Men and women differ immensely in every aspect – physical, biological or psychological. For the same reason, the nutritional needs of men are entirely different from that of women. As women need specific nutrients during pregnancy, men require nutrients that can help them maintain healthy muscle mass and prevent diseases such as prostate cancer.
Foods which stand as the favorites of most men are unfortunately not the best choices for their health. Statistics show that most number of deaths of men over 35 years of age happen because of either heart disease or cancer. However, a balanced diet and regular exercise can help prevent these monster killers.
To understand the nutritional needs of men, here is a list of 10 foods that can be the perfect start for your journey to optimal health:
Also called the food of love, oysters have a good amount of zinc in them. Zinc not only acts as an antioxidant but also participates in various body functions such as producing DNA and repairing cells.
According to research, an adequate intake of zinc protects against the cellular damage that ultimately leads to prostate cancer. Moreover, zinc also enhances the performance of the male reproductive system. Therefore, for a healthy body, a daily recommendation of 11 milligrams of zinc should be obtained. Zinc is also found in legumes, lean beef and shellfish.
Bananas are one of the best natural sources of quick energy. Athletes and sportsmen who perform strenuous physical sports are recommended bananas in their diet. Bananas are a rich source of potassium which is essential for regulating nerves, heartbeat, as well as controlling blood pressure.
Bananas provide magnesium too, which when taken along with potassium can reduce the risk of stroke. They also provide the body with vitamin B6 which is helpful in enhancing the immune system and producing red blood cells.
So make the banana a part of your daily life, by enjoying it each day at breakfast or before your workout at the gym.
3. Fatty Fish
There are two kinds of fatty acids: omega-6 and omega-3. Omega-6 fats are considered to be bad for human health. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for a healthy body. Salmon are the best known source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids help in keeping the heart healthy, improving blood circulation, enhancing the immune system, reducing the risk of prostate cancer and other health problems.
According to the American Heart Association, one should eat fatty fish at least two times in a week.
Generally, all green vegetables are considered to be good for health. But cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli are essential as they help in preventing heart disease and other fatal health hazards. Broccoli is rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium and sulphoraphane, which work as anti-cancer agents in the body.
A Harvard research study highlights that those who have five servings a week of cruciferous vegetables are likely to be safe from bladder cancer. In addition to this, this vegetable also helps in lowering the level of homocycteine, an amino acid linked with the risk of stroke.
5. Brazil nuts
Brazilian nuts are rich in magnesium and selenium. The two minerals are strong antioxidants that help in preventing heart disease, cancer and other health hazards. In addition, selenium present in the nuts helps in lowering LDL or “bad” cholesterol and reduces the risk of blood clots and, in turn, that of stroke.
The daily recommendation of selenium intake for an adult is 55 micrograms. This recommendation can be achieved by eating only one Brazil nut a day.
6. Whole grains
Research suggests that a healthy diet rich in whole grains provides the body with fiber, vitamins and minerals that work together for heart health and muscle building. Oatmeal and barley are considered to be rich in soluble fiber, full of vitamin B complex that help lower LDL or bad cholesterol level.
The daily recommendation for soluble fiber is 10 to 25 grams with plenty of water.
7. Plant stanols
Stanols are natural substances present in fruits and vegetables that have shown results of lowering mildly increased blood cholesterol levels. Having understood the benefit of stanols, many manufacturers have started adding concentrated stanols to their products like yogurt, orange juice, granola bars and so on.
About 2 grams of stanols are recommended to be taken everyday in two doses with meals in order to help inhibit the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine.
Men need a diet which can help them build and maintain muscle mass. Proteins are the building blocks of the body and the muscles. Soybeans are the best source of pure proteins. Apart from proteins, soy foods also provide the body with isoflavones which lower the risk of prostate cancer.
The recommended daily intake of soy protein is 25 grams or about 1 ounce.
9. Berries or cherries
Different varieties of berries and cherries, irrespective of their color are packed with anthocyanin, a health-protecting flavonoid. Berries have antioxidant properties that stand out far beyond what vitamin C can do; so be sure to include them into your balanced diet.
Berries can also help in enhancing brain function and keeping the brain healthy. Research shows that berries slow down the decline of the brain that may occur with aging.
10. Red-orange vegetables
The antioxidants present in red-colored and red-orange colored vegetables, that help preserve healthy skin cells and prevent oxidation from the sun are vitamin C and beta-carotene. Vitamin C helps in collagen production. Beta-carotene converts into the active form of vitamin A which helps in repairing skin cells, acting as an anti-aging agent for the skin.
Red bell pepper is the vegetable that gives about 300% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C.