When you need a pick-me-up, Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, a dietitian for the Pittsburgh Steelers recommends making a good old-fashioned cup of joe. Research shows it can make you more alert, and plain coffee has almost no calories. This makes it a far better choice than expensive, high-calorie energy drinks.
- Lean Red Meat
If you’re a steak-and-potatoes guy, you’re in luck. Red meat can be good for you, says Bonci. Lean cuts of beef and pork are packed with protein and have only a little more fat than chicken breast. Red meat is also a good source of leucine, an amino acid that helps build muscle.
Sure, this creamy fruit is high in fat, but it’s the good kind. The monounsaturated fat in avocados packs a one-two punch against cholesterol. It can knock down total cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol (LDL), too. The trick is to use a “mono” fat instead of saturated or trans fats. And eat no more than 25%-35% of all your calories from fat. Olive oil and nuts also contain good fats.
Chocolate may improve blood flow if you eat the right kind. The flavanols in dark chocolate may curb levels of bad cholesterol, improve circulation, and keep blood pressure in check. Men with poor blood flow are more likely to have erection problems, so heart-wise foods may protect your sex life, too. But too much chocolate can lead to weight gain. Enjoy 1 ounce a day instead of other sweets.
- Fatty Fish
Fatty fish like salmon, herring, sardines, and halibut are another excellent source of healthy fat. They have a special type known as omega-3 fatty acids. These protect against heart disease, the top killer of men in the U. S. Two servings of fatty fish a week can lower your chances of dying from heart disease.
Slices of this spicy root are often served with sushi or grated into an Asian stir-fry. Health-wise, ginger may help calm inflammation in the body — which can come in handy when you push yourself too hard. Eating ginger regularly may help reduce the pain of exercise-related muscle injuries.
- Milk and Yogurt
The whey in milk and yogurt is another source of leucine, a muscle-building amino acid. Bonci recommends Greek yogurt, with a thick, creamy taste that men may like better. It’s also packed with protein, potassium, and friendly bacteria that keep the gut healthy. “Plus, it requires no preparation whatsoever.”
The banana is celebrated for its bounty of potassium — and with good reason. Potassium is critical for muscle contractions and bone health. It also helps blood pressure. Getting enough potassium may be as important as eating less sodium when it comes to lowering blood pressure
- Soy Foods
The food that offers the best protection against prostate cancer may be soy. That’s the finding from a study of 40 nations. Tofu, miso soup, and soy milk are all delicious ways to eat more soy. In Asian countries, people eat up to 90 times more soy foods than Americans eat. And prostate cancer is far less common in those countries.
- Mixed Vegetables
Vegetables are packed with phytochemicals, nutrients that boost cell health and protect against cancer. There are many different phytochemicals, and the best way to get a variety of them is to eat different colored veggies. “There should be color on your plate at every meal,” Bonci says.
- Orange Vegetables
Orange vegetables are an excellent source of beta-carotene, lutein, and vitamin C. These nutrients may lower your odds of developing an enlarged prostate, according to a large study. Good choices include red bell peppers, carrots, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes.
Eggs provide lutein, protein, and iron, but you have to eat the whole egg. One yolk, with 185 mg of cholesterol, fits into the 300 mg daily limit for healthy people. You might also cut back on high-cholesterol sweets to make room for whole eggs in your diet. If you have high cholesterol, ask your doctor if you should limit how many eggs you eat per week.
- High-Fiber Cereal
Fiber may not sound manly, but it can be a performance enhancer. Executive or athlete, you can’t focus on your goals if your gut is acting up. Fiber keeps you full longer and helps your digestive system run smoothly. This doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite cereal — just try mixing in some shredded wheat. “Don’t deprive yourself,” Bonci advises, “but add something good.”
- Brown Rice
Brown rice is another great source of fiber, and it’s easy to dress up with tasty, colorful food. Try adding lean meat, baby spinach, and pineapple. If you don’t like the texture, mix some white rice with the brown. Brown rice and other whole grains can help you stay at a healthy weight and lower your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
“Berries can help you be on top of your game mentally as well as physically,” Bonci says. They’re loaded with antioxidants that may help lower the risk of cancer. Animal studies suggest blueberries can also enhance memory and thinking. Similar research in people is in its infancy, but looks promising. When fresh berries are expensive or tough to find, try buying them frozen and making a shake.