With winter coming and the inevitable strains of cold and flu only around the corner, it’s certainly worth giving a little thought to your nutritional intake as part of your quest to keep yourself fit and healthy.
I am often asked what are the best foods for general wellbeing, so here are my suggestions for the top 5 foods all men should eat.
Top 5 Foods for Men
The humble tomato is rich in lycopene, a member of the beta-carotene family of phytochemicals, which may help to reduce the risk of prostate cancer. In fact, a research study showed that men who eat two servings of tomato sauce per week reduced their prostate risk by 23%.
But why tomato sauce and not fresh tomatoes? This is one of the foods where processing helps to release the beneficial ingredient lycopene, and studies have shown that tomato ketchup, cooked tomatoes or tomato puree allow us to absorb much more of the lycopene. But for lycopene to do it’s good, it must have some fat with it, to support absorption – so using tomatoes in your bolognaise, or with olive oil as a salad dressing is ideal. Tomato juice doesn’t have the same effect unless taken with a meal that contains fat.
Fresh tomatoes are also a great food for men too, as they are rich in Vitamin C and potassium, which are great for the heart! So however you eat your tomatoes, eat plenty of them!
2. Oily Fish
How many times do we hear about the health benefits of oily fish? Mackeral, salmon, sardines and trout are rich in omega 3 essential fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. This is due to their effect on blood thickness, clotting factors, cholesterol levels and the reduction of inflammation.
Include two to three portions of oily fish per week. And if you don’t like oily fish, or you know a man who doesn’t, it might be worth considering a top quality fish oil supplement, such as the Eskimo 3 oils we stock.
3. Pumpkin Seeds
I know many men are averse to seeds (well in my experience of working with hundreds of clients!) But pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc, which is not only vital for your prostate health, but also sperm health too. So if you want to support your sperm count and fertility, include a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds in your diet every day. If you don’t like eating seeds, add them to baking – muffins, cakes, biscuits, bread – or you could try some ground seed mixes that contain pumpkin seeds. If seeds really aren’t for you, how about oysters instead – also a fabulous source of zinc!
Most of us could do with eating more greens, and when it comes to men’s health, those cruciferous vegetables (which include broccoli, sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage) are vitally important. That’s because regular intake has been found to reduce the risk of many cancers, including bladder cancer, which is one of the most common cancers in men. Broccoli is also a great source of magnesium, fibre and other vitamins and minerals. So include a good handful of any of the cruciferous vegetables daily!
Do you like a bowl of porridge in the morning? Oats are a fabulous food for the heart, as they help to reduce cholesterol levels, as well as being a good source of so many nutrients, including B vitamins, magnesium and selenium. Combine them with a sprinkle of cinnamon to make your porridge, and you have a slow-releasing meal that will keep any sugar cravings away until lunchtime (as long as you don’t cover them in sugar or honey!)
Health tip – sachets and instant porridges are usually high in sugar (in fact I’ve not found one in the supermarket without sugar). Better to make your own porridge with proper oats (which contain more fibre) – and if you’re short of time, you could add them to a smoothie or soak them the night before for a quick Bircher muesli.