You’ve likely heard of superfoods. But what makes them so special? It turns out, they can do a lot to keep you healthy.
Superfoods are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that are essential for your body to perform at its highest level. Men will be especially interested to learn that incorporating superfoods into your diet can help preserve and build muscle mass and strength. They are also great for improving heart health, strengthening your immune system, reducing inflammation and preventing cancer.
Let’s learn about 12 key superfoods for men.
Dark, leafy greens
Dark, leafy greens provide a powerful blend of nutrients and are rich in magnesium. Eating your daily dose of greens can help you lower risk for prostate cancer, promote healthy testosterone levels and maintain good eye health.
Try it: Combine spinach, kale and collard greens and use it as a salad or stir-fry blend. Toss greens into scrambled eggs or use them to top a pizza. Greens can also be included in sauces or ground into a dip.
Salmon is protein dense, aids in weight loss and can help reduce belly fat. It is also rich in B vitamins, which can help promote energy. In addition, salmon contains vitamin A and vitamin D, which can boost hormonal health.
Try it: Top a dark leafy greens salad with salmon for a one-two superfoods punch. You can also replace beef with salmon in most recipes. For example, grind it up and form it into patties, toss it into stews or chowders or add it to pasta dishes.
Berries are higher in fiber and don’t spike blood sugar as easily as other types of fruit. Eating a mixture of berries provides numerous health benefits. For example, combining blueberries and strawberries can help reduce risk for type 2 diabetes while eating acai berries can help reduce osteoarthritis.
Try it: Add berries to salad, nonfat Greek yogurt and oatmeal for moisture and natural sweetness. You can also toss frozen mixed berries into a food processor with soy milk and a little vanilla extract to make a quick and healthy ice cream.
Ginger is a powerful antioxidant that can help fight infections. It’s fantastic for boosting immune health and may also help fight against colorectal cancer.
Try it: Try brewing ginger as a tea or chop or grate it into sauces and salad dressings. It’s a great complement to poultry and seafood dishes.
Sweet potatoes can aid in weight management by helping you feel fuller for longer. Make sure you eat sweet potatoes with the skin to get the most fiber benefit. Sweet potatoes are also high in vitamin A, which helps support immunity, bone health and age-related eyesight decline.
Try it: Try spiralizing it and using it to replace traditional pasta. You can also mash it to make sweet potato pancakes. Pro tip: Boiling for 20-30 minutes can help remove some of the starch and reduce the carbohydrate load.
Beans and legumes
Beans are a great food to include in your diet because they are high in protein but unlike animal proteins, they are low in fat and high in fiber. Eating them is a great way to stay regular, keep your energy levels up and boost your metabolism.
Try it: Nearly everyone loves tacos. You can make a delicious plant-based taco with beans and roasted cauliflower. You can also puree beans and legumes into dips and spreads. Lentils and mushrooms can be combined to create plant-based meatballs.
Flax seeds are rich in omega-3s, which can help lower your risk for stroke. They are also loaded with fiber, protein and iron.
Try it: The first thing you need to do is to use a grinder to break up the shells to maximize nutrient absorption. A simple coffee grinder works great. From there, you can add to condiments, mix into Greek yogurt or stir into hot or cold cereal.
Walnuts contain healthy, unsaturated fat, which can help improve your lipid profile and good cholesterol levels. They are also protein packed and can help promote a healthy gut and absorption of nutrients. Just make sure you purchase raw or dry roasted nuts without seasoning or added salt for the most health benefits.
Try it: Create a healthy snack by pairing walnuts with dried fruit or cut-up veggies. You can also sprinkle walnuts into a salad or add them to your oatmeal for a little crunch. Alternately, try grinding walnuts into a nut butter.
Apples are full of fiber and antioxidants that can help promote healthier brain function. There are many types of apples – all are nutritious but look for ones that are lower in sugar, such as Granny Smith apples.
Try it: Not much beats a ripe apple eaten on its own as a snack. You can also bake and puree them to make your own healthy applesauce. Apple butter is another option – a great way to add a little indulgence to your day while staying lower carb.
Along with being high in fiber and aiding with digestion, broccoli is a great source of vitamin D and can contribute to antiaging – fighting wrinkles and keeping your skin fresher and more vibrant.
Try it: Because broccoli is a fibrous vegetable, it can withstand many cooking applications. You can steam it for a quick side dish or bake or air fry it for a richer flavor. It’s also great raw in salads or as part of a snack combination plate.
Green tea contains super powerful antioxidants and can also help with oral health. It contains caffeine but it’s less intense so it won’t impact your sleep as much as stronger forms of caffeine.
Try it: Green tea can be served hot or iced. You can also find it in supplement form.
Everyone needs a little indulgence in their day and dark chocolate is a great way to get it. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and flavonoids that can help improve blood flow and lower blood pressure. Look for dark chocolate that contains at least 85% cacao to maximize the health benefits.
Try it: Dark chocolate is great on its own as a tasty treat. It can also be purchased as a powder – look for 100% cacao – and added to protein shakes and oatmeal. You might also try taking dark chocolate pieces and making your own trail mix with seeds, nuts and dried fruit.
Improve your nutrition with Northwest Community Healthcare
Northwest Community Healthcare provides the full range of men’s health services including expert care for nutrition and dietary needs. Our providers are available to meet with you to help you learn about ways you can eat the foods you love and feel your best. To learn more, visit us online or call 847-618-3700.