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The 5 best foods for men

Whether you’re trying to lower your blood pressure or fight prostate cancer, protecting your health begins with your diet. Here are the five best foods for men

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best foods for men broccoli

1. Broccoli

According to the Canadian Bladder Cancer Network, bladder cancer is the fifth most common cancer among men (and 12th most common among women). Research has shown that broccoli, along with its cruciferous cousins like cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and bok choy, can help lower the risk of various cancers, including bladder cancer. These veggies are packed with very potent anticancer compounds, such as sulforaphane and other isothiocyanates, that not only flush out carcinogens-particularly those created when meats are grilled or fried-before they can damage cells but may also repair cell damage that could lead to tumor growth. In addition, they slow the growth of cancer cells that do develop and increase their self-destruction.

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edamame photo

2. Edamame

If you’re like many men over 50, you may have trouble “going”-maybe you go too frequently, or you often feel as if you have to go, but when you try, not much happens. The problem is most likely an enlarged prostate or, as doctors call it, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Soy foods are a good source of weak estrogen-like plant compounds called isoflavones, which help prevent prostate growth by blocking 5-alpha-reductase. Choose whole soy foods like edamame, tofu, soy milk, and soy yogurt; they contain more isoflavones than processed products like soy lunchmeats. Eating a few servings of soy foods a week is a good goal.

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3. Oysters

Creating another human being has something in common with growing a prize-winning garden: You need all the right conditions and good timing, to boot. In men, the most common causes of infertility are low sperm count and slow “swimmers.” And yes, your sperm count is linked to your diet! Low zinc levels translate into lowered sperm counts, less sperm movement toward the cervical goal, less semen, and even infertility. Although food can’t fix all fertility challenges, it can help improve your odds of fruitfulness. To help boost your fertility, try adding zinc-rich foods-like oysters-to your diet.

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baked potatoes

4. Baked potatoes

According to the American Heart Association, men are at greater risk for high blood pressure than women until the age of 45. Fortunately, one of the easiest ways to control it is by making very simple changes to your diet. Of course, you’ve heard that eating less salt can help reduce high blood pressure, but what’s equally important is increasing the amount of potassium you consume. To help lower your blood pressure, eat more potassium-rich foods like potatoes, bananas and raisins. Baked potatoes are especially rich in potassium, with more than 1,000 milligrams each. Skip the butter or sour cream and use a soft non-hydrogenated margarine instead. You’ll lower your blood pressure and your cholesterol.

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5. Tomatoes

For men living in Western societies, prostate cancer may seem inevitable. In fact, it’s the most common type of cancer in men. But growing evidence suggests that you can dramatically reduce your risk of this cancer-and slow its progression if you already have it-simply by making moderate changes in your diet.

In the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, an ongoing study of the diet and lifestyle habits of 50,000 men, guys who ate at least two servings of tomato sauce a week lowered their prostate cancer risk by 23 percent. An antioxidant called lycopene, which gives tomatoes their fire-engine hue, helps prevent prostate cancer or slow its growth. Lycopene (a member of the carotenoid family, like beta-carotene) does this by preventing free radicals from damaging cells, including the all-important DNA inside. DNA damage is what leads healthy cells to turn cancerous. Some research suggests that the lycopene in about two daily servings of tomato sauce or juice curbs DNA damage by 28 percent. Aim for at least a half cup (125 millilitres) of cooked tomatoes twice a week.

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food cures

More food cures for men

To learn more about foods that keep men healthy, check out Food Cures, available now in the Best Health Store.

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