Men and women share many nutritional requirements. Both genders benefit from basic fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean sources of protein, and clean water. However, there are some nutrients that may be especially helpful for each gender due to the biological differences of the sexes. No matter whether he’s in the gym or in the boardroom, eating a man-friendly diet will help keep any man at the top of his game.
Oysters are one of nature’s richest sources of zinc, a mineral with antioxidant properties. Because it helps prevent damage from free radical attacks, zinc is a useful tool in the fight against accelerated aging. It is also thought to aid the immune system. Zinc is especially beneficial for men because there is also evidence that it may help protect the prostate.
If you don’t like the thought of including oysters in your daily diet, zinc can also be found in other shellfish, lean beef, lean pork, nuts, whole grains, pumpkin seeds and legumes. However, if you do eat oysters, make sure they were harvested from clean waters.
Bananas are one of the richest sources of potassium available. Men who regularly work out can benefit from the added potassium because the nutrient is essential for proper muscle contraction and bone health. Many athletes rely on potassium to help keep post-workout muscle cramps at bay; magnesium is also important in this regard.
Don’t be fooled by the term “fatty.” Despite what you may hear from celebrities endorsing fad diets, not all fat is bad for you. In fact, some fats are very good for the body. Fish is a great source of one of the healthiest fats there is – omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are potent anti-inflammatory foods that can help lower levels of triglycerides (unhealthy fats in the blood). Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in high concentrations in brain and nerve tissue. Consequently, supplying the body with a regular source of omega-3s can help boost mood and promote healthy cognitive function. Much like zinc, omega-3 fatty acids are also being studied for their role in prostate health. Fatty cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel and herring are the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. If you are worried about polluted food sources, try to choose varieties of smaller fish, as they will not have accumulated as many pollutants as larger and longer-lived fish that are higher on the food chain. Another choice is supplements that have been purified to remove all environmental contaminants.
Getting enough carbohydrates is not an issue for most men. However, eating the right kinds of carbohydrates is. Simple carbohydrates found in refined foods and refined flours used to make breads and pastas offer virtually no benefit for a man’s health. But some complex carbohydrates found in whole grains have many important roles to play in male health. To begin with, complex carbohydrates are broken down and absorbed into the body at a much slower rate than simple carbs are. This means a longer, steadier supply of energy to keep a man feeling energetic long after a meal is finished. Whole grains also provide fiber, which aids digestion and helps reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Of course if you are sensitive to a protein in grains, such as gluten or gliadin, you will want to obtain your complex carbs from other sources such as potatoes and other root vegetables or from nonglutenous grains such as quinoa, amaranth, brown rice and sorghum.
Fresh fruits and vegetables may not be the “manliest” choice for dinner foods. But they are the healthiest and will help keep any man feeling strong and healthy. Broccoli, for example, contains a wide range of nutrients that help protect many parts of the body. From the heart to the prostate to the colon, the phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables will help protect the health of any man and ultimately make him feel manlier.