Boosting men’s health with food is a common subjective among athletes, let alone people. This great article by Swiftwick athlete Annie Weiss, MSRD gives us serious tips on which food to choose.
Do you ever get the feeling that men think they can eat anything they want…and then brag about it? I know, I totally agree! Ladies, you can too, but first, I want to outline the top 5 foods for men to eat for overall health. The essentials to avoid heart disease, cancer, and other maladies that target men are found in some pretty neat foods. They may seem a little odd, and for those of us non-coastal people, some might be a challenge to find, but these are foods to thing about adding to your daily diet…If anything, it will increase your variety. Here it is guys…
1: OYSTERS. The legend is true! Oysters are the food of love. Consuming only a few oysters a day will deliver a full supply of the antioxidant ZINC. This mineral is involved in various body processes like producing DNA and repairing cells. Don’t forget, it’s important for solid immune system functioning – you don’t want to ever be sick! Get your zinc in! You can also get your daily recommended dose of 11 milligrams a day by eating other shellfish, lean beef, lean pork, or legumes.
I personally love oysters fresh in the shell, but they are also delicious grilled or used in a pasta dish with linguine noodles.
2: BANANAS. Bananas are quick energy and rich in potassium. They help to regulate nerves, heartbeat and blood pressure. Diets rich in potassium and magnesium (which is also found in bananas) can reduce the risk of stroke. Potassium and Magnesium are essential in muscle contraction, and as men age, complications can become more prevalent. Certainly, you can avoid heart disease and stroke through exercise and diet, but ensuring you get banana a day will help even more. As a source of vitamin B6, bananas can also aid your immune system, help form red blood cells, ensure a well-functioning nervous system, and assist protein metabolism.
A really great way to get in a banana is over cereal, in homemade banana bread, in a yogurt parfait, or frozen and dipped in dark chocolate!
3: FATTY FISH. AKA: omega-3 fatty acids which are polyunsaturated fats that can benefit the heart, circulation, and immune system AND reduce the risk for prostate cancer. They help lower triglyceride levels, reduce aches and pains in athletes, and offer relief with arthritis. Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel, and herring) are the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends that everyone eat fish twice weekly. You can also get omega-3s in plant-based foods, like flaxseed, walnuts, soy, canola oil, and fortified products such as eggs.
I remember my grandma eating herring often, but for me, I won’t touch it! I prefer salmon or trout to in omegas. Smoked salmon is a great way to have salmon, but if you prefer it cooked, grilled with lemon and capers is always a traditional hit.
4: BROCCOLI. 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 – great for men! Other cruciferous choices like cabbage, bok choy, shredded broccoli slaw, cabbage, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts count too.
My favorite way to eat broccoli is steamed, but so many people love roasted broccoli with olive oil and garlic…little salt and pepper…it’s perfect!
5: BRAZIL NUTS. These large nuts are packed with magnesium and selenium, antioxidants that may help prevent heart disease and cancer and protect prostate health. Selenium also helps lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol and reduces the incidence of blood clots and heart disease. It is recommended adults consume 55 micrograms of selenium daily from Brazil nuts, dry-roasted nuts, turkey, tuna, or shellfish.
I love to snack on Brazil nuts just as they are, but you can also chop for a salad, parfait, or use for pie crusts, pizza crusts, and granola bars.
Blog author: Annie Weiss, MS RD; ultra-endurance athlete and dietitian living and training in Milwaukee, WI. She is a sponsored athlete/ambassador for AltraRunning, Swiftwick Socks, The OrangeMud, and Fluid Nutrition. Follow her training/racing on Twitter & Instagram: ani_weiss and Facebook: Ani Weiss.