Diet for Prostatitis
Diet should be one of the cornerstones of treatment for chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS). Examining your diet is part of a whole-body approach to your health, especially since many causes of CP/CPPS and pelvic tension stem from problems that take place outside of the prostate. Certain foods and allergies to foods can create reactions in your body in the form of inflammation, and this can contribute to pelvic tension and pain. That is why looking at diet when diagnosing and treating CP/CPPS can help to eliminate inflammation.
Diet for prostatitis is part of the NPAT treatment program for CP/CPPS. NPAT stands for:
- Natural treatments (ALCAT, elimination diets, and wheat-free diets)
- Phytotherapy (pollen and quercetin together with probiotics)
- Alternative Treatments (acupuncture, prostate massage, pelvic rehabilitation and therapy)
- Total body (exercise, chronic stress management, lifestyle)
It is important for you to figure out and avoid foods that can exacerbate your symptoms. Common foods that have been found to exacerbate prostatitis symptoms include the following:
- Spicy foods
- Hot peppers
- Alcoholic beverages
- Acidic foods
Hot peppers derive their spiciness from capsaicin, which can increase rectal sensitivity in people with irritable bowel syndrome, a condition frequently found in men with CP/CPPS. Read more on Foods to Avoid.
Bowel health and prostatitis seem to be connected. That is why eating foods containing probiotics or taking quality probiotic supplements is part of a healthy diet for prostatitis. Probiotics are the beneficial, or helpful, gut microflora and include bacteria that normally reside in balance with other bacteria in the intestinal tract.
Other dietary causes of prostatitis could be related to a zinc deficiency or environmental pollutants like BPA (bisphenol-A), an ingredient in many plastic products and food containers such as canned foods, that seeps into the food supply.
Food intolerance or food allergies can also contribute to prostatitis. The symptoms of a food intolerance or allergy may include vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, or abdominal pain. If you have a food intolerance you may also experience gas, bloating, headache, cramps, irritability, and nervousness. A food allergy is an immune system response, and the symptoms generally can affect the entire body. In addition to the symptoms already named, a food allergy can cause hives, itchy skin, shortness of breath, a sudden drop in blood pressure, and difficulty swallowing. Food intolerance symptoms can be uncomfortable, but food allergy symptoms can be life threatening.
It can be challenging to identify an allergy or food intolerance. You may not react to a particular food for a few hours or even days. Your reaction may be a worsening of prostatitis symptoms instead of the common symptoms you would associate with an intolerance or allergy.
If you think that a food allergy or intolerance could be contributing to your prostatitis symptoms, try an elimination diet or consider undergoing allergy testing. Some tests like the ALCAT test do throw out false positives and can be costly, so trying an elimination diet might be a good start.
Many men find that going on a wheat-free diet or trying a gluten-free diet can help them manage their prostatitis symptoms. Wheat and a protein in wheat called gluten can cause inflammation, which can damage the body and cause illness. A gluten-free diet avoids barley, malt, triticale, and wheat.
In general, it is important to eat a healthy diet as part of managing your prostatitis. Avoid foods that commonly are associated with triggering prostatitis and try to include plenty of whole and natural foods such as the following:
- Vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables
- Fruits (but avoid acidic fruits if they affect your prostatitis)
- High-quality protein (plant protein is better than animal)
- Foods high in zinc or zinc supplements
- Omega-3 fatty acids and healthy fats found in the Mediterranean diet
- Foods high in fiber
Following the Mediterranean diet can help you reduce inflammation in your body. Reduce the red meat you eat and instead opt for fish, beans, lentils, and nuts, which are all low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Eat foods high in zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and lycopene, but if acidic tomatoes or fruits are a problem for your prostate try eliminating them. It is important to stay well hydrated with water, but you should avoid drinks like soda and caffeinated coffee or tea, which have been shown to exacerbate prostatitis symptoms. You should also limit or avoid alcohol, which can make symptoms worse.
Studies have shown that certain foods may help improve prostatitis symptoms. Foods and supplements that may help with prostate and urinary health include the following:
- Calcium glycerophosphate (neutralizes acidic foods)
- Docusate (softens stools)
- Psyllium (fiber), polycarbophil (laxative)
- Baking soda
As you can see, some of the things that have helped prostatitis patients in studies also affect bowel health, which is why daily use of probiotics is also key when considering diet for prostatitis. By getting your diet under control and eliminating foods that could be causing your prostatitis symptoms, you are going to feel a lot better as a whole.
Generally following a diet like the Mediterranean diet will help reduce inflammation and promote healthy bacteria and immunity. The Mediterranean diet also has many other benefits for heart, prostate, and general health. Try and limit alcohol to 1-2 glasses a day. Any more than that has been shown to negatively affect prostate health. Eat organic as much as possible within your budget. Make it a point of getting regular exercise to keep your weight under control as that will also help reduce inflammation.