Early man may have been a stranger to civilized concepts like nonviolence or personal grooming, but he ate the right stuff: high-fiber, low-fat foods like fruit, veggies, nuts and a little bit of lean meat. As it turns out, this is exactly the kind of food men need to ward off obesity, heart problems and a host of other diseases. So it’s no surprise that most are included in the following “made-for-him” foods that every man needs to feel better and live longer.
Why is that a must for him? A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that healthy individuals who consumed walnuts reduced their total cholesterol by 5.4% and LDL (the bad type) by 9.3%, which translated into an 18.6% decrease in risk of developing coronary heart disease.
You may see broccoli as just another vegetable, but it can improve his odds against heart disease and cancer — the two greatest health threats to men over 35. “Broccoli contains the immune-boosting vitamins A, C and E, as well as the minerals magnesium and potassium, which both promote healthy blood pressure,” says Adler. The lifesaving stalk also helps lower the level of homocysteine in his body, an amino acid that’s been found to increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and other heart-related problems.
To keep him cancer-free, it’s also loaded with iron, calcium, fiber, beta-carotene and a phytochemical called sulphoraphane, which has been shown to have potent anticancer properties, especially when it comes to the prostate and colon.
Don’t let its unhealthy-sounding name fool you: It’s actually packed with muscle-building protein he’ll appreciate.
“Fatty fish has amazing health benefits,” says Adler. “Salmon, tuna and sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, as well as tryptophan, a nutrient that helps him stay calm and alert during the day and promotes restful sleep.”
These are a low-sodium, low-fat, no-cholesterol form of protein that’s also high in fiber. That combo can leave him feeling fuller and provide him with a sustained source of all-day energy while it reduces his overall LDL cholesterol. Their color is what makes them his best choice. “Researchers have found that the darker the bean, the higher levels of antioxidant activity there are inside it,” says Skolnik. And antioxidants can do everything from lowering his risk of cancer and heart disease to strengthening his blood vessels and protecting his cells from oxygen damage.
Drinking green tea can give your guy an added edge, since “tea is loaded with antioxidants such as catechins, which can inhibit cancer cell activity and stimulate production of immune-strengthening enzymes,” notes Skolnik, who says the catechins in green tea are more concentrated than in other teas because it’s usually less processed.