Lycopene and enlarged prostate health is on the forefront of many research studies involving the prostate gland. Lycopene, found abundantly in red or pink fruits and vegetables, may reduce the risk of developing an enlarged prostate or cancer.
The prostate is the male reproductive gland located below the bladder. When a male reaches puberty, his prostate doubles in size, to approximately the size of a walnut. When males reach their mid-twenties, the prostate may begin to grow again. The growth may be fairly slow or quick depending on the person. When the prostate gets larger it may press on the bladder or urethra.
By middle age, most men have some form of enlarged prostate which they may notice by the slow let down of urine when they urinate. According to Medline Plus, 50% of men have one or more problems associated with an enlarged prostate gland. An enlarged prostate is referred to as benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH. Just because the prostate is enlarged, does not mean you have prostate cancer, but it can be a symptom of it.
Symptoms of an Enlarged Prostate
- Inability to urinate
- Dribbling at the end of urination
- Not able to fully empty bladder
- Getting up two or more times at night to urinate
- Pain with urinating
- Bloody urine
- Slow start of urinating
- Strong urge to urinate
- Low urine stream
What is Lycopene?
Lycopene is an antioxidant in the carotenoid family mostly found in red and pink fruits and also in vegetables, but found in other food items as well. Antioxidants slow down free radicals and the damaging effects of cell aging and oxidation. Free radical cell oxidation may lead to cancer. Studies indicate that lycopene suppresses the growth of tumors. This why taking lycopene and enlarged prostate health is so important for males over the age of 25. There is no recommended daily allowance of lycopene at this time, but it is suggested that adults need approximately five to 10 milligrams per day.
Foods containing lycopene include:
- Pink Grapefruit
- Red peppers
- Baked red beans
- Tomato Juices
- Red cabbage
Lycopene and Enlarged Prostate Health
Recent studies have suggested that lycopene could be effective in preventing prostate cancer. Lycopene and enlarged prostate health is a serious consideration for men as early as age 25 when the prostate starts to enlarge. Lycopene is the most powerful antioxidant. A study at Harvard University found that men who ate two servings of tomato sauce a week, which contains significant amounts of lycopene, had a 23 percent lower prostate cancer risk.
Changing Eating Habits For a Healthier Prostate
The Cancer Prevention and Survival Project suggests that prostate health is strongly influenced by the foods you eat. Heavy red meat consumption triples the risk of prostate enlargement, while eating fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants such as lycopene lowers the risk. Eating tomato sauce, pizza sauce, and catsup provide just as much lycopene as fresh fruits and vegetables. The heat when cooking tomatoes to make them into a sauce releases more lycopene from the plants cells so your body can absorb it more easily.
Lycopene for Health
Including more lycopene in your diet will help both men and women due to its strong anti-oxidant properties. Lycopene may reduce the risk of the following diseases according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Heart disease
- Breast Cancer
- Other cancers
- Eye disorders
- High blood pressure
- Male infertility