Encumbered by innumerable responsibilities, health often takes a back seat for men when it comes to prioritization of tasks. Sandwiched between increasing lifestyle pressures and a sedentary lifestyle, taking out time to take care of health becomes a hassle. Men are more prone to some chronic diseases than women; therefore it is essential that they take care of their health on priority.
Protecting your health begins with a well balanced diet. The following five foods are health boosters for men. Including them in your diet will not only protect you against serious diseases like high cholesterol, heart attack, stroke, obesity, and diabetes, but will also help you lead a healthy life in the long run.
Broccoli contains more than enough vitamin C than the daily recommended intake, and is rich in vitamins A and K. It is also a good source of several important minerals for men’s health such as calcium, potassium, and iron.
Research has shown that broccoli is a powerful anti-carcinogen, which may help the body fight against cancer. Broccoli is very helpful for the prevention of heart diseases, which is a major cause of death in men.
- Between 70 percent and 89 percent of sudden cardiac events occur in men.
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States, killing 307,225 men in 2009 – that’s one in every four male deaths
The Best Way to Eat It
Broccoli makes a great addition to any meal. The most pre-eminent way to reap the benefit of consuming broccoli is to have it raw or steamed. So flexible is this vegetable, that you can eat it as a part of your veggies with low fat cheese, as salads, curries, or soups.
Whole grains are rich in fiber and are highly recommended by dieticians and physicians all across the world for a balanced diet, health promotion, and disease prevention. The health advantages of whole grains are largely associated with the vitamins (B and E), minerals (iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium, zinc), essential fatty acids, phytochemicals (physiologically active components of plants that have functional health benefits), and other bioactive food components. It is believed that these nutrients have a synergistic effect on health.
A whole grain rich diet plays an essential role in regulating the blood glucose levels in people suffering from diabetes. Including whole grains in your diet also helps you insulate your body from the risk of heart diseases. It also helps achieve your cholesterol goals by favorably impacting LDL (bad cholesterol) and total cholesterol levels.
- As per the dietary guidelines issued by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for Americans, about 25 to 30 grams of total fiber per day is recommended for adults.
- Harvard researchers who followed 21,376 participants for nearly 20 years in the Physicians’ Health Study found that men who had a daily serving of whole-grain cereal, lowered their risk of heart failure by 29 percent.
The Best Way to Eat It
Replace All Your Grains with Whole Grains: Make all your grains “whole grains” wherever there is an option. Substitute white rice, white flour, bread, and pasta with whole grain varieties of bread, cereals, rice, and pasta.
Tomatoes contain a powerful antioxidant, lycopene, which is helpful in the prevention of prostate cancer. Tomatoes are low in sodium, and very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. It is also a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese and potassium, and a good source of vitamin E (alpha tocopherol), thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper.
Prostate, lung, and colon cancer are amongst the list of most common chronic diseases in men. Growing evidence suggests that tomatoes decrease the risk of all three cancer types, especially prostate cancer. Tomatoes also strengthen the immune system and decrease the risk of arterial aging, heart disease, stroke, memory loss, impotence, and wrinkling of the skin.
A 2007 University of Illinois study found that a diet containing tomato and broccoli extract actually reduce the risk of prostate tumors.
The Best Way to Eat It
Cooking releases more amount of lycopene in tomatoes. Therefore, you can cook the tomatoes to get additional benefits of lycopene. Dice them over the cooked vegetables, make them a part of your salads, or chew them raw.
Green tea is the best food source of a group called catechins. Catechins are antioxidants that fight and may even prevent cell damage. Some experiments done on catechins have proved that they are more powerful than vitamins C and E in halting oxidative damage to cells and appear to have other disease-fighting properties as well.
Green tea has a long list of health benefits. It helps you have a healthy heart by lowering the cholesterol levels and preventing the occurrence of many serious heart ailments. Green tea seems to help keep blood sugar stable in diabetes, which is one of the most common diseases in men. There are some indications that green tea may also help destroy cancer cells. Being a man you have to shoulder the responsibilities of the family, which may possibly leave you stressed out at the end of the day. Sipping tea helps you slow down and relax, and has a calming effect on the brain.
- A 2013 review of many studies found that green tea helped prevent a range of heart-related issues, from high blood pressure to congestive heart failure.
- Green tea has also been shown to help block the formation of plaques that are linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
The Best Way to Drink It
It is best to have a cup of green tea, few times a day, to absorb the antioxidants and other healthy plant compounds. In green-tea drinking cultures, the recommended intake is three cups per day. While preparing green tea, allow it to steep for three to five minutes to bring out its catechins. The best way to get the catechins and other flavonoids in tea is to drink it freshly brewed. Decaffeinated, bottled ready-to-drink tea preparations, and instant teas have less of these compounds.
One cup of this leafy green vegetable contains far more than your daily requirements of vitamin K and vitamin A, almost all the manganese and folate your body needs, and nearly 40 percent of your magnesium requirement. It is considered as a super food with only 40 calories in one cup. It is also a good source of dietary fiber, calcium, and protein.
Spinach is also high in calcium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and even selenium, which may help protect the liver and ward off Alzheimer’s disease. A study in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that the carotenoid neoxanthin in spinach can kill prostate cancer cells, while the beta-carotene fights colon cancer. Spinach is also a rich source of plant-based omega-3s and folate, which help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that men get 120 micrograms and women get 90 micrograms of vitamin K per day. So if you have a bleeding disorder or if you are at risk of osteoporosis, adding a daily bowl of spinach to your diet could prevent serious problems.
If you are on an anticoagulant medication, consult your health care provider (HCP) before including spinach in your diet.
The Best Way to Eat It
- Make your salads with spinach; add spinach to scrambled eggs; or drape it over pizza. Choose your creative recipes to eat one-cup fresh spinach or 1/2 cup cooked spinach per day. To improve iron absorption, eat spinach with vitamin C-rich foods, such as orange juice, tomatoes, and citrus fruit.
- http://calorielab.com/foods/broccoli/broccoli-cooked-boiled-drained-without-salt/143/11091/5. Accessed December 14, 2013.
- http://wellness.ucr.edu/10%20Best%20Foods%20For%20Men.pdf. Accessed December 14, 2013.
- Consumption of polyphenol plants may slow aging and associated diseases. Uysal U, Seremet S, Lamping JW et al. Curr Pharm Des. 2013;19(34):6094-111. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23448445
- Broccoli. http://www.fatsecret.com/calories-nutrition/usda/broccoli. Accessed December 14, 2013.
- Is broccoli a nutritional showstopper? http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/superfoods/pages/is-broccoli-a-superfood.aspx
- Whole grain Fact Sheet. http://www.eufic.org/article/en/expid/Whole-grain-Fact-Sheet/. Accessed December 17, 2013.
- Men and Heart Disease. http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-heart/Pages/Men-and-heart-disease.aspx. Accessed December 17, 2013.
- Chronic Diseases in Men. http://www.idph.state.il.us/menshealth/chronic_disease.htm. Accessed December 13, 2013.
- Tomatoes, red, ripe, raw, year round average [Includes USDA commodity food A238, A233]. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2682/2. Accessed December 16, 2013.
- Benefit of drinking green tea: The proof is in — drinking tea is healthy, says Harvard Women’s Health Watch. http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/benefit_of_drinking_green_tea. Accessed December 16, 2013.