We all know that a healthy diet makes you look better and feel better, but it’s also your first line of defense in the fight against just about anything that can ail you—including male incontinence.
If that sounds like a stretch, allow us to explain. Incontinence is often caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which basically just means an enlarged prostate. As the prostate enlarges, it can squeeze the urethra and affect normal urinary function. Prostate cancer can also lead to incontinence.
The bottom line? Eating healthy can work in several different ways to support your urinary system. Here are five foods you’ll want to get more of.
• Berries. Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries are all high in vitamin C, as well as the powerful antioxidants that are so good to our bodies. So how exactly does that help? Antioxidants are cancer fighters and there is some evidence that vitamin C can also ease the symptoms of an enlarged prostate by promoting urination and reducing swelling. Bell peppers are also high in vitamin C.
• Nuts. Brazil nuts are chock full of selenium. Pistachios can lower cholesterol. Almonds promote weight loss. Nuts are also a great source of antioxidants. Research keeps showing us the many health benefits of nuts and how they all work together to keep you—and your prostate—healthier.
• Tomatoes. Both cooked and raw tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that research says may help prevent prostate cancer. While raw tomatoes are certainly good for you, cooked tomato products contain higher levels of lycopene.
• Whole Grains. Incontinence can flare up when you’re constipated. Making sure you have enough fiber in your diet can help you stay regular. Being low carb or Paleo is no excuse. You don’t have to eat bread, but make sure to get your share of leafy greens, root vegetables and gluten-free grains like quinoa.
• Cruciferous Vegetables. Veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale and cooked cabbage were all found to be protective against BPH, according to the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study done by the Harvard School of Public Health.
With that said, there are also certain foods (and drinks) that may be beneficial to avoid. Many people find it helpful to cut back on alcohol and caffeine—and also to watch their water consumption, especially around bedtime.
Other people find that spicy foods, like chili and Mexican dishes, can irritate the lining of their bladder.
Lastly, some people are bothered by acidic foods like citrus and tomatoes. If you’re thinking that you just read that tomatoes are good for you, you’re right. They are good for you, but they can also be irritating for some people.
Diet and lifestyle changes are a great first step to take if you’re concerned about incontinence or the health of your prostate. Sometimes, however, they are not enough. The good news is that there are many new, minimally invasive treatments that can reverse male incontinence caused by an enlarged prostate.
It’s estimated that between 11 and 34 percent of older men struggle with some form of urinary incontinence. And the first step in treating it is to find out exactly what’s causing it. The answer—and solution—may be far simpler than you think. Download our free guide today on male incontinence to take the first step in improving your health and your quality of life.