The foundation of healthy living is a balanced diet comprised of various foods, however, men require a different diet than women. Men have a specific set of dietary requirements necessary to achieve and maintain optimal health.
Some health conditions and diseases like prostate cancer, and low testosterone levels only affect men. Many diseases can be avoided with early diagnosis or treatment. Other conditions like heart disease or colon cancer may be prevented or slowed through consumption of certain super-foods.
So, here is a list of the top 10 foods that are super-beneficial to male athletes.
This super-healthy food is not only a great source of protein and low in saturated fat, it's also loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. Doctors and health experts claim these fatty acids lower levels of the bad LDL cholesterol.
They reduce the risk of so many illnesses common to men like heart disease, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer and even depression. Grilled salmon is the healthiest way to prepare this superfood.
Maybe one of the best of the super-foods, tomatoes are loaded with healthy lycopene. The American Cancer Society states that men who consume this antioxidant compound typically have lower risk of certain diseases like lung cancer, prostate cancer and stomach cancer.
Lycopene also reduces cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease - which just happens to be the leading cause of death in men.
A naturally occurring concentration of zinc, copper, calcium, iodine, potassium and selenium are found in this seafood favourite. Zinc is a mineral that helps maintain normal testosterone levels, enhances the production of sperm.
It is essential to optimum fertility and maximum sexual health in men. Low levels of zinc in men have also been linked to hair loss.
These powerful little fruits are very beneficial for men. They contain proanthocyanidin polyphenols, antioxidants which reduce the risk of prostate cancer. More than that, proanthocyanidin polyphenols in blueberries are anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic.
They also provide a reduction in insulin resistance as a protection from age-related memory loss (more prevalent in men) and Type-2 diabetes.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, along with other similar veggies like cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and bok choy, all contain photochemicals, minerals, vitamins and fibre.
Sulforaphane, indole 3-carbinol and crambene are three of these photochemicals that stimulate the natural production of enzymes that actually detoxify cancer cells before they can cause damage. They also reduce the risk of prostate, lung, colon and liver cancers.
6. Brazil Nuts
Just about all of the nuts consumed are good for health, however, brazil nuts may be especially beneficial to men. They are loaded with the powerful antioxidant selenium which protects against prostate cancer.
Selenium also lowers bad LDL cholesterol levels, prevents blood clots and increases production of healthy, motile sperm. One nut contains enough selenium for one day so eat sparingly. Too much selenium may increase risk of Type-2 diabetes.
7. Whole Grains
Whole grains like oats, wheat flour, barley and brown rice are packed with B vitamins. Vitamin B7 (biotin) may help with hair loss while B9 (folate) and silica helps with sperm health. Whole grains are loaded with lots of vitamins, minerals and fibre.
They also help to keep the heart strong and promote a healthy colon. Antioxidants found in whole grain foods also reduce inflammation and help to keep that extra weight off by controlling insulin, a hormone that makes the body store more fat around the belly area.
Perhaps one of the perfect foods, eggs provide the perfect combinations of almost pure protein (white) and fat (yolk). Eggs are loaded with vitamins essential for healthy skin, hair and blood cells. Vitamin D provides for stronger bones through more efficient absorption of calcium.
Vitamin E provides protection to cells from oxidation. Vitamin B6 helps to better metabolize protein in the body. Iron found in eggs also helps to stop hair loss. Egg yolks are also very high in cholesterol and should be consumed sparingly.
Well known for enhancing heart health, garlic may also lower cholesterol levels in men. Studies also show that regular consumption of garlic and onions may assist in lowering the risk of prostate cancer.
Garlic increases blood flow through the production of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) which in turn decreases men's chance of developing heart disease. Garlic is one of the few plants that produce the building blocks for hydrogen sulfide.
10. Pomegranate Juice
Loaded with naturally occurring vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, pomegranate juice can help lower cholesterol and prevent the development of hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. Drinking a single eight-ounce glass of pomegranate juice every day may dramatically slow the progress of cancer in the prostate.
The difference of life expectancy between men and women has actually decreased a bit in recent years but men still need to take a more active role in achieving and maintaining their own bodies and health.
Statistics show that overall, men still tend to drink and smoke more than women and they don't readily seek medical assistance as often as women. Eating the right super-foods may be a good first step toward better health in men.
In a Men's Health article online, those men who tried The New American Diet "lost an average of 16 pounds in just six weeks." Rather than relying on hard-to-assemble home workout equipment or paying for an expensive gym membership to get healthy, men should take a look at their diet first.
Guys, what is your favourite healthy food? Do you eat anything that is healthy or you are very selective with what you put in your mouth?