Prostate enlargement is found in 50 percent of American men in their sixties, and up to 90 percent of men in their seventies and eighties. Worse, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death by cancer in men, with about 80 percent of all cases of prostate cancer occurring in men over sixty-five. Even though the prostate seems to be an older man’s health problem, these imbalances begin much earlier in life. The good news is that most prostate problems can be prevented by making simple lifestyle and dietary changes to restore balance.
Symptoms of Prostate Enlargement or Imbalance
Excessive urination at night, a weak urine stream, stopping and starting while urinating, a feeling that the bladder is never empty, difficulty in starting to urinate, and dribbling at the end of urination. If a man has these symptoms, he should consult his doctor immediately. Often, when the symptoms are mild, the physician will say, “Wait and watch.” Actually, from an Ayurvedic perspective, this is the perfect time to see advice as there is still an opportunity to correct the imbalances that have caused the problem in the first place. Of course, aging is the main etiological factor, or cause of the problem, however, Ayurveda also identifies the lifestyle or dietary factors that act as a trigger, and if unchecked, can turn a mild problem into a serious one.
Causes of Prostate Issues
One is overuse of Shukra Dhatu, or overuse of the sexual organs. Another is lack of adequate fluids in the body, due to not drinking enough water during the day. Habitually suppressing the natural urge to urinate also can, over time, cause the urine to become more concentrated and, in turn, irritates the prostate.
Alcohol or caffeinated beverages can also cause an imbalance. Another cause is taking too many over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants. These can cause the muscle that controls urine flow to tighten, making urination difficult.
One’s job can be a source of imbalance. Sitting for long periods of time without taking a break or stretching, can create an imbalance in the reproductive area of the body. Not getting daily exercise, or eating a diet that creates impurities (ama) in the body, are other causes of prostate problems.
Finally, if you don’t have a healthy daily routine, for instance if you watch TV late at night or for other reasons don’t sleep enough, or if you don’t eat meals on time or your routine is very irregular can cause ama to build up and disturb the immune system.
Ama is a sticky impurity that is created when digestion is weak and food is not digested completely. The aging process can also weaken digestion, however, typically the increase in ama, as mentioned before, is created by the poor dietary and lifestyle habits such as eating foods that are old and heavy, or eating meals at irregular times of the day. These types of foods, allows ama to eventually mix with nutrient fluid (Rasa Dhatu) and even the blood (Rakta Dhatu) which can overload the urine, the body’s purification system. Over time, this becomes a fertile ground for bacteria, and can create additional problems of urinary tract infections, which also impact the prostate. Weakened immunity also creates a problem for the prostate. Eating a diet high in processed foods and sugar weakens the immune system as well as lack of 7-8 hours of sleep. Stress can also have an impact on Prostate health. Overuse of the mind can also create problems.
Right Diet and Lifestyles
We are all uniquely made, therefore, we need to understand the right diet and lifestyles to maintain proper health and balance. Some general recommendations are as follows:
- Favor a diet of warm, cooked, easily-digestible, light-yet-nourishing foods is best. Organic vegetables cooked in mild spices, whole grains, light proteins such as mung dhal soups, and sweet, juicy fruits will nourish the body.
- Cooking with mild spices that improve digestion, burn away ama, but don’t create heat in the blood tissue include a mixture of fennel, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, and small amounts of turmeric. Small amounts of black pepper and small amounts of fresh ginger also are healthy for maintaining prostate health and balance. Most of us know by now that turmeric is seen as anti-inflammatory, and intensifies the anti-cancer activity of other phytonutrients. Ginger and turmeric both have been found to have cancer-preventing qualities. Turmeric is one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants, and has more DNA-protective qualities than Vitamin E and beta carotene.
- Black pepper is another common spice whose effects in the diet have been well documented. Research published in Cancer Letter in the August 16, 1993 issue reported that 20 days after adding black pepper to the diet, the subjects’ liver detoxification systems were strengthened, aiding in purification of the blood tissue and enhancing the overall immune system.
- Squashes cooked with these mild spices are excellent for prostate health. The best squashes for prostate health are the types that are white inside, such as zucchini.
- Asparagus is another vegetable that is recommended, because it helps support balanced hormones. Daikon is a mild type of white radish root that purifies the urine. Because it is spicy, it should be cooked with other vegetables more as a seasoning than as the main vegetable. You could combine it with squashes such as zucchini, or shred it and add it to mung dhal soup.
- Light dairy products such as milk, lassi (a drink made with one part freshly-made yogurt and three parts water), and occasional fresh cheeses such as panir or cottage cheese should be included in the diet, but avoid the hard-to-digest aged cheeses, such as Monterey Jack, mozzarella, cheddar, brie, blue cheese, and Gruyère.
- Quinoa is an excellent grain as it is rich in zinc. Zinc supports seminal health, and because seminal health and prostate health are connected, zinc also supports prostate health.
- Favor whole, fresh foods as much as possible. Canned, frozen, packaged and processed foods, as well as leftovers are known as lifeless foods and are hard to digest. Lifeless, hard to digest foods increase ama.
Daily routines help to remove ama, keep hormones balanced and aide in digestion. Some Ayurvedic daily routine recommendations include:
- Eat meals at the same time every day.
- Eat your largest meal at lunch time when the sun is highest in the sky, which is when your digestive fire is strongest.
- Take time to eat nourishing, appetizing meals. Eating on the run increases ama and harms digestion.
- Be sure to exercise regularly, and be sure that the exercise you choose is suitable for your age and body type.
- Daily ayurvedic massage, called abhyanga, is another important part of the daily routine. You can do it in the morning to help improve circulation and digestion, remove ama from the body, tone the muscles, and increase energy. Use warm oil such as sesame, coconut, and/or almond.
- Avoid too much mental pressure, such as a job that requires you to work long hours. Turn all blue light devices off no later than 9:00 p.m.
- Take time to enjoy life, and to maintain healthy relationships with your family and friends.
- Meditation helps to reduce stress, increase inner happiness and balances the mind, body, emotions which helps to eliminate mental and physical ama. This doesn’t mean that you have to sit for hours. Simple steps to begin a meditation practice:
- Sit in a warm, quiet place.
- Close your eyes and begin to focus on your breath.
- Every time your mind begins to wonder, come back to your breath.
So, whether you have symptoms of prostate irregularity or just want to avoid having any problems, adopting these recommendations will be taking a giant step toward overall health, not just for a man’s prostate. These changes won’t happen overnight, so be patient. Studies show that it takes at least 90 days to create a habit. Meeting with a Registered Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant who can guide you in a personal dietary and lifestyle program to restore balance to the prostate and your mind, body and emotions is recommended.
The sole purpose of this article is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively.
Ever wonder what the big hype is about cleansing? The number one reason why we cleanse is – Toxins. So what are toxins? Dr. John Douillard says this about toxins:“ Some of the pollutant molecules we are exposed to are fat-soluble, while others are water-soluble. Our bodies are pretty good at detoxing water-soluble toxins. The kidneys typically ﬂush them out with our liquid waste.
Fat-soluble toxins are trickier and require multiple phases of detoxiﬁcation by the liver. Often the liver is already overwhelmed and diverts these fat-soluble toxins into the blood. Since they are lipophilic – meaning attracted to other fats – they pick fat cells around your belly, hips or even your brain to bind to and store in – in some cases for decades.
All cleanses hope to pull toxins out of the fat cells. The question is: where do the toxins go from there? The body stores toxins in the fat when it cannot digest and process them properly. If you do not reset your digestive strength before you cleanse, you risk just moving the toxins from one fat cell to another and feeling worse.
Toxins come from a variety of sources:
- Man-made chemicals (mercury filling, pesticides, fluoride, etc)
- 90% of toxins come from our own body/mind/Spirit
- Bacteria=fungus, yeast, respiratory infections
- Sickness or injury
- Emotional (Trauma or Beliefs or attitudes)
- Undigested food (gas/bloating/constipation)
- Too much sugar, fat, alcohol, smoking, drugs, food allergies.
- Seasonal changes – changes in the temperature
We all have toxins in our bodies. In Ayurvedia, we call toxins AMA. Chronic toxins get stuck and clog the lymph and blood, adhere to the GI tract which all creates an increase of bacteria and fungus which then flourish and create more toxins in our bodies. Basically, these bacteria are eliminating in our bodies leaving behind more toxins. Okay, gross I know, but TRUE. Some of the signs of chronic toxicity would be:
- Smelly breath, sweat, feet, gas
- Constipation or Mucus in the stool
- Acnes, rashes or eczema
- Distorted tastes
- Ear wax
- Coating on the tongue (AMA)
- Puffy skin, especially red puffy skin
- Heaviness in the body or mind
- Foggy thinking
- Decrease appetite
Various ways to cleanse toxins from our body:
- Skin = exercise/sweat
- Intestinal tract = laxatives, cleanse, colonics, herbs
- Urine = diuretics (such as dandelion, celery and parsley)
- Lymphatic System = sweat, lymphatic massage either self of from a professional, hot bath, warm water (dilates blood vessels and stimulates digestive tract), ginger, cumin turmeric tea,
- Elimination diet (Seasonal Cleanse)
- Oil pulling
- Heavy metals = Chelation Therapy
- PunchaKarma which is a more advanced Ayurvedic practice
Lastly, we can store emotional toxins mentally and Spiritually. All beliefs are toxic. Many are sacred and holy but sometimes attitudes and beliefs creep into our psyche. Beliefs that we think are good but turn out to be faulty. Beliefs are the way we interpret and react to certain situations. They can become hard coded responses instead of approaching a situation with new response we have a predetermined response to certain situations. This could be helpful or hurt us. So, we want to cleanse these mental/emotional/Spiritual beliefs as well. Every belief you have is a part of your identity. We need to recognize those limitations of those toxic beliefs.
Ayurveda isn’t about taking a pill or herb to solve a problem it’s about identifying our weaknesses and signs and symptoms and working from a place of Whole Body Wellness. I want to not only coach you through the 14-day cleansing process, but also coach you through lifestyle and dietary habits that will take you beyond the 14 days into deeper, longer lasting healing. We can’t just cleanse every time we feel bad and then go back to our poor habits. We need to start developing healthier habits for a life time.
Go to Renew for more information on the Fall Cleanse
The Ayurvedic cleanse is an ancient process that helps to gently nourish the deep tissues and guide the body into burning old, stored fat-soluble toxins. It resets the digestive system with seasonal food and daily practices. The cleanse sets the stage for the body to naturally and gradually let go of the toxins that could affect emotions, mental clarity and the immune system. When we detox or cleanse, we reset our digestive system which can help alleviate seasonal allergies, symptoms from auto-immune diseases, and food allergies just to name a few..
As the temperatures cool, the body prepares to release excess fire and water elements that accumulated during the hot weather. The dry winds of fall can stir up the fire element and cause compromised immunity, inflammation, acidic digestion, skin problems, allergies, and a short temper. An Ayurvedic fall cleanse is anywhere from a four-fourteen-day process performed around later September-early November, and helps to assist the body in its natural release of hot, sharp, oily qualities. This is particularly important because during the summer months we’re more likely to accumulate too much internal heat which will begin to dry out the skin from the inside out. Basically, from the intestinal wall all the way out to the outer dermis. The organs cannot do their job well when they are dehydrated. Dry skin, on the inside and out, leaves cracks and openings for bacteria, viruses and the like. Then if you move into the season of dryness, Autumn (when all the leaves are drying up and falling off the trees), you are going to be hit exponentially harder with the draining aging effects of deep dehydration. A fall cleanse bolsters the immune system during cold and flu season and improves digestion.
Ayurvedic cleanses are based on a mono diet consisting of whole foods and is generally safer than most cleanses. The purpose of cleansing is to move out long standing imbalances. Therefore, cleanses can sometimes be exhausting, emotionally challenging and physically uncomfortable. During the cleanse, you’ll want to eliminate as much stress as possible. Keeping your schedule lighter than normal is important. It’s important that you take time to prepare for your cleanse by purchasing all your food items, set your intentions for the cleanse and begin to meditate and/or journal on the process. This is NOT a starvation diet. It’s important that your body feels supported during the cleanse. If you’re feeling starved, you might need to increase what you’re eating for lunch or add protein. When the body feels depleted it triggers a stress response and sends the body into emergency mode.
- Start the day with warm lemon water; no caffeine.
- Eat a monodiet of Kitchari, made with fall vegetables.
- Eat three sit-down meals each day. Those with blood sugar inconsistencies or lighter individuals may need four meals a day. But typically, no snacking in between.
- Drink 6 ounces of hot warm with meals and/or sip from a thermos through the day. Or a fall digestive tea consisting of 2 cups water, ¼ inch fresh gingerroot, ½ tsp fennel seeds, ½ tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp licorice root powder o4 2 tsp chopped licorice root. Bring water to boil, add ingredients and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Daily oil massage.
- Restorative yoga practice,
- Make sure your getting to bed early and take naps if you need to.
Ayurveda isn’t about taking a pill or herb to solve a problem it’s about identifying our weaknesses and signs and symptoms and working from a place of Whole Body Wellness. It’s important to not just cleanse every time we feel bad and then go back to our poor habits. Developing good lifestyle habits and seasonal eating are important for maintaining good health all year long. Modern day science is now starting to like good lifestyle habits just as important as diet when it comes to disease prevention such as Alzheimer’s, auto-immune diseases, cancer, etc. Ayurveda is all about healthy lifestyle habits.
Has your world been challenged by the need to eliminate certain foods from your diet? Go out to eat with anyone today and you’ll hear things like; “I can’t have that”, or maybe that’s you. I’ve been there, and I get your frustration. I remember the day when my provider told me to go gluten, wheat, dairy, and sugar free. I remember sitting at the book store looking at cookbooks trying to figure out how to cook. I love food and I love to cook, but this change challenged me. I had no idea where to begin or what to do. Fast forward 6 years and I figured it out. I can now enjoy all these things again because I treated my digestive health and made some lifestyle changes.
Unfortunately, we’ve succumb to the new age of The Elimination Diet. While it’s important to eliminate foods that are creating distress in the body, it seems as though we’ve missed the boat on treating the underlying root cause of the issue at hand. As I begin to work with client’s through my Digestive Health Coaching service, I hear more about foods being eliminated, but less about the understanding of why or how to treat the cause. Probiotics and digestive enzymes are great alternatives, but still do not treat the underlying root cause. I also hear about the different diet’s out there such as Paleo, Mediterranean or Ketogenic. While these can prove good results, what is your reasoning for going on the diet? I’ve seen some of these diets work for a short period of time, but some can aggravate the digestive system when done during certain times of the year. Take for instance the Paleo diet. If someone has what Ayurveda calls a Pitta body type, this means they have more heat in the body. A Paleo diet in the summer can be aggravating to their system as animal proteins or tomatoes are harder for a Pitta body type to digest in the hot summer months. Learning your specific body type and seasonal eating is critical to proper digestion and part of the Ayurvedic lifestyle.
According to the New York Times, food allergies have doubled in the last ten years. It begs the question; “What is going wrong”? Our bodies are becoming more delicate or perhaps our immune system is becoming a little bit more aggressive. Take for instance a wheat intolerance vs wheat allergy. An intolerance is an inability to digest wheat which will cause signs and symptoms of indigestion such as gas, bloating and/or constipation, nausea, or loose stools. There could be smelly gas or burping, some cramping in the abdomen. A wheat allergy is a specific type of intolerance. It means that the immune system gets activated and that the body cannot tolerate any contact with wheat. Basically, your immune system thinks it’s under attack and mounts a counter attack. This type of intolerance is caused by digestive enzymes that have lost their oomph to process wheat. The war creates a lot of inflammation and actually damages the intestines. In particular the small intestines. The small intestines are lined with little villi that are finger-like hairs. These hairs increase the surface area of the intestines so that you can easily absorb nutrients, vitamins, sugar, fat and proteins. Without these villi, or when they become damaged, the food can’t get into the blood, which creates malabsorption, which is known as Leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut syndrome is when the food we eat easily passes through the gut, affecting the guts ability to effectively select the right nutrients from the small intestine. Food particles now enter into the bloodstream where the immune system then becomes radically overexposed to anything we eat. In an allergic situation a single teaspoon or bite of the food can cause a reaction such as eczema, hives or angioedema where your lips, face, and/or hands swell. You could also have hay fever, seasonal allergies, abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, rheumatoid arthritis or migraines. Or even a more severe symptom of feeling like your throat is closing. Any time we eliminate food from our diet we need to ask; “is it a sign of a weakened digestive system”? If you do have a food sensitivity or allergy, you definitely want to first remove the allergen from your diet. Secondly, you want to calm the immune system by detoxing the intestines. Eating cooling, astringent, anti-inflammatory herbs like aloe vera, pomegranate juice, cranberry juice, and cooked cabbage. Marshmallow root is a demulcent that can coat your intestines and sooth them. Fennel, cardamom, and licorice root are good digestives when there is inflammation in the digestive tract. Eating leafy greens such as cooked kale, or foods high in beta carotene like blueberries, carrots, and beets will help heal the liver. Toxicity that builds up in the body affects the liver. Entering into a gentle cleanse helps to rebuild digestion. Lifestyle changes are important too, such as, getting to bed by 10 p.m. and reducing as much stress in your life as possible.
The type of allergy or sensitivity is very specific to our unique make up, as is how we bring balance back into the body so we can enjoy the foods we love to eat. All of this takes time. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 406/600-7267 for your initial Digestive Wellness Coaching session. These sessions can be held remotely via video conference calls as well.
Those with celiac disease should avoid gluten, and those with severe and/or life-threatening allergies to dairy should avoid dairy, etc. If you have one of these conditions, please follow the instructions of your primary care physician.
Did you know that a Sun Salutation, a series of yoga poses linked together, has digestive health benefits? The diaphragm, which is where the rib cage meets the abdomen, is a muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdomen and regulates breathing depth and patterns. Ideally, your stomach should hang underneath the diaphragm, however, stress, shallow mouth breathing, lack of exercise, and indigestion can begin to tighten the stomach and pull it upwards. In Ayurveda, this is also known as a Vata imbalance. The elements of Vata are air and ether with the qualities of dry, light, cold, mobile, rough, and clear. Therefore, whenever an individual has upward movement of energy or upward moving pressure, it would be considered part of a Vata imbalance. Symptoms of upward moving energy would be constant belching, heartburn, acid reflux.
There is also a sphincter called the lower esophageal sphincter. The esophagus travels through the diaphragm, however, it is at this juncture where the lower esophageal sphincter opens and closes to allow food through and keeps digestive acids from refluxing up into the esophagus. If the stomach begins to adhere to the underside of the diaphragm, it can begin to compromise the total function of the stomach. This creates the upward movement of acid and causes the diaphragm to tighten. When this happens, the stomach is unable to contract and produce acid it needs to digest hard to digest foods such as wheat, dairy, and fried foods.
So how does the yoga sequence called Sun Salutation help with digestion? A sun salutation provides flexion and extension during a series of postures that are coordinated with each nasal inhalation and exhalation. The extension, or back bending, postures move the rib cage up and back while the diaphragm pulls the lower chest and abdomen down and in giving a deep stretch to the diaphragm, heart and lungs. The abdomen, stomach and liver are pulled down creating more space under the diaphragm for optimal digestion and freedom for deep breathing. The flexion, or forward bending postures all for brings the rib cage and abdomen together. At this point the diaphragm is relaxing and the rib cage squeezes the lungs in an effort to exhale, it’s like an accordion bringing the rib cage and abdomen together. The tissues and organ around the diaphragm soften allowing for increased blood flow.
Click here to view a short video on two variations of Sun Salutations.
Hope you enjoy adding a few Sun Salutations into your daily routine.