By Dr. Jack Rutherford
It’s not just that men and women are built and act differently. They have unique health concerns and nutritional needs.
The following five foods have the nutrients men need most, including omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, antioxidants, vitamin E, zinc, lycopene, folate, magnesium, and boron. These foods help protect the body against prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease, among other conditions.
1. Fatty fish. Men should eat fish at least twice a week, according to the American Medical Association. Some of the best fatty fish include salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, sardines, anchovies and herring. All are high in protein and low in saturated fat as well as being rich in calcium and omega-3 fatty acids. When possible, choose wild fish over farm-raised; they have fewer carcinogens.
2. Whole grains. A good source of dietary fiber and protein, whole grains are also rich in vitamin B1 (thiamin), manganese, selenium, tryptophan, and phosphorus. A daily serving of whole grain cereal has been shown to reduce the risk of heart failure by 29 percent. Whole grains also boost white blood cell activity, improving the body’s immune system, and they stabilize blood sugar, lowering the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
3. Shellfish. Fish aren’t the only nutritious food in the sea. Shellfish or mollusks, including oysters, mussels, scallops and clams are rich in low-calorie protein and iron. They also come packed with zinc and vitamin B12, among other micronutrients. Compared to red meat, shellfish provide an impressive amount of protein with just a modest number of calories. Three ounces of scallops, for example, contain 14 grams of protein and just 75 calories. In comparison, three ounces of meat loaf provides 57 grams of protein but also 267 calories.
4. Tomatoes. Tomatoes and their derivatives, such as ketchup and tomato sauce, are great sources of anti-oxidants, particularly lycopene. Research shows a strong association between lycopene and lower rates of prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death among men. They also exhibit preventive effects against other cancers, including pancreatic and lung cancer. And unlike some of their competitors that are also high in lycopene, watermelon and guava, they are available all year round.
5. Mushrooms. Mushrooms make the list because they are a powerful immune stimulant. Studies have shown them to reduce cancer-causing free radicals by up to 50 percent. Mushrooms perform a number of other functions including maintaining energy levels, stabilizing blood sugar, maintaining muscle and nerve activity, and aiding proper heart function. They are a useful addition to just about any meal, with eggs for breakfast, in a salad for lunch, and part of a stew or chili for dinner.