Data came from more than 32,000 male health care workers enrolled in a
long-term health study that began in 1986.
When the study started, the men were 46-70 years old (average age: 51).
The men completed diet surveys that asked how often they ate 131 foods,
including various fruits and vegetables.
The men also reported their age, weight, ethnicity, physical activity,
smoking, drinking, and medical history at the beginning of the study. They
updated their medical information every two years.
Starting in 1992, the men noted any surgeries or symptoms of noncancerous
By 2000, a total of 6,092 men had had surgery or moderate to high symptoms
of urinary problems associated with BPH.
Fewer With Enlarged Prostate
The 1986 diet survey shows the men's fruit and vegetable consumption ranged
from a low of nearly three daily servings to a high of almost 10.
When the researchers took a closer look at the data, they found that high
consumption of vegetables -- but not fruit -- seemed particularly beneficial
The men who consumed the most vegetables were 11% less likely to have BPH
surgery or moderate to high BPH symptoms by 2000, the study shows.
In addition, certain antioxidants – beta-carotene, lutein, and vitamin C --
were associated with reduced risk of BPH. But those antioxidants had to come
from fruits and vegetables, not supplements, according to the study.
The study doesn't prove that vegetables single-handedly reduced men's odds
of developing BPH.
But the results held when the researchers adjusted for other factors that
might affect the men's odds of developing the problem.