Men are different from women in all kinds of ways — including their nutritional needs. Just as women need particular nutrients during pregnancy or for protection from breast cancer, men need nutrients that can help them maintain muscle mass, prevent prostate cancer, and more.
Many foods that tend to be favorites among men are not the best choices for good health. Yet a healthy diet and regular physical activity can help prevent heart disease and cancer, the No. 1 and No. 2 killers for men over 35. They can also enhance performance, from the board room to the bedroom.
Berries or Cherries – The violet, blue, and red colors in all kinds of berries and cherries are responsible for the healthy properties of these fruits. These little jewels are chock-full of the health-protecting flavonoid, anthocyanin. “Berries contain over 4,000 different compounds that have antioxidant properties beyond vitamin C, so make sure you include these delicious and low-calorie fruits to help meet your 5+ servings of fruits each day,” says Gerbstadt.Adding berries to the diet may even help slow the decline in brain function that can occur with aging.”Large studies show the more produce you eat the better, but specifically berries (blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, and cherries) can enhance brain function and keep your brain healthy,”
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.
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.”
Broccoli – While virtually all vegetables deserve a place on the super foods list, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli are helpful in the prevention of heart disease and cancer. It’s loaded with vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium, and a phytochemical called sulphoraphane, which may have anticancer (prostate and colon) properties. A recent Harvard study found that participants who had five servings a week of cruciferious vegetables were half as likely as others to develop bladder cancer, a cancer that affects two to three times as many men as women. This super-nutritious green vegetable may also help lower levels of homocycteine, an amino acid associated with increased risk of heart disease and stroke.Don’t care for broccoli? Go for other cruciferous choices like cabbage, bok choy, shredded broccoli slaw, cabbage, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts.