Men, it’s time to boost our nutrition! We have to hunt down the food we need to stay healthy, strong and sexually powerful, just as our ancestors did centuries before us. If we want to live longer and watch our children and grandchildren thrive into adulthood, it’s essential we nourish our bodies to balance out those long hours on the job and in the gym.
Men are 1.5 times more likely to die of heart disease, cancer and respiratory disease according to a study published in Monitor on Psychology (2011). That equates to dying five years before women. This is mainly due to our male stubbornness regarding doctors and regular checkups. Men are 25 percent more likely not to see a doc than their female counterparts year in and year out.
Come on guys — it’s time to take back our health, and the first step is improving our diets. Black beans, eggs, salmon, roasted chicken, yogurt and spinach are just a few of the exceptional foods we can easily hunt down for sustenance. After all, sharpening wooden sticks has been replaced by the debit card, so the excuses are few and far between.
The Alternative Daily wants men to take a closer look at what they eat daily — an alternative menu may help us to live longer and be stronger and happier.
Guys, here are some foods you can hunt down and gather to boost your health and longevity:
Popeye was right! Eat more leafy greens, like spinach and kale, and you will pack in the manly nutrition you need to tackle your next trail run or keep up with the kids at the zoo. Leafy greens also offer powerful prostate protection, which will lend a little peace of mind when it’s time to get, you know, that one exam!
A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (2000) involving over 600 participants under the age of 65 discusses the preventive powers of cruciferous veggies. The study states, “These results suggest that high consumption of vegetables, particularly cruciferous vegetables, is associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer.”
Chicken or egg? Adding eggs to your daily menu will benefit your health. Eggs provide us men with protein, vitamin B12, B5, B2, vitamin A, selenium, folate, and they’re also an excellent way to get choline. The average American gets 90 percent less than their recommended choline intake, according to one study.
Another study published in Nutrition Reviews (2009) found, “The importance of choline in the diet extends into adulthood and old age. In a study of healthy adult subjects deprived of dietary choline, 77% of the men and 80% of the postmenopausal women developed signs of subclinical organ dysfunction (fatty liver or muscle damage).” Are you getting enough choline?
Fight inflammation with ginger! Ginger boasts potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, magnesium, vitamin C, and more. But ginger’s most positive, manly attribute is its anti-inflammatory gingerols. Ginger was also found to be free of adverse effects in various studies. A 1992 study published in Medical Hypotheses discusses the all-natural healing powers of ginger. “Ginger is described in Ayurvedic and Tibb systems of medicine to be useful in inflammation and rheumatism,” according to the study.
Fishing is one of the oldest subsistence practices known to man. Reconnect with your ancestral manliness and eat more fatty fish like salmon, halibut or sardines. You could skip the pole and bait if you want, and head down to your local fish store and purchase a few ounces of delicious, wild fish. One essential nutrient fish provides is omega-3. Omega-3 has been found to reduce your risk of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in men. It kills one in four men every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
One of my man-cave favorites is salmon. Four ounces of salmon offers 55 percent of your Daily Value (DV) of omega-3, the essential heart disease defender. A study published in Circulation (2002) discusses the amazing health benefits of eating fish and the role omega-3 plays in reducing your risk for cardiovascular disease.
An avocado a day will keep the doctor away. Avocados offer up a plethora of health benefits that can take you into your golden years gracefully. Avocados are high in protein, low in sugar, protect you from metabolic syndrome, lower your risk for heart disease, increase antioxidant absorption, protect your eyes, boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure, and decrease your risk for colon and rectum cancer. What more needs to be said! Avocados do it all, and one a day is optimal for any man’s health.
Lean red meat
Our hunter-gatherer ancestors may have spent more time gathering, but when the time came to increase the village protein stores, the hunt was on. You can take that hunt to your local community farm and choose organic, grass-fed, lean red meat. Lean red meat, usually in the form of a big juicy steak, is a man’s dream — at least when it comes to dinnertime. Adding lean red meat to your weekly menu is an excellent way to pack in the protein and boost your levels of leucine, an essential amino acid for building muscle.
A 2000 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition mentions that man’s meat consumption dates back millions of years. The study states, “A study of human and pre-human diet history shows that for a period of at least 2 million years the human ancestral line had been consuming increasing quantities of meat. During that time, evolutionary selection was in action, adapting our genetic make up and hence our physiological features to a diet high in lean meat.” There have been dietary pushes to edge out red meat, but if you are eating lean red meat, like that of your manly ancestors, you can enjoy it with a healthy conscious.
Control your blood pressure with Brazil nuts. Brazil nuts offer a high amount of magnesium — 94 percent your DV — and this may assist you in keeping your blood pressure in a healthy range. A study published in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry (2002) found that magnesium decreases high blood pressure and also offers cardiovascular benefits. Brazil nuts are also high in fiber and protein — more excellent reasons to grab a handful when feeling hungry before lunch.
Did you know that most Americans get the majority of their essential, free-radical-fighting antioxidants from coffee? It is true! A study conducted at the University of Scranton, Pennsylvania, found coffee to be the main source of antioxidants for most Americans. Which is good and bad, since your diet should consist of more than coffee. However, coffee offers up some amazing health benefits for men.
Coffee has also been found to significantly reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes. A 2005 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found, “This systematic review supports the hypothesis that habitual coffee consumption is associated with a substantially lower risk of type 2 diabetes.” Your morning cup, or two, of organic coffee can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes by 23 to 67 percent.
For those who lean more toward gathering than hunting, then berries are right up your alley. Berries come in various shapes, sizes, and flavors, and they offer many health benefits. These antioxidant powerhouses are perfect for eating by the handful, or you can throw some in your morning or post-workout smoothie. They offer more nutritional benefits than any weight training supplement you can purchase on the market.
The vitamin C in strawberries can boost your immune health and give you more energy. The antioxidant power of blackberries will decrease your risk for many types of cancer and help fight inflammation. Blueberries will keep you sharp and focused. Berries are the perfect compliment to any man’s diet, period.
Sweet potatoes are not just for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner anymore. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamins A, C, B6, and D, with more great minerals than you can shake a stick at. Sweet potatoes also contain 26 percent of your DV for fiber, which is essential for digestive health. Maintaining healthy digestive function will keep your metabolism in check and allow your body to better absorb nutrients, while dumping any toxins that build up. Add a sweet potato to your meal once or twice a week and your gut will thank you.
Lastly, we end on chocolate — a treat that you may think is unhealthy. However, in moderation and the right kind, chocolate proves to be quite the opposite. Chocolate is a great reward for those extra miles you logged this week or the additional plates you put up on the bench. You can eat it as-is or add it to a smoothie filled with delicious antioxidant-rich fruits. It has been found to increase circulation and keep your blood pressure in check. A 2006 study published in Heart discusses the benefits of chocolate on endothelial and platelet function.
There are, however, a few rules to enjoying chocolate that men must adhere to for optimal health and happiness. Organic dark chocolate is the best for health — and in moderation. Eating chocolate requires restraint, or you may see a few extra pounds wrap around your waist.
Are you a healthy man? Are you getting the same nutrition as your hunter-gatherer forefathers? The fast and easy Western diet has diminished our health, but we can get it back by choosing the right foods. Eating “man smart” will improve endurance in the bedroom, our health levels during yearly checkups, as well as our focus, strength and power. If we take a step back into the cave and get the nutrients we need, we can live just as long as our better halves.
Stephen Seifert is a writer, professor, adventurer and a health & fitness guru. His flair for travel and outdoor adventure allows him to enjoy culture and traditions different than his own. A healthy diet, routine fitness and constant mental development is the cornerstone to Stephen’s life.