Food for Men: 10 Foods to Boost Male Health
Foods men should include in their diets to improve health and prevent disease.
Food for Men No. 5: Brazil Nuts
These large nuts from Brazil are packed with magnesium and selenium, powerful antioxidants that may help prevent heart disease and cancer and protect prostate health. (Bauer, however, notes that the studies showing reduction in cancer have been primarily in people whose diets were deficient in selenium, not in those who were already getting enough.)
Selenium also helps lower LDL or "bad" cholesterol and reduces the incidence of blood clots and heart disease.
Grotto recommends adults get 55 micrograms of selenium daily from Brazil nuts, dry-roasted nuts, turkey, tuna, or shellfish. Indeed, you can get your daily dose of selenium in just one Brazil nut. In fact, Bauer cautions limiting yourself to no more than two Brazil nuts per day because "they are so loaded and concentrated with selenium that you don’t want to overdose."
Food for Men No. 6: Whole Grains
Most men get enough carbs in their diets, but they tend to be the wrong kind, experts say.
"A diet rich in whole grains provides fiber, vitamins, minerals – all the co-factors for heart health, building muscles, and keeping waistlines small," says Gerbstadt.
She suggests trying whole grain pasta or quinoa, a trendy, not-so-whole-grain-tasting grain that's rich in lutein for prostate health.
Oatmeal and barley are rich in soluble fiber, full of B vitamins that can help lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol, and are also good for the prostate. Suzanne Farrell, RD, owner of Cherry Creek Nutrition in Denver, recommends getting 10-25 grams of soluble fiber a day from oatmeal or other sources of soluble fiber such as apples, pears, and beans.
When buying grain products, look for those whose labels say they have at least 3-5 grams of fiber per serving.
To avoid digestive problems, increase your fiber intake gradually, and don't forget to drink plenty of water.
Food for Men No. 7: Plant Stanols
Stanols are naturally occurring substances in fruits and vegetables that have been shown to lower mildly elevated blood cholesterol levels. Manufacturers are now adding concentrated versions of them to products like margarine, yogurt, orange juice, and granola bars.
"Men should regularly include a total of 2 grams of plant stanols, taken in two doses with meals, to help inhibit absorption of cholesterol in the intestine," says Farrell.
Plant stanols are added to a variety of products including orange juice, margarine, dark chocolate, granola bars, cheese, bread, soy products, and more. Plant stanols can safely be used with cholesterol-lowering medication.