Women tend to outlive men. Studies have attributed this to changes in the way our cells handle the aging process, namely telomere shortening. Without going into the complex process, essentially each time our cells divide our telomeres are susceptible to shortening. Shorter telomeres over time leads to accelerated aging (amongst other health conditions).
There are a few factors that influence telomere shortening including stress, sedentary lifestyles, and a poor diet. Stress management and regular exercise are of the utmost importance, however in this article we’ll address the best foods a man can eat to support his longevity and wellbeing.
Fatty Fish, of which Salmon is the King, is rich in two nutrients that enhance longevity and wellbeing. The first of these nutrients is Omega 3. As the primary anti-inflammatory agent in our diets Omega 3 is important for heart health, joint health, memory and cognitive functioning, as well as the integrity of every cell membrane in the body. It is considered an important nutrient in the prevention of prostate cancer.
The second nutrient is Vitamin D. Primarily we obtain active Vitamin D from the sun, but often our lifestyles (long working hours) and a healthy fear of skin cancer keep us from spending sufficient time in the sunlight.
Aim to eat a serving of fatty fish (salmon, herring, sardines, or mackerel) two to three times per week. There are also plant-based sources of Omega 3 and Vitamin D such as Flax- or Chia-Seeds and Mushrooms respectively.
Dark green leafy vegetables such as Spinach are superfoods. Spinach is low in calories (and relatively cheap), whilst simultaneously being rich in a number of important nutrients. There are two minerals in particular that make spinach a great food to eat regularly: Iron and Magnesium. Iron is important for oxygenation of the blood, and as such for boosting energy levels and exercise performance among other things.
Spinach is one of the best dietary sources of magnesium. Magnesium is necessary for a healthy metabolism, regular heart rhythm, maintaining muscle and nerve function, blood pressure, and even the immune system. Magnesium is also considered preventative for prostate cancer.
Aim to eat a cup of dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach on a daily basis for optimal health.
3. Red Pepper
Forget the orange, red peppers are one of the most concentrated dietary sources of Vitamin C. Vitamin C serves as a master antioxidant and is important for cancer prevention as well as a healthy immune system. For men’s health, studies have suggested that Vitamin C may help improve fertility in infertile men by increasing both motility and total sperm count.
Include a variety of vitamin C sources on a regular basis. Aside from red peppers, good sources include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, potatoes, spinach, and tomatoes.
3. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are one of the great dietary sources of the mineral Zinc. Zinc is a key mineral used by the body in metabolizing nutrients, immune functioning, DNA and protein production, and cell division. Zinc is also especially important for men as it enables the body to produce testosterone, so regular intake of this mineral is vital for male fertility and sexual health.
We can obtain zinc from other dietary sources such as chicken, beef, lamb and other protein sources. However, with a lot of us cutting down slightly on our animal protein intake it is prudent to consider adding a sprinkling of seeds to our meals. This will become especially important for men struggling with low testosterone levels.
Enhanced blood flow, decreased blood pressure, and improved physical and sexual performance are just a few of the health benefits of the humble Beetroot. Beetroot is rich in a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are cancer preventative and liver supportive.
Of the utmost importance to men, Beetroot is a rich source of nitrates. Nitrates are important for dilation of the blood vessels (relaxing of the walls of blood vessels). They help to normalize blood pressure, as well as enhancing blood flow to all parts of the body.
Variety in the diet is important, so the suggestion here isn’t to eat beetroot every single day. Include a serving (1 cup) of beetroot as part of your regular rotation of fruits and vegetables.
A lot of men don’t get enough fibre in the diet. Oats are a great dietary source of fibre. Fibre helps the digestive system to “detox”, eliminates waste from the body, and keeps bowels functioning. There are many health conditions that can result from inadequate fibre in the diet, especially over long periods of time. Prevention is the key here, and the recommended intake is 30g of fibre on a daily basis. Foods rich in fibre include oats, wholegrains, fruits and vegetables, legumes, and nuts and seeds.
Good health begins with a healthy diet. At Lifestyle Health we advise getting your diet right first, and then pursuing adequate supplementation where necessary. To get all of these healthy foods into your day, and enhance longevity and wellbeing, see the sample meal plan below.
SAMPLE 1-DAY MEAL PLAN
FOR MEN’S LONGEVITY AND WELLBEING
Cooked oats topped with toasted pecan nuts, chopped apple, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of raw honey
Thinly sliced beef served with a salad of chopped beetroot, cooked butternut, and feta. Add a sprinkling of toasted pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of balsamic reduction.
Pan seared salmon and baked baby potatoes with fresh parsley. Serve with spinach sautéed with green peas and fresh mint.
Fresh fruit, nuts and seeds, chopped red pepper with hummus.
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