Men’s health is a subject often overlooked. Many American men have a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle, which sets the stage for the development of several diseases including prostate health, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. Good nutrition is vitally important for regeneration and repair, optimal metabolic functioning, and to prevent the development of chronic degenerative disease.
Top foods and nutrients to optimize men’s health
Oysters, other shellfish, and most types of seafood are rich in zinc. Zinc is imperative for the heart, muscles, and reproductive system. Research shows low levels of zinc are linked to male infertility and poor sperm quality. Other rich sources of zinc are turkey, free-range beef, nuts, and seeds.
Avocados, olive oil, sunflower oil/Seeds. Avocados are high in monosaturated fat and consumption has been shown to decrease LDL, increase HDL, and reduce cardiovascular events. Olive oil is high in oleic acid (also known as Omega 9- a specific kind of monosaturated fat). Oleic acid lowers fasting glucose and insulin levels and enhances blood flow, which could lead to better diabetes control and a lower risk for other diseases.
Whole grains (oatmeal, barley, rice, quinoa, millet) are not only full of soluble fiber, B-vitamins, and various other nutrients, but also rich in lutein. Lutein has been shown to reduce risk of prostate cancer by 25 percent and has a synergistic relationship with lycopene.
Speaking of lycopene: Tomatoes have large amounts of lycopene. Lycopene is a phytochemical that acts as a powerful antioxidant and prevents free radicals from damaging DNA cells by inhibiting tumor development. Lycopene is also known to lower HDL and improve cardiovascular health.
Edamame and other non-processed soy are composed of isoflavones, which are weak estrogen-like plant compounds that help prevent prostate growth by blocking 5-alpha-reductase.
Dark chocolate help lower levels of LDL, improve circulation, and regulate blood pressure. Issues with circulation often lead to erection problems, so foods that are heart-healthy also are beneficial to sexual health!
Salmon, herring, sardines, halibut, and other fatty fish are excellent sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3s protect against heart disease.
Red bell peppers, carrots, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes are great source of beta-carotene, lutein, vitamin C, and vitamin E. These nutrients protect cells from free radicals, prevent heart disease and cancer, and may prevent an enlarged prostate.
Spinach, collard greens, broccoli, and kale can help the eyes as well as the prostate. These leafy green vegetables have plenty of lutein and zeaxanthin. Both nutrients protect against cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, an eye disease that impairs vision. Broccoli has strong anticancer properties that help protect the prostate and colon.
A Healthy Dinner for Men
- Grilled Shellfish with Orange Ginger Vinaigrette
- Halibut Ceviche with Avocado Salsa
- Summer Succotash
Grilled Shellfish with Orange Ginger Vinaigrette
1 1/2-pound lobsters, body and tails split in half and gills removed
½ lb of oysters
½ lb scallops
one dozen mussels
1 lb of shrimp (peeled and deveined!)
2 dozen littleneck clams
3 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
- Light a grill or preheat a grill pan.
- Soak 6 to 8 bamboo skewers for about 15 minutes.
- Twist off the lobster claws and use the base of a knife handle to crack them.
- Arrange the lobster on a baking sheet and brush the cut sides of the bodies with some of olive oil; season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Thread shrimp and scallops on the skewers, brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Grill 2-3 minutes.
- On the sides of the grill place the clams, oysters and the Mussels cup-side down (to retain moisture). Grill for 5-7 minutes until they pop open then remove from grill.
- Grill the lobster claws over moderate heat for about 5 minutes.
- Take the lobster off of the sheet and place to the hot side of the grill cut side down; grill to brown.
- Generously brush the bodies with more olive oil and close the lid.
- Grill until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Orange Ginger Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon chili paste
4 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tbsp of tamari
1 tbsp of fresh ginger
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
In a bowl, whisk the ingredients together and serve
1 1/4 lb. halibut fillets
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2 tomatoes, diced
2 scallions, chopped
2 serrano chilies, seeded and minced
⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp of fresh parsley
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- Cut the halibut into small pieces and put them into a glass bowl.
- Pour the lime juice over the fish.
- Let the fish stand in the lime juice for 3 to 4 hours.
- Drain the fish and pat dry with paper towels.
- Put the fish cubes back into the bowl and add the scallions, parsley, tomatoes, chilies and cilantro.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Stir to mix well and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- After 2 hours, add avocado to the bowl.
- Drizzle the ceviche with the olive oil.
1 lb sweet potatoes, diced
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
2 cups of spinach
½ cup of olive oil
2 cups fresh corn kernels
1 zucchini squash quartered
8 oz shelled edamame
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/4 cup scallions
- Boil potatoes.
- Heat sunflower oil then sauté potatoes and red onions with salt and pepper to taste, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add and sauté corn and squash.
- Stir in edamame, spinach and sauté, stirring, until heated through.
- Add chives
- Season with salt and pepper.
Written by Noe Ferullo, NCNM Naturopathic Medicine Program. Edited by Dr. Elise Schroeder