Does your diet include these superfoods?
If you’ve got friends on social media who are into healthy living, then you’ve probably seem a picture of leafy vegetables with the quote – “Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.”
It’s a saying that’s commonly attributed to Hippocrates, but there’s no evidence that the father of Western medicine actually said it.
Food is food and medicine is medicine. Yet, there’s a nexus where nutrition and pharmacology can co-exist to increase your longevity, prevent certain ailments, and even cure certain diseases.
The foods you eat contain essential elements, minerals and chemical compounds that have both short and long-term effects on our bodies.
There are foods that increase blood flow, foods that reduce cholesterol, even foods that give you a dopamine rush. That’s simply remarkable when you think about it.
Food might not be medicine, but it can be thought of as a tool to promote health and fitness. I love tools; don’t you?
Foods Specifically for Men
As men, we’re predisposed to battle certain physical ailments in our lifetime. For example, men are more susceptible to prostate and bladder cancer.
Although there are no magic bullets in the pantry that can fight our battles for us, there are foods that can support our well-being as men. So, here’s a list of super foods that you should be eating and why.
1. Brazil Nuts
The size of your prostate grows throughout your adult life and if you notice that you have trouble fully emptying your bladder or you’re experience frequent urination, then you might be exhibiting symptoms of an enlarged prostate.
Your doctor might advise you to wait and watch, take prescription medication or simply eat foods rich in selenium and zinc.
Both are essential minerals that reduce oxidative stress in your cells and are known to decrease the risk of prostate cancer.
Although, it’s important to note that a study conducted in 2014 found that you should not take selenium or zinc supplements or pills to improve prostate health, but obtain it naturally through your food.
That’s where Brazil nuts come into the picture. Amazonian natives have been eating these large nuts for years to reap their nutritional benefits.
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They have an acute triangular shape with sloping sides that are encased in a thin, dark brown sheath. Just a single ounce of Brazil nuts contains more than 7 times your daily value of selenium and a third of your daily value of zinc.
An ounce also contains close to 100% of your daily value of magnesium (which boosts testosterone) and %100 of your daily value of phosphorous (which helps filter waste from your kidneys).
Prostate cancer is the second leading cancer among men. One in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime and the American Cancer Society reports that there have already been 174,000 cases of prostate cancer in 2019.
There are several ways to treat and prevent prostate cancer. One of the best ways is to eat foods rich in antioxidants.
Specifically, lycopene is the most powerful antioxidant in our food, and emerging studies show that lycopene can be instrumental in preventing prostate cancer.
Lycopene is a carotenoid that gives food a reddish color. Think grapefruits and tomatoes.
The food with the highest lycopene levels is guava. It has twice the lycopene of tomatoes, more potassium than a banana, and four times the vitamin C as an orange.
Guavas are grown in humid, subtropical locations like Central and South America. It has a pink, seedy flesh with a sweet flavor all its own.
You can eat the flesh, juice it, or combine it with other healthy ingredients for a lycopene-packed smoothie.
Bladder cancer affects more men than women and it’s especially pernicious. It reoccurs at a high rate. That’s why it’s important to eat foods that inhibit the growth of cancer cells and promote healthy urinary function.
Broccoli is high on that list of foods. It’s a cruciferous vegetable in the same family as cauliflower. You might already know that broccoli is loaded with vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. Yet, have you ever heard of glucosinolates. Big word. Big power.
Simply put, it’s a biological compound found in broccoli and other similar vegetables. When you chew broccoli, those glucosinolates break down into isothiocyanates that have been shown in studies to halt the growth of bladder cancer cells.
Your parents have been telling you to eat broccoli since you were a baby. Those stalky, little trees can be eaten raw or cooked, but steaming broccoli is the best way to preserve the antioxidant compounds.
Additional benefits of eating broccoli include high levels of beta-carotene, iron, B vitamins, and selenium.
There are numerous benefits to eating acai. The berries are loaded with antioxidants, amino acids and acai berries don’t have that that much sugar in them either. Acai is a super fruit that is only grown in the Amazon rainforest.
It’s a palm berry that has a dark purple outer casing and yellow flesh inside.
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Acai is often presented as a frozen puree paste or as a dried powder because it doesn’t last long once it’s been processed for consumption.
It has a blueberry, chocolatey taste that pairs well with bananas and nuts. It boosts energy levels in the body and mind, making it a great pre-workout snack. So, think about making an acai smoothie before you pick up an energy drink.
Acai is even thought to kill cancer cells in the body, but scientific studies have been inconclusive. What’s more concrete are the benefits of anthocyanin, an amino-acid which is abundantly found in acai berries.
Anthocyanin has been shown to lower oxidative stress and inflammation in brain cells. As blood flow improves and synaptic response is stimulated, your memory is improved, your cognitive functions become enhanced and you can effectively lower your risk for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
5. Dark Chocolate
It might come as a surprise to find chocolate on a list of foods men should eat, but it’s true. Chocolate is good for you, especially dark chocolate.
It has special benefits for your sexual health and performance. Dark chocolate has a high magnesium content. Just 3 and a half ounces can net you more than 200 mg of magnesium. It boosts testosterone.
A recent study in Biological Trace Element Research, reported that men who increased their magnesium intake daily for four weeks experienced a rise in both free and total testosterone levels.
Dark chocolate also contains cocoa flavanols. These compounds increase blood flow and circulation. Problems with blood flow and circulation are common side effects of smoking, drinking too much alcohol and skipping gym days.
It leads to erectile dysfunction. So, if you’re feeling lucky, pop a couple of squares of dark chocolate before the big date.
The key thing to remember with chocolate is portion control. It’s got about 170 calories per ounce, so go for a dark chocolate that has high levels of cocoa broken into squares. That way, you get the best benefits in a manageable portion.