Health issues differ somewhat between men and women. We read so much about diet and nutrition for women, so I think its about time men had a look in!
So… here are some of my Top Foods for men.
Pumpkin seeds, Brazils, Walnuts, and Almonds
Nuts are often regarded and shunned as high-fat foods, with little understanding of their nutritional value. Some nuts are very high in fat; Brazil nuts are about 70% fat, so you wouldn’t want to eat too many at once, BUT only 10% of this fat is actually saturated, so as you can see the vast majority is “unsaturated” and therefore either essential, or potentially useful for the health of every cell in the body. The term “essential” in this context simply means our bodies do not manufacture certain fats (especially Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats), which means that the only ways of obtaining them is through the foods we eat… essential to life, so therefore essential to the diet! Most fresh unsalted and un-roasted nuts and seeds (NO… not S*NP*T peanut butter – UK readers will know what I mean here!), as well as oily fish such as salmon, avocados, vegetable and seed oils, and olive oil contain mostly essential fatty acids – in other words fats that we need and which are put to good use in the body. A handful of walnuts have as much omega-3-fatty acids as 3 ounces of salmon, which may help in light of the recent and on-going worries about farmed salmon. Not only do omega-3 fats help towards preventing heart disease, they also help to prevent arthritis and depression.
A 25g portion of brazils (about 10 nuts) would be an ideal snack or addition to cereal or fruit in the morning. It would give you a respectable 170 kcals, and 17 grams of fat. About 70g of fat in one day is acceptable, so as part of your whole diet, they are not fattening! Brazils are one of the highest food sources of the mineral selenium: an antioxidant that plays a vital role in the health of the heart and CV system, as well as the thyroid gland. Selenium is also regarded as a potent anti-cancer agent. It is often lacking in British diets, due to a drop in soil levels over the years and consequently a drop in crops. However, all is not lost if you eat a few Brazils on a regular basis… the above 25g portion would give you 383 micrograms (ug), way over the UK RNI of 45-75ug, so even half that amount would still be beneficial!
Seeds (especially pumpkin seeds) are considerably lower in fat than nuts; pumpkin seeds are only 45% fat, and again the majority is unsaturated. They are also higher in protein than many nuts, and contain more zinc too. Nuts are still a good source of protein, with almonds providing the highest amount, as well as the highest amount of calcium. Brazil nuts come top of the list again when it comes to magnesium, another essential mineral for men that works closely with calcium in bone and muscle function.
As you can see it is variety that counts and as we know it certainly provides the “spice” of life, but also provides the key to obtaining the full spectrum of nutrients we need to be healthy on a daily basis.
Did you know?
The body of a sperm contains 86% monounsaturated fat! So, healthy sperm need healthy fats (as well as a good dose of selenium!). The foods with the most similar fatty acid profiles to that of sperm are olive oil and macadamia nuts, but all the above foods come pretty close too! So guys, maybe this piece of information helps to put things a little more into perspective?!!
Flaxseeds and your Prostate
Some recent research showed men with early stage prostate cancer who ate a low-fat diet plus three tablespoons of ground flaxseed daily for just over a month saw their PSA levels drop. They also saw their testosterone and cholesterol levels go down. PSA, or prostate-specific antigen, is an indication of tumour growth. The men who had more advanced cancers saw the PSA scores continue to rise. But researchers speculate that had they stayed on a flaxseed diet longer, they might have seen some benefit as well.
Flaxseed is high in fibre, lignans and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which may help fight cancer.
Versatile soya foods include tofu, soya beans, and fermented products such as Tamari or soy sauce, and miso. Not only are they one of the best sources of vegetable proteins, but soya foods also boast the presence of plant substances called “isoflavones”. These have a number of health benefits for men. Soya protein helps to lower the amount of unhealthy LDL cholesterol in the blood, and soya isoflavones are now known to be protective against prostate cancer, as well as heart disease.
Firm tofu is the best way to enjoy soya’s health benefits. Contrary to popular belief, tofu really can be edible, and even tasty. To get the most from your tofu, try marinating it in soy sauce, lemon juice, oil, and herbs, then bake, grill or stir-fry it with your choice of veggies. If you have never contemplated using tofu, try the following recipe, which is delicious, quick and easy. water soluble bag manufacturers