Men need the right fuel to keep their mental and physical game strong. These needs can easily be met by targeting a few key foods. In this blog, we're showcasing what men need to include in their diet to stay charged, focused, and prevent male-dominate diseases.
Eat Red Fruits and Vegetables Daily
The red, yellow and pink colors you see in fruits and vegetables come from an antioxidant and carotenoid called lycopene. Regular consumption of lycopene-rich foods has been shown to reduce the risk of prostate cancer by with a 30 to 40%. In addition, lycopene has the power to help reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and prevent heart attack. Men should include red, yellow, and pink colored fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon, strawberries, red bell pepper, grapefruit, tomatoes and radishes in their daily diet. Cooked vegetables and sauces are the best way to maximize lycopene intake. Tomato juice has 23 mg of lycopene, while fresh tomatoes have .88-7.74mg of lycopene per 100g. Cooked lycopene-rich foods are higher in lycopene due to the concentration that happens when cooking and plant cells breakdown under heat, making it easier to absorb.
Include Fiber-Rich Foods at Every Meal
Fiber is king when it comes to controlling lipids, curbing weight gain, promoting gut health and preventing heart disease. Men need significantly more fiber in their day than women. Men need 38g of fiber compared to women, who need 25g. This may be partly due to their higher risk for some diseases and cancers. Great sources of fiber include: avocado, pears, blueberries, barely, peas, and whole grains. As a rule of thumb, try choosing choose grain items such as crackers, tortilla, bread, wraps with a minimum of 3g or more of fiber per serving to as a rule of thumb on nutrition labels to help you pick for higher fiber choices.
Bump Up the Healthy Omega-3s Daily
Male diets high in saturated fat (instead of omega-3 fats) increases risk for infertility, heart disease, erectile dysfunction, weight gain, and cancer. Research shows swapping out foods high in saturated fat such as bacon, high fat red meats, butter, cream, pastries, donuts, and fast food for high omega-3 foods such as like avocado, salmon, cod, mussels, oysters, herring, cod liver oil, sardines, anchovies, flax seeds and tuna, reduces risk for weight gain and promotes fertility,
Pack in the Protein
Men have significantly higher muscle mass, requiring higher protein needs. Men need .9-2g per kg of body weight to help maximize athletic performance and improve muscle-to-fat ratio. Not getting enough muscle mass could lead to muscle wasting, decreased strength and decreased stamina. Every meal and snack should include a protein-dense food that is easily absorbed. Proteins that are well absorbed include, Designer Protein powders, lean poultry, fish, tofu, edamame, Greek yogurt, skyr Yogurt, cottage cheese and eggs.
Keep things simple. Include dishes with red sauces each week, eat a pink/yellow/red fruit or vegetable daily, pick all high fiber whole grains and choose a lean protein with each meal for a male strong diet. As sample day may look like this:
Egg and avocado sandwich on whole grain bread
Plain Greek yogurt with strawberries and walnuts
Chicken and bean burrito with a whole grain tortilla and avocado
Designer Protein - Designer Whey protein shake
Black bean spaghetti with tomato sauce, zucchini, and lean turkey meatballs and side salad
By Ginger Cochran, MS, RDN, CDCES, CEP-ACSM