13 Best Summer Superfoods for Men
Tasty summer foods that will help supply the nutrients you need? We got 'em: Here are expert picks specifically for men.
Why men need different nutrients
Men and women don’t always have the same nutrient needs. Men are typically taller and have more muscle than women—so in addition to calories and protein, they also need larger amounts of other nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin K and more. But don’t worry! Plenty of superfoods supply necessary nutrients for men. We went to the experts to get a list of top summer superfoods for guys. Here are some superfoods everyone should eat more of.
“This super fruit is available year round but now is at peak season,” says Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and nutrition partner with the National Mango Board. “Mango is a satisfying sweet treat packed with nutrients, including 100 percent of your vitamin C per cup. It’s also a good source of filling dietary fiber, a nutrient that promotes gut health and [that] most men don’t get enough of.” Here are 9 more benefits of mango for your health. Add mango to your diet by incorporating the fruit into one of these fruity recipes.
“Men have a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer than women,” says Kelli Shallal, MPH, RD, a dietitian in Phoenix, Arizona. “Avocados provide a huge dose of fiber! Fiber has been shown to reduce the risk of obesity and colorectal cancer.” These green gems have another benefit, too. “Avocados have been labeled as a ‘happy fruit,'” says Sarah Koszyk, MA, RDN, author of 365 Snacks for Every Day of the Year. “They may help boost mood and reduce symptoms of depression.” Include this superfood in any of these healthy and tasty avocado recipes.
Here’s a green veggie full of nutrients that are beneficial for men. “This leafy green is a powerhouse of nutrients with iron, calcium, vitamin C and potassium,” says nutrition blogger Janet Brancato, MS, RDN. “It’s great for healthy bones and muscles!” Spinach also offers the mineral magnesium, which along with calcium can help keep bones strong. And it boasts manganese, which can help regulate blood sugar levels. Spinach doesn’t just have to be a salad; check out these 21 spinach sides you’ll want to dig into.
“When it comes to summer superfoods, watermelon is a crowd favorite,” says Joan Salge Blake, EdD, a nutrition professor at Boston University and host of the health and wellness podcast SpotOn! “At less than 50 calories per cup, it’s a low-calorie sweet addition to any meal. Watermelon contains the powerful antioxidant lycopene, which can help men reduce their risk of prostate cancer. It is also a potassium powerhouse, an important mineral that can help lower high blood pressure. Many men are falling short of potassium in their diets. Chronically, high blood pressure can increase the risk for stroke, a top leading cause of death among men.” Get your watermelon fix with one of these 23 refreshing recipes.
“Research shows that grape polyphenols, naturally found in grapes of all colors, may contribute to heart health,” says Toby Amidor, MS, RD, a dietitian in New York City and a nutrition partner with Grapes from California. “According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States, causing 1 in 4 male deaths. Grape-enriched diets help promote relaxation of blood vessels to help maintain healthy blood flow. Plus, grapes provide vitamin K and beneficial plant compounds, including antioxidants and other polyphenols.” Enjoy grapes in ones of these gorgeous grape recipes.
Herbs can be superfoods, too! Add oregano to your favorite dishes for not only a flavor burst but a health boost, as well. “Oregano is considered a super herb,” says Elena Paravantes, RD, a dietitian in Chicago. “It has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties,” says Paravantes. “It also contains carvacrol, a potent phenol that can potentially help treat cancer. You can add it to your salad dressing or sprinkle it directly over salad, chicken and fish.” Did you know that oregano is one of the top herbs for your kitchen garden?
Here’s one that can help reduce your risk of prostate cancer: “Fresh tomatoes, cooked in olive oil, make for a man’s perfect summer superfood,” says Rima Kleiner, MS, RDN, a dietitian in Greensboro, North Carolina. “Cooked tomatoes contain very high levels of the carotenoid lycopene, especially important for helping to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.” Cook with a fat, like oil, and that lycopene becomes even more available to your body, says Kleiner. Fresh tomatoes also provide lycopene, so aim to add tomatoes to your day however you can, as both fresh and cooked ingredients.
Say yes to omega-3s! “Salmon is one of the highest sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential in reducing inflammation, nourishing your brain and improving heart health,” says Jennifer Hunt, RDN, a dietitian in Greenville, South Carolina. The beneficial omega-3s in salmon are of the DHA and EPA variety, and that means they’re easier for your body to put to use (compared to plant-based omega-3s). You get a vitamin boost from salmon, too. “For men who struggle with low vitamin D, just a four-ounce serving of cooked wild-caught salmon will contribute more than 100 percent of your daily requirement,” says Hunt. If you don’t think fish is your thing, here are 45 salmon recipes to change your mind.
We can all thank goodness that dark chocolate is a superfood. “Dark chocolate is not only a delicious treat but contains beneficial nutrients like flavanols,” says Angelica Agami, MS, RD, a dietitian in San Clemente, California. “According to research, flavanols may help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the brain and heart.” Unsweetened cocoa powder offers similar benefits. Take a look at these dark chocolate desserts for some sweet temptation.
“Strawberries are loaded with vitamin C and other phytochemicals,” notes nutrition blogger Lisa Andrews, RD. “In addition, berries provide antioxidants that may reduce the risk of heart disease.” Add strawberries to high-protein overnight oats. Take a look at these healthy berry ideas you’ll want to make this summer.
Who says oats are just for cool weather? They make a fantastic warm-weather ingredient, too. Oatmeal may help with your weight-loss goals—eating whole grains such as oatmeal may benefit metabolism. One study found that eating more whole grains, along with fewer refined grains, could boost metabolism and also increase your calorie loss. Oatmeal doesn’t have to be boring; here are 20 recipes that will blow you away.
Not only do canned low-sodium beans make a quick and easy meal addition, they’re full of satiating protein and fiber. And eating beans and legumes daily can help your weight—one study suggests that simply adding beans to your diet (and making no other changes) can lead to weight loss of close to a pound every six weeks. Think about how much that can add up to over the course of a year! Whip up one of these 100 great ways to use a can of beans.
Next to skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in U.S. men, per the American Cancer Society. And that’s where pomegranate juice comes in. “Regularly drinking 100 percent pomegranate juice has been shown to help reduce prostate cancer advancement significantly,” says Kellie Blake, RDN, a dietitian in Scott Depot, WV. The results are promising, albeit preliminary. Drink pomegranate juice straight up or add it to one of these pomegranate recipes. Read on more of the health benefits of pomegranates here.
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