11 Foods Men Should Eat Every Day, Say Experts
So you already know about the healthy superfoods to eat every day. You've got the best foods for men tacked to your refrigerator, and in general, you stick to a pretty healthy diet. But how about some picks for foods you should eat daily, based on the unique and common health issues males face? We thought you deserved that, too.
Read on for nutritionist-approved 11 top choices for superfoods men should eat every day of the week. And to ensure your health is in tip-top shape, be sure you're also stocked up on The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
Not so fun fact: "Nine out of 10 men aren't getting their five servings of vegetables a day, three of which should be coming from leafy greens like spinach," says Maggie Moon, MS, RD, author of The MIND Diet. "A healthy diet pattern that includes leafy greens most days of the week is linked to better cognitive function for men. Spinach also supplies natural precursors to nitric oxide, which helps with healthy blood flow that's important for exercise and heart health."
Moon's go-tos with Popeye's favorite green?
- Add a cup or so of spinach into your next smoothie or protein shake.
- Toss some spinach into pasta right before serving so they wilt into the dish.
- Stuff baby portobello mushroom caps with sautéed spinach and the leftover mushroom stems, along with feta cheese, garlic, and olive oil, and roast at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. (Totally making this for dinner tonight!)
Load up on this nutrient-dense nut as much as you can during snack time, gentlemen. "Almonds are an excellent source of magnesium. There is preliminary research that shows that men deficient in magnesium may have lower levels of testosterone," offers Keri Gans, RDN, nutritionist and author of The Small Change Diet. "Magnesium helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, helps your cells to make energy, and is important for the health of your heart and blood vessels."
We're not talking about the sugar-laden types brimming with artificial ingredients. Instead, opt for unsweetened varieties and add fruit, nuts, and other toppings. "Men often think that only women need to be concerned about bone health and therefore skimp on making sure they too consume adequate calcium. Men are also at risk for osteoporosis," says Gans.
Gans recommends a couple of creative ways men can eat more of the superfood yogurt:
- A single container of yogurt can easily be enjoyed daily as a mid-morning or afternoon snack.
- If you're making a morning smoothie, yogurt could be a simple ingredient to include that provides a whole lot of nutrition.
Still stuck for ideas? Try one of these 26 Things You Can Make with Yogurt.
Get excited for tomato season, fellas. Men should shoot to eat foods that are high in lycopene, such as tomatoes. "The reason for this is because the antioxidant lycopene has been shown to protect men from prostate cancer, a concern for all males as they age," says Daily Harvest's nutritionist, Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN. Try whipping up this easy tomato sauce recipe or add tomato paste to curries, pasta sauce, and more, for an extra hit of lycopene.
P.S. Lighten up that pasta bowl by replacing half your meal with zucchini noodles (zoodles, as folks in the know call them) or whole wheat pasta.
Good news, carb-o-vores. "Carbohydrates are often neglected in men's diets with the popularity of low-carb diets. This can leave their energy feeling low. Potatoes offer more potassium than a banana, half the recommended vitamin C for the day, and fiber for digestion. Plus, potatoes offer carbohydrates to help fuel and replenish exercise performance," says Jim White, RDN, ACSM Ex-P, Owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios.
"Potatoes are so versatile," White says, and he recommends some healthy ways to get your fill:
- Make potatoes into healthy potato wedges with olive oil and sea salt in the air fryer.
- Add potatoes (or sweet potatoes) to protein smoothies.
- Simply bake the potatoes and add cottage cheese on top for extra protein.
These little guys might not be as popular as other fish, but they're a boon for men's health (and your wallet). "While many men get their protein from artery-clogging meats like cheeseburgers, steak, sausage, and bacon that are high in saturated fat, increase inflammation, and that contribute to heart disease, the leading killer in men, sardines do just the opposite," says Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT & Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, The Nutrition Twins, co-founders of the 21-Day Body Reboot.
"Sardines are rich in protein and are one of the best sources of omega-3 fats, which help to decrease inflammation, lessening the risk of all chronic diseases, including heart disease and its risk factors such as lowering triglycerides and blood pressure and reducing the buildup of plaque in the arteries," the twins say.
Here's how to eat sardines:
- Pull open the can and enjoy them alongside crackers.
- Add sardines to scrambled eggs.
- Plop a few sardines into a tomato sauce.
The Nutrition Twins also point out another bonus of these tiny but mighty herring family species. Sardines are quite low in toxins, "so you don't have to worry about mercury as you do with tuna or PCBs as you do with salmon."
"About one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime," says Christy Brissette, MS, RD, President of 80 Twenty Nutrition in Chicago. While that's a harrowing statistic, your lifestyle choices may help reduce your chance of getting the disease. "Being overweight or obese is linked to a higher risk of developing advanced prostate cancer, so getting to a healthy weight is a key part of prevention. Eating more fruit and vegetables is linked to a lower risk of some cancers and help you lose weight and keep it off. Blueberries are only 80 calories a cup and are a good source of dietary fiber (3.6 grams per cup) and vitamin C (3.9 milligrams per cup)."
Brissette swears by her super simple Blueberry Chia Jam recipe, which is a welcome addition to yogurt parfaits, protein pancakes, marinades, and more.
RELATED: Your guide to the anti-inflammatory diet that heals your gut, slows the signs of aging, and helps you lose weight.
"Heart disease is the leading threat to men's health. Being at a healthy weight and eating more fruit and vegetables can help lower your risk of heart disease," says Brissette. "Avocados are a heart-healthy fruit; more than 75% of the fat in avocados is unsaturated. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fats is linked to a lower risk of heart disease."
In addition to fiber (about three grams per serving), these green fruits also boast heart-healthy potassium (about 250 milligrams per serving), which helps counterbalance the effects of sodium on blood pressure. Take Brissette's recommendation and replace saturated fats in baking with avocado in a 1:1 ratio in cookies, pancakes, and muffins.
"Men should be eating whole grains every day. Although whole grains have numerous health benefits, of particular interest to men may be the link with a lower risk of colorectal cancer. Men are more likely than women to develop colorectal cancer. Further, higher red meat consumption, which is more common in men than in women, is also a risk factor for colorectal cancer development," says Kelly Toups, MLA, RD, LDN Director of Nutrition at food and nutrition nonprofit Oldways. "A report from the American Institute of Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund found that about three servings of whole-grain foods per day (90 grams) reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by 17% and that the evidence for whole grains is actually stronger than the evidence for ﬁber alone."
Toups' advice to get more whole grains?
- Top off a salad with cooked wheat berries or wild rice in place of croutons.
- Use brown rice or quinoa in whole-grain burrito bowls.
- Serve grilled veggie kebabs over whole-grain bulgur or freekeh.
For more ideas, there are plenty of grains with as many health benefits as quinoa.
A Glass of Red Wine
Emphasis on just one glass, folks. That's five ounces. With that in mind, a glass of red vino might be a boon for your brain: "Men who took part in the MIND research kept their brain 7.5 years cognitively younger when a glass of polyphenol-rich wine was part of their routine. Another recent study found that red wine reduced the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease in elderly men but not women," says Moon. If you want to try something other than sipping on it, try reducing red wine, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and herbs in a pan and use it as a sauce you can pour over fish or tofu, which are both brain-healthy proteins.
It's the prostate-cancer-protecting lycopene that makes watermelon a superfood that men should slip into their regular diets as much as they can. "Add it to a smoothie, eat it super cold out of the fridge on a hot summer day, blend it into a juice, or make it into ice pops," says Shapiro. You can also try it in plenty of unique and fun watermelon recipes.