THE AYURVEDIC VIEW ON PROSTATE HEALTH:
Maintaining Prostate Health
At age 55, John felt that he was in peak condition. He didn't think it
was unusual that he often had get up in the night to urinate, and that
urination was more frequent during the day, with reduced speed and flow.
A year later, when his symptoms worsened, John paid a visit to his
doctor and was told that he had benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH): an
enlarged prostate gland. John suddenly faced a choice between taking
drugs-with dizziness, headaches, fatigue, and reduced sexual drive and
performance as side effects -- and surgery, with a high risk for
complications and a possible negative impact on the quality of his life.
The bad news is that 75-80 percent of American men develop prostate
problems some time during their lifetime and face similar hard choices.
Fortunately, there are measures men can take to help avoid that
The Ayurvedic View
Every person goes through three stages of life, called kalas in
ayurveda, each associated with one of the three doshas-ayurvedic
operators that govern all the activities of the mind and body. In the
Kapha stage (childhood and young adulthood), qualities of Kapha dosha
predominate; in the Pitta stage (adulthood), Pitta dosha is dominant;
and in mature adulthood and beyond, the Vata stage of life occurs.
"Prostate enlargement is a transitional health problem that can
occur when a man is going from the Pitta stage of life to the Vata stage
of life, which takes place from 50 to 60 years of age," says Vaidya
R.K. Mishra, Director of Research at Maharishi Ayurveda Products
International, Inc. "The dry, fluctuating qualities of Vata dosha
cause testosterone production to fluctuate, and this in turn can cause
enlargement of the prostate and other prostate problems." In
addition, the drying, fluctuating effect of Vata reduces the prostate's
production of a thin, milky, alkaline bodily fluid that increases sperm
mobility, lubricates the urethra, and prevents infection. Thus bacterial
infections of the prostate often occur at this age (or at any age when
Vata dosha is out of balance).
Enhancing Prostate Health
"Because prostate enlargement is caused by an imbalance in Vata
dosha, it's important to avoid Vata-aggravating foods," says Vaidya
Mishra. These include dry, cold, and light foods and bitter, astringent,
and pungent tastes. Instead, favor the Vata-pacifying diet, which
includes sweet, sour, and salty tastes and warm, oily foods. Proteins
are important for prostate health. Quinoa and amaranth are high-protein
grains that also have high zinc content, and thus both strengthen the
prostate. The link between zinc and prostate health has been recognized
by the American Medical Association. "Certain spices, such as
cumin, improve absorption and assimilation, enhance digestion and
eliminate impurities (ama)," says Vaidya Mishra. Fenugreek boosts
fat and sugar metabolism, keeps the fat and blood tissues ama-free, and
strengthens the immune system. Coriander is known for removing toxins
from the body through the urine. It also keeps the urine free of ama,
and thus helps prevent prostate infection. Turmeric is a well-known
anti-inflammatory, helping to relieve pain and modulate the immune
system. As the most effective antioxidant spice, turmeric has a
cholesterol-lowering effect. And fennel helps balance hormonal levels.
Vegetables can also help. "Asparagus helps balance testosterone
levels, and dikon radish helps purify the urine and improves flow,"
says Vaidya Mishra. Anything that aggravates Vata dosha -- too much
stress, staying awake past 10:00 p.m., and rushing around during the day
-- should be avoided. Starting the day with an ayurvedic oil massage
(abhyanga) is one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to balance Vata
dosha. "Too much continuous sitting can also cause imbalances in
the prostate, so plan to take a short walk every hour or so if your job
is sedentary," advises Vaidya Mishra. It's also wise to keep the
elimination balanced by drinking more water, eating more vegetables and
adding fiber to the diet, such as psyllium seed husks.
Note : This ayurvedic information is educational and is not intended
to replace standard medical care or advice. Copyright MAPI, 2002.
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