Often, we think men are not really interested in improving their health. On the contrary, men want to always remain strong and active in career, business, work and all other community arenas. Food provides them energy to be present as much as they can in all these areas. With the wrong kinds of foods, they can become tired, slow and lack the desire to participate actively. What they eat, matters. This article is mainly written for men interested in improving their prostate health, sexual performance, heart health, preventing strokes/heart attack, and building lean muscle naturally. Although, this article can also be of great assistance to women raising young men or cooking for and with adult males. Heck, this might even be a great article to share with all the great men in your life during this lovely Valentine’s day celebration period and beyond. The men will surely thank you for this Valentine’s gift that keeps on giving.
#1 FOODS TO IMPROVE PROSTATE HEALTH
The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2019 we will see, “about 174,650 new cases of prostate cancer [and] about 31,620 deaths from prostate cancer”. Alarming! Men have a gland called the prostate gland which produces semen so that sperms can basically swim easily. Unfortunately, since it is located around the urethra (“pee tube”), when the cells overgrow and tumors begin to form, it squeezes this urethra and it becomes hard for you to urinate. Enlargement or growth of the prostate gland could be a sign of cancer. You might notice a weak stream of urine when you urinate, frequent urination or leaking of urine among other symptoms. It is important to check with your medical doctor, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
With your doctor’s advice, the following foods may help improve your overall prostate health naturally. In order to improve prostate health and promote the healthy production of sperm, elements like zinc, selenium and sulfur are important diet components.
*Brazilian or cashew nuts, red meat, and oysters contain healthy amounts of selenium and/or zinc that helps to keep a healthy prostate. Zinc is required to produce sperm, increase testosterone, boost overall immunity and maintain good prostate prostate health.
*Broccoli, cabbage, mustard greens, kale, cauliflower, etc have good amounts of sulfur which has anti cancer properties. According to Erin Richman of the University of California, San Francisco, lead author of The CaPSURE study which tracked 1,560 men with prostate cancer for two years, “men who consumed a high amount of cruciferous vegetables after diagnosis had a reduced risk of having their disease recur”.
*Green tea contains antioxidants (catechins like epigallocatechin gallate-EGCG) that promote prostate health in particular.
*We cannot talk about prostate health without talking about tomatoes. Yes tomatoes! Studies have shown that a compound in tomatoes can help control the rapid growth of the prostate in later years of life.The compound called lycopene, that gives the tomatoes it’s color, seems to greatly enhance prostate health. It is very important to note that, this lycopene becomes more effective only when the tomatoes are processed and not when they are fresh. So tomato paste or juice or cooked is better than fresh tomatoes.
#2 FOODS TO IMPROVE SEXUAL HEALTH/ HEART HEALTH/ENERGY
Many men are always seeking to improve their sexual performance as they get older. Great sexual performance is always linked to great blood flow. This means great heart health translates to excellent sexual performance. So which foods can help you improve your heart health so you can improve your sexual performance?
*Chew on more bitter kola aka garcinia kola; a bitter fruit from a west African rain forest tree. The kola is brown looking, similar to the shape of kidney beans. Researchers at Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria tested the effects of garcinia kola against the symptoms of arthritis. Olayinka Adegbehingbe wrote and published the results in July 2008 in the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research. Interestingly, the side effects reported from the kola use in this study were weight loss, increase sex drive, and extended sleep. Make sure you chew the kola about five minutes or less before performance for effectiveness.
*Eat more watermelons for more healthy erections. They contain a very potent antioxidant called L-Citrulline shown to improve erections. L-citrulline transforms to L-arginine once in the body. L-arginine then triggers the production of nitric oxide, which as we know helps to increase blood flow by causing blood vessels to relax.
*Beet juice. Studies have shown that beet juice helps to increase energy and contains nitrates which transform to nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide helps to relax blood vessels and blood flow to the heart and penis.
*Eat more dark chocolate. Studies have shown that eating dark chocolate (with a cocoa content of 70% and higher) could improve your magnesium levels (which relaxes arteries), improve blood flow and increase energy for better performance. Sweet, milky chocolates do not count here unfortunately.
#3 FOODS TO BURN FAT AND BUILD LEAN MUSCLE
Studies have shown that muscle building helps significantly with fat burning and weight loss. Adequate protein intake is a necessary ingredient for building muscle. Generally most men already eat more than enough protein required for healthy muscle growth.So the key in building muscle is making sure the protein you eat is being properly absorbed and made use of. The protein source also is very crucial on the quality of the muscle that is ultimately built. So what foods can men eat in order to build healthy muscle and target fat loss?
*Berries, apples, grapefruit, banana, spinach, celery, cilantro, cucumber, pomegranates and cherries. These fruits and vegetables contain fiber that is natural food for our probiotics or stomach bacteria. They help balance our bacteria and further help in proper digestion and absorption of the protein we eat.
*Avocado, walnuts, eggs, flaxseed, coconut oil, palm oil, pumpkin seeds and fatty fish. These foods contain healthy fats that help burn unwanted fats and build muscle.
*Great sources of protein are organic eggs, red meat, quinoa, tofu, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, chia seeds and almond butter. The quality of these proteins are very important. The quality of muscles you want to build, would depend on the quality of protein you eat and ultimately digest and absorp.
In addition to eating the right foods, some form of moderate exercise about 4 times weekly is necessary. Weight lifting twice a week is a great addition to one or two days of exercise. Walking or jogging outside or on the treadmill or even bike riding are great forms of moderate cardio to incorporate into your workout. Make an appointment with your coach or doctor and draw up a plan of action to take back your health. Good luck.
WLS, FNS (NASM)