On average, men pay less attention to their health than women and live shorter lives. The good news is that the top men’s health risks—heart disease, cancer, and unintentional injury—can be prevented through good diet and lifestyle choices.
Here are some of the foods that have been linked to good health in men.
Lean Red Meat and Whey Protein
Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, a dietitian for the Pittsburg Steelers recommends men eat lean red meats over chicken, in an article published on WebMD. While a little higher in fat, lean red meats contain a lot of protein and more importantly are a great source for leucine, an amino acid that stimulates protein synthesis in the muscles helping strengthen them. Beef and pork are good red meat options, she said.
Whey, the watery part of milk that is separated from the curd during cheese making and found at the top of many yogurts when you first open the container, is rich in minerals and vitamins and is also a great source of leucine. Bonci recommended Greek yogurt as a tasty and convenient way to get the benefits of whey.
Eggs and Avocados
Eggs are also a great source of protein, and the yolks are filled with iron and the antioxidant lutein, which is good for the eyes. Iron helps distribute oxygen from the lungs throughout the body and lutein plays an essential in reducing and destroying free radicals, which contribute to numerous chronic diseases.
Naturally sodium and cholesterol free, avocados are a nutrient booster, enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta carotene, and lutein. Avocados can also help cut bad cholesterol (LDL).
Avocados are classed a nutrient-dense food, containing nearly 20 vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, which are nutrients derived from plants that give your body extra disease fighting power. Also, surprisingly, avocados are high in fiber, with just half a medium-sized one providing around 20 percent of the recommended amount of daily fiber.
Bananas and Other Berries
Bananas—which are classified as a berry—play a critical role in muscle function. Packed with potassium, they ensure full contraction of the muscles. No potassium, no contraction. So, however you like them, blended in a shake, or straight out of the fruit basket, pop a few in your diet. They are also good for bone health and blood pressure too.
Berries such as blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, and cranberries are packed full with antioxidants, which also help block free radicals, chemicals that damage cells and can contribute to cancer. Since fresh berries can be expensive year round, use frozen berries when they are out of season as a great addition to smoothies or on your cereal at breakfast.
Fatty Fish and Brown Rice
Oily fish, such as salmon, herring, sardines, and halibut are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that can protect against heart disease. In fact as little as two servings per week can help reduce your risk, so be sure to work in a couple of plates for a healthier heart.
Rich in fiber, brown rice helps in maintaining a stable weight and has good disease preventing abilities lowering not only the risk of heart disease, but also Type 2 diabetes. So add some brown rice to your choice of oily fish (and vegetables) for a heart-healthy meal.
Orange and Leafy Green Vegetables
Beta-carotene, lutein, and vitamin C have all been correlated to reduced prostate cancer occurrence. Orange vegetables are full of these nutrients, so add a little color to your dish for prostate health.
Spinach, collard greens, and kale also help in preventing prostate cancer, as well as supporting eye health. Packed with lutein and zeaxanthin, leafy green vegetables have the ability to protect against cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, an eye disease that impairs vision. Lutein and zeaxanthin are both carotenoids abundantly found at the back of the eye, the macular region, and are believed to help filter out damaging blue light and prevent free radical damage. A great way to eat kale is to boil and mash it with potatoes.
When it comes to disease prevention, research is continually finding new links and sometimes disproving old ones. So it’s good to keep up to date with the latest findings and consult your doctor or a licensed dietician about any health conditions.
Image of thick, juicy grilled fillet steak via Shutterstock