Lower your risk for health problems through diet
Men, keep doctor’s visits to a minimum—something we know you’ll champion—by looking in your kitchen. As men age, their chances of being diagnosed with health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and prostate cancer increase. None of those conditions are a foregone conclusion, though black men are at an increased risk for developing many of them. The encouraging news, however, is that lifestyle habits—particularly what you eat—can make a huge difference in staying healthy.
To increase your risk of staying health through diet, focus on foods—like the seven best foods for men as they age listed below—that have been shown to boost health and reduce the likelihood of a bad meeting with your doctor:
- Avocados, loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, may help keep cholesterol levels low—something men need as they age. Plus, they’ve been linked to weight loss and lower levels of inflammation. A medium California avocado has about 230 calories, about 10 grams of fiber and about 20 grams of fat. How to get more in your diet: Besides the obvious guacamole, avocado is easily added to salads, burgers, omelets, sandwiches and tacos.
- Beans help keep heart disease and diabetes at bay. A scientific review of 26 clinical trials published in the Canadian Medical Journal found eating 3/4 of a cup of beans daily could lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels by 5 percent, which reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke. Another study, from the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that people with type 2 diabetes who ate 1 cup of beans daily over a three-month period experienced lower blood sugar levels and blood pressure. One cup of kidney beans, cooked, has approximately 225 calories, 15 grams of protein, 13 grams of fiber and a gram of fat. How to get more in your diet: Beans work well in salads or as filling for tacos and burritos.
- Berries may be little, but they have big health benefits. Blueberries and strawberries reduce the risk of heart disease in women, some studies have found that blueberries, black raspberries and strawberries all contain cancer-fighting properties, and some berries may lessen the risk of dementia. How to get more in your diet: Snack on berries or toss them in salads, yogurt or cereal.
- Eggs are wonderful sources of protein, which is good because as men age, their muscle mass decreases, and protein helps boost dwindling muscles. The breakfast staple also has lutein, which may lower the risk of the macular degeneration, an eye condition that causes blindness. How to get more in your diet: Scramble them, fry them, boil them, poach them—and eat them for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
- Kefir, fermented milk with probiotics, promotes healthy bacteria in our intestines, may help patients with diabetes keep blood sugar levels even and may help ward off gastrointestinal problems that occur later in life. How to get more in your diet: Kefir is sort of like yogurt you drink. Have a glass of it plain, use it in smoothies or add it to cereal.
- Mushrooms give dishes—even no-meat ones—a meatier taste with not a lot of calories (only 20 per cup). They’re also an excellent source of potassium, which helps counteract sodium and lowers blood pressure. They boost your immune system, too, so you might want to stock up on them to prevent colds and flu this fall. How to get more in your diet: Throw them on a salad, chop them up for vegetarian lasagna, grill them or make a veggie mushroom burger.
- Tart cherries work as an anti-inflammatory, which reduces inflammation from strenuous workouts. A study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports that looked at tart cherries and athletes found those who drank the juice exhibited enhanced muscle function recovery and less pain after exercise. The red fruit may also help minimize the pain of osteoarthritis and gout and has been linked to better sleep. How to get more in your diet: Snack on cherries, especially from April to August, when they’re in season. During the rest of the year, drink tart cherry juice.