Ask a group of nutritionists to list the top super foods for men and you’re likely to get different answers. There’s a reason for that. Each year, experts learn more about how foods provide different benefits to the body: Some are rich sources of protein or fiber but lack essential vitamins and minerals, while others contain disease-fighting phytonutrients and vitamins and minerals, but lack protein. The trick, experts claim, is for guys to get a variety of all the best foods. The following 15 powerhouses are a good place to start.
Supercharge the way you look, feel, and live with the following super foods for men.
Flaxseeds and Flaxseed Oil
Did you know? Heart disease is the biggest killer in the U.S. Flax seed oil helps to regulate cholesterol levels, which have been shown to prevent certain types of heart disease. It’s also a superfood for aging arthritis prone joints and for promoting healthy, smooth skin. Loaded with alpha-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid that helps reduce inflammation, flaxseed has been used for centuries for medicinal and health reasons.
Fish and Fish Oil
Eating fish has many health benefits including cutting the risk of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, stroke, diabetes, and arthritis. The fatty varieties have also been shown to help alleviate depression. The American Heart Association recommends that adults eat at least two meals including fish each week, particularly wild salmon, herring, and sardines, because those varieties provide the most heart-healthy omega 3s. Avoid mercury-containing varieties like shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, and albacore tuna.
The number one protein from the plant kingdom, hemp seeds provide one of the most easily absorbed proteins. They also carry no risk of antibiotics, growth hormones or other undesirable additives common in conventionally raised animal proteins.
If you’re planning on starting a family, guys, make sure you’re getting enough zinc, which is found in beans, legumes and sesame seeds. It’s a critical mineral for reproduction, and studies show that more than 70 percent of men are not getting the recommended daily intake of zinc. Double down on your zinc with hummus—an easy-to-make bean and seed dip.
Satisfy both your sweet and sour tooth with fresh seasonal blueberries, rasberries, blackberries, and cranberries. They provide a burst of vitamin C, keeping your immune system functioning, and help strengthen connective tissue. Additionally, vitamin C has been linked to a decreased risk for certain types of cancer, including prostate. Anti-aging superstars, blueberries are also loaded with antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, which have been shown to improve vision and brain function. Studies show that eating blueberries slows impairments in motor coordination and memory that accompany aging These powerful little berries also reduce inflammation, which is inextricably linked with virtually every chronic disease from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, to diabetes and heart disease. Other studies show that blueberries have much greater anticancer activity than other fruits.
While high in fat, avocados contain healthful monounsaturated fat which has been linked to a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Avocados also aid in blood and tissue regeneration, stabilize blood sugar, and are excellent for heart disorders. They’re loaded with fiber (11 to 17 grams per fruit) and are a good source of lutein, an antioxidant linked to eye and skin health.
You’ve heard the old adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and there’s a reason the saying has stood the test of time: Apples are loaded with the powerful antioxidants catechin and quercetin, which help protect cells from damage, which means a reduced risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, especially if you eat the skin.
Pomegranates have up to three times the antioxidants of red wine and green tea – and the juice has been shown to reduce artery-clogging plaque, which in turn prevents heart disease and stroke. Research shows that long-term consumption of pomegranate juice may also help slow aging and protect against cancer
In the vegetable world, the Brassica genus reigns supreme, and the cabbage is the most impressive of the bunch. Brassica vegetables, including broccoli, contain compounds called indoles, which have been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of cancer. In fact, eating cabbage more than once a week has been shown to cut men’s colon cancer risk by 66 percent. Cabbage also stimulates the immune system, kills bacteria and viruses, and is a good blood purifier. If you go for red cabbage, you’ll also get a healthy dose of anthocyanins (the same pigment molecules that make blueberries blue), another powerful antioxidant with an anticancer punch.
This leafy green vegetable is full of phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants along with fiber and even protein. No matter how “manly” you are, there’s simply no substitute for the benefits of eating leafy greens every day!
From cutting the risk of cancer to helping prevent heart disease, garlic truly is the king of super foods! Research shows that garlic lowers total cholesterol and triglyceride (blood fat) levels, helping prevent clogged arteries. Two to three cloves a day cut the odds of subsequent heart attacks in half for heart disease patients and garlic also tops the National Cancer Institute’s list of potential cancer-preventive foods. Whole baked garlic helps detoxify the body of heavy metals like mercury (from fish) and cadmium and also acts as an antibacterial and antiviral, boosting resistance to stress-induced colds and infections. Worried about garlic breath? Try peppermint oil or chew on a sprig of parsley.
Used for centuries in Eastern medicine, mushrooms have powerful effects on the immune system – especially the maitake, shiitake, and reishi varieties. Mushrooms such as maitake help prevent and treat cancer, viral diseases, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure
Almonds are loaded with fiber and monounsaturated fat, both of which have been shown to lower cholesterol. According to the Food and Drug Administration, eating 1.5 ounces of most nuts, including almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. And while almonds are relatively high in fat and calories, studies show that eating almonds can actually help with weight loss as their protein, fiber, and monounsaturated fats provide a feeling of fullness, preventing the urge to overeat.
The best protein source on the planet, eggs consistently outrank milk, beef, soy, and whey in the quality of protein they provide. In addition to containing all nine essential amino acids, eggs are loaded with nutrients. And yes, eat the yolks! People avoid the yolks because they’re concerned about cholesterol, but egg yolks contain choline, which helps protect heart and brain function and prevents cholesterol and fat from accumulating in the liver..
Good news, guys! A small amount of any kind of alcohol each day actually does your heart good by increasing HDL cholesterol and reducing the risk of blood clots. Red Wine also contains powerful antioxidants, resveratrol and saponins, which may provide additional cardiovascular benefits. Resist the temptation to refill, though: More than one drink daily has been linked to high blood pressure.