Medically reviewed by Dr. Paul Song M.D
Article at a Glance
- Diet should be one of the cornerstones of treatment for CPPS.
- Looking at diet is an integral part of a whole-body approach to health.
- Many causes of CPPS stem from problems that originate outside of the prostate.
- Food allergies and intolerances are sometimes responsible for prostatitis symptoms.
You might wonder how diet can have an effect on prostatitis. It turns out that diet and nutrition are pretty important. In fact, diet should be one of the cornerstones of treatment for chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS). Examining diet is an integral part of a whole-body approach to health and wellness, especially since many causes of CP/CPPS and pelvic tension come from problems that originate outside of the prostate itself. Certain foods and allergies to foods can create reactions in your body in the form of inflammation, and this inflammation can contribute to pelvic tension and pain. That is why identifying dietary issues when diagnosing and treating CP/CPPS can help to eliminate inflammation.
Looking at diet for prostatitis is part of the whole-body “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 which foods can exacerbate your symptoms and avoid those foods. The most common foods that have been found to trigger prostatitis symptoms include:
- Spicy foods
- Hot peppers
- Alcoholic beverages
- Acidic foods
Of course other foods could be to blame, especially if you have an allergy or intolerance to certain foods. It can also be helpful to avoid foods that are generally associated with causing inflammation or pain in the body. Some common culprits include sugar, artificial sweeteners like aspartame, trans fats, mono-sodium glutamate (MSG), potatoes, eggplant, all peppers, tomatoes, and casein (dairy proteins).
Some trigger foods are associated with other conditions that commonly occur in prostatitits patients. Hot peppers derive their spiciness from capsaicin, which can increase rectal sensitivity in people with irritable bowel syndrome, a condition that is frequently found in men with CP/CPPS.
There seems to be a connection between bowel health and prostatitis. That is why eating foods rich in probiotics or taking a quality probiotic supplement is part of a prostatitis-friendly diet. Probiotics are the beneficial, or helpful, gut microflora that include bacteria and years 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). BPA is an ingredient found in many plastic products and food containers (including canned foods), that seeps into the food supply.
Having a food intolerance or food allergy may also contribute to your prostatitis symptoms. A food allergy is an immune system response, and the symptoms generally can affect the entire body. A food allergy can cause:
- abdominal pain
- itchy skin,
- shortness of breath,
- sudden drop in blood pressure, and
- difficulty swallowing.
If you have a food intolerance you may experience some similar symptoms as an allergy, but overall they are generally less dangerous. Food intolerance symptoms may be uncomfortable, but food allergy symptoms can be life threatening. Food intolerance symptoms may include:
- abdominal pain,
- irritability, and
It can be challenging to identify a food 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 above symptoms you would associate with an intolerance or allergy.
If you think that a food allergy or intolerance could be to blame for triggering your prostatitis symptoms, try following 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 and less-expensive start.
Many men find that they are better able to manage their prostatitis symptoms by going on a wheat-free diet or trying a gluten-free diet. Wheat, and a protein in wheat and certain other grains 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 healthful and nutritious diet as part of managing your prostatitis and overall health. You should avoid eating 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
- Supplements for prostatitis
Following a diet such as the Mediterranean diet can help you reduce inflammation in your body. It’s a good idea to cut back on red meat and instead choose proteins such as fish, beans, lentils, and nuts, which are all low in saturated fat and cholesterol. It is a good idea to consume foods high in zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and lycopene, but avoid acidic tomatoes or fruits if you find that they are a problem for your prostate or trigger symptoms. It is also important drink a lot water and to stay hydrated, but you should avoid sugary 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 worsen prostatitis symptoms.
Research has uncovered foods that may help improve prostatitis symptoms. Foods, common ingredients, and supplements that may help with prostate and urinary health include:
- Calcium glycerophosphate (neutralizes acidic foods)
- Docusate (softens stools)
- Psyllium (fiber),
- Polycarbophil (laxative)
- Baking soda
You may have noticed that some of the ingredients or eliminations that have helped prostatitis patients in studies also positively affect bowel health. That’s why a whole-body approach to wellness is key and why taking a daily probiotic is also an important component of a healthful diet for prostatitis. You will find that getting your diet under control and eliminating allergens or the foods that could be triggering your prostatitis symptoms is going to have positive effects on how you feel in general.