Our nutrition expert Sophie Bruno asks men to get motivated for the right reasons.
There is a tendency in today’s society for men to be overly concerned about nutrition and diet optimization. This phenomenon is commonly driven by personal aspirations to enhance body image and build muscle, rather than being health motivated. This general male preoccupation with outward appearance and the correlation between food and its muscle building potential results in the overlooking of the broader spectrum and value of nutrition, and the power it holds to deliver a myriad of health benefits and reduce the risk of disease.
Here are a list of foods that men of all ages should aim to incorporate in their diet, to boost health, wellbeing and ensure longevity and quality of life.
Think red – red tomatoes, peppers
Health impact: fertility, prostate health
Red vegetables, in particular peppers, are one of the richest sources of vitamin C, with a single portion (1/2 red pepper) delivering over 200% of the recommended daily intake. Although vitamin C deficiency is rare in Europe, it may be interesting for those trying to meet the recommended requirements for health. Some research suggests that vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, may help to prevent sperm agglutination (sticking), a common phenomenon in infertility. Other benefits of vitamin C encompass boosting the immune system and promoting wound healing. Other rich sources of vitamin C include kiwi, broccoli, kale and oranges.
Red vegetables (especially tomatoes) also contain high levels of lycopene, which is the pigment responsible for delivering the red colouring. So, feast on tomatoes, watermelon and red grapefruit. Lycopene, a bioactive plant compound, also behaves as an antioxidant, which prevents free radical damage to cells. This cellular damage is the process that precipitates the onset of chronic diseases and the ageing process. Moreover, lycopene has been shown to have a strong inverse association with prostate cancer, by exerting an anti-carcinogenic role.
Advice: consume five or more portions of different fruits and vegetables per day, which should be rainbow coloured. Try to include one serving of red coloured fruit or vegetables.
Health impact: heart, erectile (dys)function and fertility
Plentiful levels of omega-3 can be found in oily fish such as salmon, fresh tuna (not tinned), sardines, herring, mackerel, trout and anchovies. These fats are referred to as essential since they cannot be synthesized in the body and can only be exclusively obtained from diet. Oily fish is reputed to deliver many health benefits, including augmenting the level of good cholesterol (HDL-cholesterol). Furthermore, omega-3s are involved in the production of the compound prostaglandin, which mitigates inflammation.