Foods for Men
5 Foods Every Man Should Eat More Of
Men and women are built differently, that much is clear -- but that's not where the differences end. Unique health concerns and nutritional needs also separate the sexes. The five foods featured on this list are chock-full of nutrients men need most, including omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, lycopene, magnesium, B vitamins, folate, antioxidants, vitamin E, and boron. These picks support sexual function, protect against prostate cancer, and reduce cardiovascular disease risk -- to name just a few benefits.
1. Fatty fish
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish -- particularly fatty fish -- at least twice a week. Fatty fish are incredibly nutritious; some of the best picks include salmon, mackerel, lake and rainbow trout, tuna, anchovies, sardines, and herring. All are high in protein, low in saturated fat, and are rich in calcium and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
First, let's talk fats. Ounce for ounce, wild coho salmon has about half the saturated fat content of a 95 percent lean beef patty, and slightly more protein. And unlike the saturated fat in that burger, which greatly increases the body's production of blood cholesterol, the omega-3s found in fish have a cleansing effect on the circulatory system. They reduce blood viscosity and clotting and lower lipid levels and blood pressure. Omega-3s not only minimize your risk of stroke and heart attack by preventing the damage that causes them, they also help heal tissues damaged from poor circulation by promoting better blood flow.
For general health, they're not so bad, either. Omega-3s reduce the bodily inflammation that contributes to many types of disease, and research suggests they may play a role in preventing Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. Salmon, mackerel, and sardines have the highest levels of healthy omega-3 fats, although all seven fish listed above are good sources.
Omega-3s aren't the only nutritional benefits you'll find in these fish, though. Tuna is a rich source of such minerals as selenium, magnesium, and potassium, as well as B vitamins, including niacin, B1, and B6. It's also an excellent source of the amino acid tryptophan, which helps regulate appetite and improves sleep and mood. Salmon has high scores in all the same nutrients, in addition to being a good source of B12 and a concentrated source of vitamin D. Fatty fish are the richest food source on earth of naturally occurring vitamin D -- salmon, tuna, and mackerel score particularly high. Sardines offer vitamin D, B12, and calcium (thanks to their edible bones). Herring, a close relative of the sardine, is often sold, packaged, and marketed as sardines. Herring is an excellent source of B12 and selenium, and a good source of B6 and phosphorus.
Oceans Alive, a division of the Environmental Defense Fund, lists many of these fatty fish on its Eco-Best list, meaning they're not only good for you but they're being caught or raised in ways that are also sustainable and healthy for the environment. If you're worried about contaminants like mercury and industrial pollutants like PCBs, visit the Oceans Alive website for information on the levels of contamination in all types of fish, along with recommendations about how often you can safely incorporate them into your diet. A good rule of thumb: Smaller fatty fish, such as anchovies, herring, and sardines, tend to be lower in contaminants than larger fish.
Quick and healthy tip: Whenever possible, choose wild salmon over farmed. Independent studies have shown that farmed salmon have significantly higher levels of carcinogenic PCBs. It should be easy: All U.S. supermarkets are required to label salmon as farmed or wild. Canned salmon is a good choice; it's easy to find, affordable, and is shelf-stable. Check the label to make sure it's wild, and keep some on hand to scramble into eggs, toss with whole-grain pasta, or top a salad.