Men: Eat These 9 Plant-Based Foods for Health
Hey guys, are you interested in staying healthy and fit for years to come? Then you’ll definitely want to power up on the 9 top plant-powered foods linked with optimal men’s health. Indeed, there are a number of plant-based foods, from veggies and beverages to nuts and whole grains, that can help provide exceptional men’s health benefits, including heart protection and prostate cancer defense. So, listen up, men; incorporate these 9 healthy plant-powered foods into your diet for optimal health and beyond!
Men: Eat These 9 Plant-Powered Foods for Health
1. Tomatoes. Tomatoes provide a great source of the carotenoid, lycopene, in the diet. Studies suggest that lycopene may help prevent prostate cancer through its antioxidant action that might inhibit cancer cell proliferation.
2. Green Leafy Vegetables. As men grow older, it may come as no surprise that their vision may begin to decline. In fact, it is projected that the number of people over the age of 50 with macular degeneration (age-related vision loss) will double by 2050. Take care of your eyes by incorporating more lutein in your diet through foods like leafy greens, such as kale, spinach, and collards.
3. Coffee and Green Tea. Need a reason to justify your love for coffee? Research has found that people consuming coffee and green tea have lower incidence of prostate cancer. Experts speculate that the polyphenols found in these drinks have an antioxidant effect that helps rid the body of free radicals which are often associated with cancer onset. Be careful not to pile on the cream and sugar though, as that will add extra fat and calories to the diet.
4. Edamame. While we often think that women are the only ones who face declining bone mass with age, bone health is just as important for men. Men reach their peak bone mass at around the age of 20. A diet rich in calcium and vitamin D is essential in maintaining bone health. Men should consume at least three servings of calcium-rich foods daily. Incorporate edamame into salads, soups, or just snack it on its own.
5. Nuts. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in U.S. adults. Saturated fat consumption has been associated with the development of cardiovascular diseases. However, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids are linked with improved heart health. So, incorporate nuts in your diet as a heart healthy snack. Nuts, rich in monounsaturated fats, have been shown to improve blood cholesterol levels. Be aware of the serving size. One-fourth cup is equivalent to one portion of nuts.
6. Flaxseeds. Adding flaxseed to your diet is another strategy to help support hearth health. Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fats, which is a type of polyunsaturated fatty acids that has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels. You can easily incorporate ground flaxseed into your daily routine at the start of your day by adding it to your breakfast cereal.
7. Oatmeal. Jumpstart your day with a bowl of oatmeal. Oatmeal is rich in beta-glucan, a fiber which helps lower cholesterol. Fiber also is useful in helping you feel full for longer, which may prevent overeating later in the day. Men should strive to consume 38 grams of fiber daily.
8. Bananas. Consuming enough potassium in the diet each day is important for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. Fruits and vegetables, particularly bananas, are a great source of potassium (1 medium banana has 450 milligrams). Grab a banana for a mid-afternoon snack or top your oatmeal and flaxseed with sliced bananas in the morning. You will be well on your way to achieving the recommended 4,700 milligrams you need each day. (Hint: Those green leafy vegetables are also great sources of potassium!).
9. Avocados. In recent years, avocados have emerged as a popular food in a wide-variety of dishes…and with good reason! Avocados are rich in folate; vitamins E, C, and B6; potassium, soluble fiber. Similar to nuts, avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fats. Make a delicious guacamole or slice avocados into a healthy salad.
Bonus: Don’t Forget Exercise
While a well-rounded diet is important, every guy should add exercise as an important component for health. Men should shoot for 30 to 60 minutes of regular exercise per day. Aerobic exercise should be incorporated most days of the week with the addition of weight strengthening 2 to 3 days a week.
For other tips for men’s health, check out:
Written by Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN and Amanda Lambrechts on May 28, 2015; updated on June 10, 2019.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2013). A to Avocados. Retrieved for https://www.eatright.org/resource/food/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrient-rich- foods/a-to-avocados.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2014). Bone health for men. Retrieved from https://www.eatright.org/resource/health/wellness/preventing-illness/bone-health-for- men.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2014). Choose healthy fats. Retrieved from https://www.eatright.org/resource/food/nutrition/dietary-guidelines-and- myplate/choose-healthy-fats.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2014). Healthy eating for men. Retrieved from https://www.eatright.org/resource/health/wellness/healthy-aging/healthy-eating-for- men.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2015). Heart health tips for men. Retrieved from https://www.eatright.org/resource/health/wellness/heart-and-cardiovascular- health/heart-health-for-men.
Holzapfel, N. P., Holzapfel, B. M., Champ, S., Feldthusen, J., Clements, J., & Hutmacher, D. W. (2013). The potential role of lycopene for the prevention and therapy of prostate cancer: from molecular mechanisms to clinical evidence. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 14(7), 14620-14646.
Rein, D. B., Wittenborn, J. S., Zhang, X., Honeycutt, A. A., Lesesne, S. B., & Saaddine, J. (2009). Forecasting age-related macular degeneration through the year 2050: the potential impact of new treatments. Archives of Ophthalmology, 127(4):533–540.
Vance, T. M., Su, J., Fontham, E. H., Koo, S. I., & Chun, O. K. (2013). Dietary antioxidant and prostate cancer: a review. Nutrition & Cancer, 65(6), 793-801.