Adopt a puppy, and you'll get a complete list of care and feeding instructions.
Marry a man, and you're on your own.
Consider this: Your local Petco even stocks different foods to feed your dog at different times of his life, and there's always a helpful sales person on hand to give you advice. But just try looking around your local supermarket for the same sort of guidance. ("My husband keeps scratching himself and rubbing up against people's legs. What can I do?")
While men and women have similar nutritional needs, they don't have similar nutritional habits. The average American man takes in about 2,700 calories a day—500 more than he should, and about 650 more calories than the average woman eats per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control. And much more of that food is pure junk: Guys tend to eat nearly twice as much salt as they should, and their diets are typically lacking in vitamins A, D and E. And men eat only about half of the 38 grams of fiber they should consume each day.
If you were Betty Draper, perhaps you could solve this problem by whipping up a healthy dinner each night and packing him a carefully curated lunch box each morning. But chances are you're not only working as many hours as he is, you're also carrying more of the burden at home, as well. But what you can do to ensure your partner is happier and healthier (or at least sticks around long enough to pay down the mortgage) is to encourage your guy to eat more of certain foods—foods that have been shown particularly effective at flattening the male belly and turbocharging the little man in the middle. Leave more of these foods around in the fridge and see if you don't get a marital upgrade—and then consider sharing the cool new site for guys, Best Life, with him. He'll get a dose of things like Foods That Keep You Young Forever, as well as style and relationship (yay!) tips.
"Spinach is rich in magnesium, a mineral that decreases inflammation in blood vessels, increasing blood flow," explains Cassie Bjork, RD, LD of Healthy Simple Life. And when it comes to a man, blood flow is everything. "Increased blood flow drives blood to the extremities, which, like Viagra, can increase arousal and make sex more pleasurable," says psychotherapist and sex expert Tammy Nelson Ph.D. Spinach is also rich in folate, which increases blood flow to the nether regions, helping to protect your guy against age-related sexual issues. Speaking of, don't miss these 30 Best Proteins for The Penis.
Recent University of Texas findings suggest that men who drink two to three cups of java a day—or 85 to 170 milligrams of caffeine from other beverages—are 42 percent less likely to have erectile dysfunction than those who consume less of the stimulant. And those who throw back four to seven cups were 39 percent less likely to have the condition. The trend holds true among overweight, obese and hypertensive men, but not for those with diabetes, a condition that often causes the issue. So, how exactly does drinking coffee keep things going strong? The scientists say that the stimulant triggers a series of reactions in the body that ultimately increase blood flow to the penis.
Tom Brad might not eat nightshades, but you should double down on the marinara to protect your man. Men who eat more than 10 servings of tomatoes each week have an 18 percent lower risk of developing prostate cancer — the result of lycopene, an antioxidant which fights off toxins that can cause DNA and cell damage —according to a study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention. A previous study found the garden vegetable could also improve sperm morphology (shape); men with the highest tomato intake contributed to between 8 and 10 percent more "normal" sperm.
Watermelon is one of the richest natural sources of L-citrulline, an amino acid that can help make your erection harder. Once it's in the body, it converts to L-arginine, stimulating the production of nitric oxide, which increases blood flow to the penis, strengthening erections.
The brew is rich in compounds called catechins, which have been shown to blast away belly fat and speed the liver's capacity for turning fat into energy. But that's not all: Catechins also boost desire by promoting blood flow to your nether region. "Catechins kill off free radicals that damage and inflame blood vessels, increasing their ability to transport blood," says Bjork. "Catechins also cause blood vessel cells to release nitric oxide, which increases the size of the blood vessels, leading to improved blood flow," she explains. Bjork suggests drinking four cups a day to feel the full effects. Make the most of the benefits from tea with The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse! Test panelists lost up to 10 pounds in one week!
Thanks to the pine nuts that provide its base, this sauce is rich in zinc. Men with higher levels in their system have been shown to have higher sex drives than those with lower levels. Pine nuts are also a good source of magnesium, which boosts testosterone and helps keep sperm healthy and viable.
According to a study printed in Nutrition Journal, vino could elevate your testosterone levels. In lab tests, researchers found that quercetin, a compound in wine, blocks an enzyme that causes the body to excrete testosterone, thereby increasing the amount of T circulating in the blood. Wine's rich antioxidant profile also triggers nitric oxide production, which relaxes artery walls. This increases blood flow down south, creating feelings of sexual excitement. And red wine is particularly rich in heart-healthy resveratrol, which will help keep your love's heart in top form.
It's no secret that oily coldwater fish like wild salmon, sardines, and tuna are overflowing with omega-3 fatty acids, but here's something you may not know: The nutrient not only benefits your heart but also raises dopamine levels in the brain. "Dopamine will make you feel more relaxed and connected to your partner, which makes sex more fun," says psychotherapist and sex expert Tammy Nelson.
Bikinis, models, waxes … Is there anything Brazilian that's not sexy? Selenium is a trace mineral found in Brazil nuts that plays an important role in hormone health. You only need a tiny bit for healthy sperm, but a tiny deficiency can be catastrophic for reproductive health. In one study, men who had lower testosterone and were infertile also had significantly lower selenium levels than the fertile group. Supplementing with the mineral improved chances of successful conception by 56 percent. And a second study that included 69 infertile men with low levels of the mineral, found selenium supplementation could significantly improve sub-par sperm motility associated with testosterone deficiency. Moreover, 11 percent of the men successfully impregnated their partners during the trial! Bonus: Brazil nuts are one of the 20 Healthy Fats to Make You Thin!
Pumpkin seeds are one of the best dietary sources of zinc and magnesium—essential minerals shown to boost testosterone levels and growth factor hormone, especially when combined. In fact, college football players who took a nightly zinc-magnesium supplement showed a 30 percent increase in testosterone levels and a 13 to 16 percent increase in leg strength, one eight-week trial found. The seeds are also a rich source polyunsaturated fatty acids shown to boost prostaglandins — hormone-like substances that play a key role in libido.
Honey, unlike table sugar, is packed with beneficial compounds like quercetin, which has been shown to aid athletic endurance and ward off depression—so Sam will be more sporty and less sad. Honey also has a less dramatic impact on one's blood-sugar levels than regular sugar, so it won't send his body into fat-storage mode the way the white stuff can. Discover 30 Easy Ways to Stop Eating So Much Sugar to cut out the sweet stuff whenever possible.
As men age, their estrogen levels gradually rise, while testosterone levels fall. Anti-cancer compounds called indoles can help strike a balance. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli are rich in indoles, which boost testosterone production by breaking down and flushing the system of excess estrogen, which inhibits the production of male sex hormones. In one study, supplementing with indole-3-carbinol from cruciferous vegetables for just 7 days cut the estrogen hormone estradiol in half for men. Another study found indole supplementation significantly increased urinary excretion of estrogens.
Hus-Banned: The Worst Foods for Him
If you want a happy marriage, keep these foods out of the fridge.
Why he should skip it: It may one day be known as The Clinton Vegetable. "Celery contains androsterone, a male sex pheromone released through perspiration, which limited research has shown to increase flirty behavior among females," says dietitian Keri Gans, author of The Small Change Diet. Ingesting the androsterone can also boost male arousal, and cause a dude's body to send off scents and signals that make him more desirable to other women, according to Alan Hirsch, M.D., author of Scentsational Sex.
Why he should skip it: Drinking soda on the reg is a terrible idea, and that goes for diet soda too. Artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame, directly affect your serotonin levels. Serotonin is a vital hormone in fostering a sense of well-being or happiness. Low serotonin, say researchers, is associated with lower libido in both men and women. (Perhaps you should serve diet soda to your girlfriends if your man eats lots of celery.)
Why he should skip it: What's more manly than pounding a couple of frosty brewskis? Actually, quite a lot, once you consider that beer could be to blame for a lack of pep between the sheets. While all alcohol affects the liver's ability to get rid of excess estrogen, phytoestrogens — plant-derived estrogens that monkey with the fertility of the mammals that consume them — are present in the hops used to make beer. IPA, or India Pale Ale, is a particularly hoppy brew, and hence may have a greater estrogenic effect; the higher hops levels were originally introduced to keep beer fresh longer as it made its way from England to India.
Why he should skip it: If date night regularly includes sushi, order your appetizer wisely! Another name for edamame is soybeans. Just a half serving of soy per day was enough to slash sperm count by 40 percent in healthy males, the Harvard School of Public Health found.
Why he should skip it: The main compound in licorice — glycyrrhizic acid, which gives licorice root its distinctive flavor — can suppress testosterone production. In one study, seven healthy male subjects were given 7 grams of licorice each day via commercially available candy tablets (containing 0.5 grams of glycyrrhizic acid). Four days into the study, the subjects' total testosterone levels had decreased by 35 percent. Make sure you know about these 27 Foods That Mess With Your Sex Drive while you're thinking about it!
CHEAP COLD CUTS
Why he should skip it: Unlike the plastic wrap you use on your leftovers, the stuff that wraps meat and cheese in the supermarket is usually made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which leaches into fatty foods and causes hormonal shifts. And lower-quality meat can in itself lead to a low-wattage sex drive, because most deli meat, hot dogs, and hamburgers contain added hormones, preservatives, and antibiotics that can bring about cause a hormonal imbalance in your body. Choose leaner and un-processed cuts like chicken or turkey to keep your sex drive revved. Buy your meat right from the butcher, and have it wrapped in brown paper. And then load up your grocery cart with these other 20 Foods That Turn on Your Sex Drive!