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Treating an Enlarged Prostate With Diet

The majority of American men will develop a pathologically enlarged prostate gland (also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH). The good news, though, is that like many other epidemics of chronic disease plaguing the Western world, it can be prevented and treated with a plant-based diet.

The prostate gland surrounds the urethra as it exits the bladder. If the gland gets too big it can constrict the normal flow of urine. Men can be left with a hesitant, weak urine stream, dribbling, irritation, and inadequate emptying of the bladder requiring multiple nightly trips to the bathroom. In the United States, it affects about 50% of men in their 50′s and 80% of men in their 80′s, but as I note in the above video it’s extremely rare in certain populations and diet may be to blame for our BPH epidemic. What if you already have it though?

According to a recent review I profile in my 3-min. video, Prostate Versus Plants, the most notable development in the epidemic of prostate enlargement and lower urinary tract symptoms is the recognition that modifiable lifestyle factors such as diet can substantially influence the progression of the disease. All men should consider eating a prostate-healthy diet that includes legumes (beans, peas, lentils, soy); certain vegetables (like garlic and onions); and certain seeds (flax seeds); and avoids refined grains, eggs, and poultry.

If individual plant foods reduce the risk of prostate enlargement, what about an entire diet composed of plant foods? In my Care2 video on Wednesday, Cancer-Proofing Your Body, I showed how a healthy diet can slow down the abnormal growth of prostate cancer cells, but what about the abnormal growth of normal prostate cells? In a similar series of experiments researchers took a bunch of men and put them on a plant-based diet for just 2 weeks. Then they dripped the mens’ blood on prostate cells growing in a petri dish and saw, as with the cancer, a significant drop in growth. As I detail in my video Prostate Versus a Plant-Based Diet not only do prostate cell growth rates drop almost immediately upon adopting a healthier diet, but follow-up studies on men eating plant-based diets for up to 28 years straight show that as long as one continues to eat healthy, prostate cell growth rates go down and they stay down.

For more on the health benefits of garlic and onions see:

More on flax in:

And more on the concerns about poultry:

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here and watch my full 2012 presentation Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death.

Image credit: lazzarello / Flickr

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Dr. Michael Greger

A founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. Hundreds of his nutrition videos are freely available at


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12:29PM PDT on May 8, 2013


2:34AM PST on Jan 11, 2013

This is a great encouragement to all men ot eat a more balanced diet. It's just not something you can compromise with. In fact, in addition to the right diet you should also follow a decent work out plan and take natural prostate supplements. If you don’t know where to start looking for these supplements, reviews of Super Beta Prostate are available online.

11:18AM PDT on Oct 4, 2012

I hope that this will be an accurate report.thanks .

12:41AM PDT on Oct 1, 2012

I cannot believe you just stated to eat soy in this article.

9:23PM PDT on Sep 30, 2012

Simple advice for men to follow!

8:10AM PDT on Sep 30, 2012

Thank you

2:59AM PDT on Sep 30, 2012


9:55PM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

For all men everywhere - thanks.

9:49PM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

Take notice men! There seems to be lots of males with prostate problems (including my husband & our GP).

8:18PM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

Saw palmetto.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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