This was originally intended to be a Father’s Day article, but we decided that this topic is far too important to be limited to just fathers. Good nutrition is for everyday and every man, whether he’s a father or not. The reality is that men just don’t live as long as women do, so it is arguably even more important for men to watch what they eat ( especially after the age of 50).
Whether you (or the man in your life) happen to be a builder, gardener, handyman, or not so handy at all, incorporating these seven foods into your diet will help you live a longer, healthier, handier life.
The 7 Foods Men Should Be Eating Most Days:
Tomatoes: Tomatoes contain a potent phytochemical compound known as lycopene which is known to be associated with prostate cancer prevention. Prostate cancer happens to be the most likely form of cancer that a Canadian man will be diagnosed with, and although effective treatments exist, avoiding it all together is obviously preferable.
Steel Cut Oatmeal: Steel cut oatmeal is the ultimate breakfast food for any man. It is rich in soluble fibre and very low on the glycemic index ( ie: it does not raise blood sugar quickly as compared to instant oatmeal). These two attributes which makes it an ideal food to help control both blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Bananas: Men are often stubborn when it comes to fruit and vegetable intake, anything that takes time and effort might be a deterrent. That’s where bananas come in. They are available all season long, sold all over the city, and are truly great foods for men’s cardiovascular health due to their potassium and fibre content.
Avocado: Not only are these little green gems delicious, but they contain a trifecta of important nutrients for men. Heart healthy monounsaturated fats, fibre and potassium make avocados a must eat food. Spreading them on toast (rather than butter) is a great way to work them into your diet.
A Meat Alternative: I don’t care which one it is, whether it happens to be chickpeas, lentils, beans or tofu, but you need to start eating more protein from a non-animal source. The cold hard reality is that Canadian men tend to eat too much meat, even though we know that those who eat more plant-based proteins have better health outcomes. Think this will be a tough sell? I get it. If you (or the man in your life) are an egg lover, try making a tofu scramble instead, I guarantee you will hardly notice the difference.
A cruciferous veggie: What are cruciferous veggies? Well, they are arguably the most potent foods from a health perspective available for human consumption. They are also known as “leafy greens”
and are rich in nutrients, fibre and phytochemical compounds and known to be protective against a variety of chronic diseases. Kale, broccoli and Brussel sprouts are great places to start.
Flax or Sunflower Seeds: Both Flax and Sunflower seeds are sources of fibre and essential fatty acids. Flax, in particular, is a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids which are increasingly being linked with cardiovascular benefits. Sunflower seeds are a great source of selenium, which may help in the prevention of prostate cancer. If you aren’t that into seeds, tree nuts ( especially almonds, pecans & walnuts) are a great alternative that are known to help protect your heart by regulating cholesterol levels. Whichever one you choose, make sure to aim for about a handful a day!
If you (or the man in your life) already eat the foods above, you’re doing a great job! If not, don’t sweat, at least now you know what you need to work on.
Andy De Santis RD MPH
Andy is a Toronto-based registered dietitian and nutrition writer who holds a master’s degree in public health nutrition. You can learn more about Andy and his services at AndyTheRD.com.