Eating healthy might seem like a one-size-fits-all kind of thing, but it’s not. Different body shapes and energy requirements between the sexes also means that men and women benefit from different diets.
Typically, men have more muscle and are bigger than women, and require more calories throughout the day. A moderately active male needs around 2200 to 2800 calories per day, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Your particular energy needs depend on your height, weight and activity levels.
“For energy and disease prevention, men should eat wholegrains such as wholegrain bread, pasta, cereal, brown rice, oats, barley, beans, lentils, fruits and vegetables,” the academy says.
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“These foods are high in fibre, help manage hunger and fullness and help fend off certain cancers, such as prostate and colon.”
For the best dietary results, be sure to eat a varied diet, paying particularly close attention to the following food types:
Lean red meat
Can a list of foods for men be taken seriously if it doesn’t include red meat right at the top? Well, it’s not here just to appease the Neanderthals – red meat has many beneficial properties, especially when any visible fat is trimmed.
Red meat is a rich source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, niacin, zinc and iron. In fact, red meat is one of the most nutritious foods you can eat.
“Red meat is also rich in important nutrients like creatine and carnosine,” says Healthline.
“Non-meat eaters are often low in these nutrients, which may potentially affect muscle and brain function.”
Colourful fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegies were always going to make an appearance on a list of healthiest foods for men. But how much thought do you put into the colour palette of your side dishes? It may affect your health more than you think.
Vegetables are packed with nutrients called phytochemicals that aid cell health. Different coloured vegies contain different phytochemicals, so be sure to include as wide a variety as possible in your diet.
“Eating a mix of different coloured fruit and vegies provides your body with a range of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, as well as carbohydrates, dietary fibre and water,” the Queensland government advises.
“Phytochemicals are the plant chemicals that give fruit and vegies their colour and flavour, like beta-carotene, anthocyanins and flavonoids. They provide protection against disease in plants and can also provide health benefits for us.”
You need to be a bit more careful when selecting fruits, as they contain a lot of (natural) sugar. But there are many that can boost a man’s health. Cherries have a chemical that mimics the effects of anti-inflammatory medication (without the side-effects), while bananas are high in potassium – critical for muscle contractions, bone health and even lowers your blood pressure.
Milk and yoghurt
Milk, yoghurt and their derivatives are essential to men’s health. Dairy products are not just a great source of calcium for strong bones, they are also rich in iodine, vitamin A, vitamin D, riboflavin, vitamin B12 and zinc.
Greek-style yoghurt, in particular, is great for men. This thicker, creamier style of yoghurt has much less sugar than regular yoghurt and a lot more protein than milk. Depending on the brand an average serving of Greek yoghurt can contain as much as 17 grams of protein.
Not having enough calcium in your diet increases your risk of developing osteoporosis, where the bones become brittle and weak and can break easily.
Nuts and cereals
Nuts and seeds in general are a great alternative source of protein to meat. They’re also rich in fibre and zinc and can help men avoid eating chips by satisfying the urge for a crunchy, salty snack.
Different nuts have different health benefits. Pistachios are high in plant sterol and help lower your cholesterol, while Brazil nuts contain seven times the daily required amount of selenium – a trace element utilised by your immune system. And just last week YourLifeChoices reported that eating pecans and walnuts significantly lowers your risk of heart disease.
Eating high-fibre cereals is also important for men. Getting enough fibre in your diet helps you feel fuller for longer and keeps your digestive system running smoothly. Brown rice is another great source of fibre, so increase your intake to keep your bowels regular.
Do you eat enough of these foods? Are there any other foods you think are beneficial to men’s health? Let us know in the comments section below.
Health disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.
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