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Can Fasting Shrink an Enlarged Prostate?
Fasting is extremely beneficial if done properly. Apart from supporting weight loss, fasting decreases inflammation and tumor growth, enhances stem cell production, promotes autophagy, helps regrow brain cells, and so much more.
Every organ in our body benefits from fasting, and the prostate is one of them. It is a small walnut-sized gland that surrounds the urethra, the tube through which urine passes out of the body.
With age, one out of two men experiences an enlarged prostate, otherwise known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Can fasting shrink your prostate? Can it reverse enlarged prostate? For this and more, keep reading.
How to Identify an Enlarged Prostate
As the prostate grows, it wraps around the urethra, making urination difficult. The bigger it gets, the greater the complications. An enlarged prostate can cause constriction of the urethra and pressure on the bladder.
This leads to a host of lower urinary tract signs and symptoms, including:
A slow urinary streamDifficulty in starting urinationA feeling of incomplete bladder emptying even after peeingFrequent urinationUrgency to urinateStraining while urinatingUrinary leakage
Can an Enlarged Prostate Be Identified at Home?
The aberration in your urinary pattern can certainly alert you to a potentially enlarged prostate. However, to diagnose BPH, you should go for any of the following:
Digital rectal examUrine testBlood testProstate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test
Depending on the reports, your doc will advise more tests like urinary flow test and transrectal ultrasound. For the prostate blood tests, fasting is not needed, nor is there a restriction on foods or beverages.
The Effects of Fasting on an Enlarged Prostate
When we speak about enlarged prostate, it really is the play of the hormones. Hormones that are significant players in the cell multiplication of your prostate glands are:
Insulin, insulin-like growth factors (IGFs), diabetes, and obesity are risk factors in BPH development (1). If you keep them controlled, you can help control the growth or even shrink it—and in some cases reverse the whole process. Fasting is a diet choice that does it all.
In one study, it was shown that eight days of water-only fasting promoted favorable changes in the functioning of the urogenital system and resulted in a reduction in the prostate's volume (2).
Many studies have shown a positive effect of fasting on prostate cancer as well. Consumption of sugar was associated with increased overall prostate cancer risk (3). Therefore, a no-carb no-sugar diet, low-carb diet, keto diet, and fasting are highly recommended.
Keto diet and enlarged prostate have an inverse relationship. As hyperinsulinemia is the driving force in BPH (4), keeping it controlled with fasting is one of the best solutions.
Foods that Help Shrink the Prostate
Can you shrink your prostate with diet? If so, what foods help shrink the prostate?
Foods that help reduce the size of the prostate are:
Saw palmetto has been shown to prevent tumor cells from growing, help ease inflammation, and help shrink the enlarged gland.
Stinging nettle root
It helps reduce obstruction to the urinary flow and decrease the frequency of urination (5).
Green tea contains potent antioxidants that can not only help prevent prostate cancer from forming but also slow its growth. It also benefits men with prostatitis (6).
Maca roots and cruciferous vegetables
These are powerful aromatase inhibitors. The latter is an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen in the body, which can help reduce the estrogen levels in your blood. High estrogen is the biggest cause of BPH.
Vitamin C-rich foods
Fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C can prevent the risk of an enlarged prostate.
Sesame seeds have a high concentration of zinc that can help shrink prostate size. Other foods are almonds, adzuki beans, and pumpkin seeds with high zinc concentrations.
Studies have stated that lycopene, a plant pigment, is supportive in preventing and controlling BPH and prostate cancer. It can also lower prostate inflammation. Examples include tomatoes, watermelon, papaya, pink grapefruit, and apricots.
Foods to Avoid
The foods you must avoid with an enlarged prostate are:
CaffeineAlcoholProcessed meats such as sausage and salamiDairySoy foodsRed meatChocolates
Sugar is another ingredient that you should avoid as it can cause high insulin that can result in BPH. Sugar and prostatitis also have a direct connection as sugar worsens inflammation.
Are There Side Effects of Fasting With an Enlarged Prostate?
There is no evidence of any specific side effect of fasting on the prostate. However, fasting, in general, may cause muscle loss, dehydration, fluctuation in blood pressure and blood sugar, and a variety of health conditions if not done properly.