Forget about special elixirs, exotic berries, and wonder supplements to supercharge a man’s health. The secret to increasing mental stamina, energy, vitality, and improving health can be found at your local farmers market or food store.
Here is a list of common foods that every man can add to his shopping list to man-tain his health and wellbeing.
Cooked Tomatoes. According to the American Cancer Society, one in eight men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men and the fifth leading cause of death globally. While there is no sure way to prevent prostate cancer, reducing risk through diet and lifestyle is key.
Exercise, healthy body weight, and increasing your vegetables are especially important. New research on a compound called lycopene that is naturally found in red vegetables and fruit may reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in prostate cells. Lycopene belongs to the carotenoid family and is what gives fruits and vegetables like papaya, watermelon, and tomatoes their vibrant color. Tomatoes are one of the richest natural sources of lycopene and absorption into the body is highest when lycopene is cooked. Why not add a leafy salad and pasta with tomato sauce to your dining plans?
Walnuts. Walnuts are a fantastic source of nutrition—rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, protein, fiber, magnesium, and vitamin B6. Research shows that walnuts may improve our ability to focus and think by reducing the inflammatory load on the brain, as well as improving cognition. In the long-term, eating walnuts as part of a healthy diet may slow brain aging and reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases. The tasty nut that looks like a “brain” may also be the perfect brain food snack!
Plus, recent research found that regularly including walnuts in the diet may improve sperm health and fertility.
Oysters. Casanova used to dine on 50 oysters for breakfast. While there is no scientific evidence to support that oysters are an aphrodisiac, his zest for life might have been aided by his regular consumption of this seafood.
Oysters are low in calories, high in protein and rich in the essential nutrients—zinc, selenium, iron, copper, and vitamins D and B12. These are nutrients that support sexual health and immunity. Whether you like them raw, steamed, breaded, or in a stew, when in season, oysters are a great seafood choice.
Turkey. COVID-19 has triggered a 25 percent increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide. New research shows that diet plays a crucial role in reducing depressive symptoms by influencing pathways in the brain and our gut microbiome. Consuming a diet that contains adequate amounts of the amino acid tryptophan is one way to ensure your brain produces sufficient serotonin, described as the “happy hormone” because of its mood-enhancing effect.
So, include turkey all year round, not just at Thanksgiving. Add turkey to your lunchtime sandwich or substitute it for chicken to help boost your intake of tryptophan.
Salmon. Salmon is rich in fats known as very-long chain omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA). These fats may help to maintain heart health by improving heart rate, reducing the risk of blood clots and inflammation, and lowering HDL cholesterol. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in American men, so it’s clear that we need to be more mindful of our heart health.
The American Heart Association recommends getting two serves of fatty fish a week. Regularly including salmon in your diet is a good start. Other good sources of omega 3 fats include sardines, herring, and mackerel. Next time you broil or grill, consider your favorite fish instead of steak.
Eggs. Eggs have been vilified over the years with their association with risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. However, more recent research suggests eggs might have been a victim of the company they keep. Eggs are often served with processed meats and cheese and cooked in harmful fats.
Eggs are nutritional powerhouses containing 11 different essential vitamins and minerals. They are packed with protein, vitamin B12, monounsaturated fat, phosphorous, iodine, folate, vitamin A, and selenium. The latter may play a protective role against prostate cancer.
Eating eggs several times a week is a staple in homes across the world, and they unquestionably get this dietitian’s nod of approval. They’re so versatile, and you can have them at any time of the day. They can be boiled, scrambled, poached, served on toast, or in salads and sandwiches, and they’re a fundamental ingredient in baking. Some would say they’re pretty unbeatable.
Milk. Milk is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, particularly bone-building calcium and it’s packed with slow-releasing energy and muscle-building protein. It’s the perfect post-exercise drink as it is high in leucine, an amino acid that helps to fast-track muscle growth and recovery. Osteopenia and osteoporosis don’t only affect women, so it’s crucial that men also include a variety of calcium-rich foods in their diet. Milk and other dairy foods are the best sources of dietary calcium. So you can wear your milk mustache with pride.
Beans, legumes, and pulses. Beans and peas are called legumes when eaten fresh and pulses when used in the dried form; both are packed full of vitamins B1 and B6, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, copper, potassium, zinc, and selenium. Plus, they are low in fat, rich in fiber, and have a low glycemic-index, helping you to feel full for longer.
Studies have consistently shown that eating enough dietary fiber and consuming a variety of sources of dietary fiber can improve gut health and microbiome. Research continues to support the benefit of a diet high in dietary fiber and reduced risk of colorectal cancer. Worryingly, colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of cancer in men in America. Regularly include beans and legumes in salads, pasta sauces, soups or mash them into a hummus to boost your fiber intake. They’re also a great alternative to meat if you want to reduce your animal protein consumption.
Including some of these everyday foods may just be the solution a man needs to improve his overall health and wellbeing, as well as ward off sickness and disease. And, just as importantly, his taste buds will approve, too. Bon appetit, gentlemen.
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