostate health:
- Men with the highest lycopene intakes had a 21% lower risk of developing prostate enlargement. Consuming just 14 mg of lycopene daily provided this benefit.
- BPH patients taking lycopene supplements had up to a 44% reduction in urinary symptom scores. This exceeds the 23% symptom improvement from the BPH drug finasteride.
- Lycopene also reduced post-void residual urine volume, which indicates prostate obstruction, by 48%.
- PSA levels, which correlate with prostate volume and cancer risk, dropped by 25% with lycopene supplementation. Men eating tomato paste had an 11% drop in PSA.
- Men with the highest blood lycopene levels had an 83% lower risk of prostate cancer compared to men with the lowest levels.
- Eating tomato sauce twice weekly cut prostate cancer risk by over 20% versus eating it less than once a month.
The evidence clearly demonstrates that lycopene lowers the chances of developing an enlarged prostate. And if you already have BPH, lycopene can profoundly reduce symptoms, shrink prostate volume, lower PSA, and slash prostate cancer risk.
Daily Lycopene Dosage for Prostate Health
To obtain the benefits seen in these studies, you need a daily lycopene intake of at least 9-14 mg. Most supplements contain 50-60 mg per capsule. Some research used 500 mg of lycopene twice daily to replicate a prescription drug’s effects.
Here’s how much tomato product you’d need to get 14 mg of lycopene:
- 1⁄2 cup tomato sauce
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2-3 medium whole tomatoes
If you don’t want to eat tomatoes, other lycopene-rich pink/red fruits are guava, papaya, pink grapefruit, and watermelon.
Cooking and Storing Tomatoes Maximizes Lycopene
Here are some tips to get the most lycopene from tomatoes:
- Lycopene holds up well to freezing, canning, and refrigerating. Don’t worry about storage.
- Cook tomatoes to boost lycopene since cooking breaks down cell walls and makes lycopene more bioavailable.
- Cooking tomatoes in oil further boosts absorption. Olive, avocado, and coconut oil work well.
- Tomato-based sauces and pastes are very rich sources thanks to cooking and oil.
Conclusion: Tomatoes and Lycopene Prevent Prostate Enlargement
- Lycopene is vital for prostate health. Tomatoes are a great lycopene source.
- Eat tomatoes often to reap prostate benefits. Tomato sauce twice weekly can cut cancer risk significantly.
- If you can’t eat enough tomatoes, take a lycopene supplement. 50-60 mg capsules are commonly available.
- To maximize benefits, consider a 500 mg lycopene supplement twice daily.
I hope you’ve learned how harnessing the power of tomatoes and lycopene can prevent and treat prostate enlargement naturally.