Men: when’s the last time you ate a nice Italian dinner slathered in marinara sauce? Or baked a sweet potato? Your nutrition plays a huge role in your health, and choosing certain foods more often could be the difference between battling chronic disease later in life and having an able, fit body in your golden years.
These five foods are not only packed with the nutrients necessary for optimum daily function, but they also have male-specific health benefits. So ditch that Hungry-Man frozen dinner and try these instead.
Lycopene in tomatoes has long been believed to reduce the risk of prostate cancer. And by heating tomatoes in a sauce and adding fat like extra-virgin olive oil, you can increase your lycopene absorption by up to 55 percent.
Try adding more tomato-based dishes to your diet, like the Roasted Pepper and Chipotle Sauce Pasta in this issue of alive@work.
Sweet potatoes are the perfect side for any meal. They’re a great source of beta carotene, which helps slow the aging process and may reduce cancer risk. Plus, a study of middle-aged and older men found that the men who chowed down foods with beta-carotene (and lycopene!) more often were less likely to have metabolic syndrome (a group of conditions like high blood pressure and extra weight around the waist).
Poke a few holes in a sweet potato and bake it in the oven until tender, or try the Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie in this issue of alive@work.
This oily fish is an excellent source of omega-3s, which contribute to skin and heart health. Plus, research shows that a low-fat diet that includes omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent prostate cancer.
Get more salmon in your diet by flaking it over salads or using salmon steaks or burgers instead of beef when you break out the barbecue this summer.
This tree-like cruciferous veggie is loaded with phytonutrients and vitamins A and C. Broccoli’s disease-fighting properties may help prevent heart disease and some cancers, including prostate cancer. Researchers have found that a diet rich in broccoli seems to affect a specific gene mutation, and this is likely one way in which it lowers prostate cancer risk.
Serve steamed broccoli as a side with your dinners, or whip up something a bit more creative, like the Green Monster Soup in this issue of alive@work.
Chock full of nutrients including thiamine, folate, magnesium and zinc, this embryonic center of the wheat grain is also a great source of fiber. Men need more fiber than women: up to age 50, men need 38 g, while women need 25 g (unless pregnant or lactating); after age 50, men’s fiber needs drop to 30 g, and women’s to 21 g.
One easy way to incorporate wheat germ into your diet is to dump some into your morning or post-workout smoothie. It also bakes well into muffins and even pancakes.