You’ve heard that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach — so is the way to a healthier body. In light of June being Men’s Health Month, here’s a list of 10 superfoods he should eat daily.
1. Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, and the plant substance known as lycopene — great for heart and prostate health.
2. Broccoli is rich in natural cancer-fighting chemicals and loaded with heart-healthy, immunity-building nutrients such as vitamins A, C and folate — a B vitamin found to protect against heart disease. Preparation tip: Steam broccoli to help preserve vital antioxidants.
3. Salmon — whether smoked, canned, fresh-caught or frozen — is an excellent source of omega-3 fats, which help reduce inflammation and improve cholesterol.
4. Berries are “berry” good sources of nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium and anthocyanins, which are known to fight heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Rich in fiber and low in calories, berries taste great in salads or over breakfast cereal. Pick a color, any color!
5. Soy may boost prostate and bone health, research reveals. The Food and Drug Administration has also approved a claim that products made from soybeans, including meat substitutes and beverages, help improve heart health.
6. Olive oil is rich in oleic acid, a type of monounsaturated fatty acid that boosts heart health. It also enhances the absorption of lycopene (found in tomatoes), which may be helpful in reducing the risk of heart disease and prostate cancer.
7. Nuts contain fiber, healthy fats and plant nutrients called phytosterols, which are known to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. In a study featured in the medical journal Circulation, researchers found that eating a handful of almonds (about 1 ounce) daily reduced LDL by about three percent.
8. Green tea packs a group of antioxidants called polyphenols. These compounds may decrease plaque formation in the arteries and help fight prostate cancer cells.
9. Red wine contains a super antioxidant called resveratrol, found in the skins and seeds of grapes. Experts claim resveratrol assists in reducing LDL cholesterol and also helps in keeping the inside lining of the arteries that feed the heart more resistant to atherosclerosis, a.k.a. hardening of the arteries. Enjoy up to two 5-ounce servings a day, the American Heart Association suggests.
10. Whole grains, such as brown rice, oats, whole-grain breads and cereals may enhance immunity, reduce cholesterol and protect against a variety of cancers. The 2010 dietary guidelines recommend adult men consume six to eight one-ounce servings daily, with at least half of the grains being whole.
Food should be your primary source of nutrients, but most guys don’t eat an optimal diet every day. Your backup plan: take a multivitamin. Choose one designed for men’s needs. It should pack eleven milligrams of zinc and 600 IUs of vitamin D, two important players in prostate health. Since guys don’t menstruate, don’t worry about iron.
For more tailored advice on proper diet and supplementation, see a registered dietitian. All men may not be created equal — but they all have the potential to be super!
Author David Grotto is a FitStudio advisory board member, registered dietitian and the founder and president of Nutrition Housecall. He is the author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life and 101 Optimal Life Foods. He served as a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association for more than six years.