MEN’S HEALTH: Using Foods as Medicine

mh-4.jpgOptimum physical health and wellness requires a diet rich in good fats, flavonoids and antioxidants.

The ideal heart healthy, immune supporting, anti-aging diet requires a variety of foods and supplements to maintain men’s health and wellness. What is in our kitchen cupboards may have more impact on our health than what’s in our medicine chest. The foods and supplements we consume can be our best defense against the onset of diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Diets rich in fish oils, such as those found in salmon, sardines, herring and trout, have a distinct anti-inflammatory effect on the body because they contain EPA (an omega-3 fat). These fish oils are helpful in affecting everything from rheumatoid arthritis to fibromyalgia and atherosclerosis. Omega-3 fats also help to prevent blood clots and elevate ‘good cholesterol’ (HDL). Fatty fish like salmon are an invaluable part of a preventative diet. If you don’t like fish, fish oil supplements will also do the job.

Flaxseed and flaxseed oil are high in another type of omega-3 fat called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which the body turns into the more beneficial EPA. Vegetarians should note: only a percentage of the vegetable-based ALA can be converted into EPA, so larger quantities are needed to obtain the same result as fish oils.

Bioflavonoids are part of a class of antioxidant compounds referred to as ‘phytochemicals’ (plant-based compounds). They’re found in grapes, grape juice, red wine, dark chocolate (the darker the chocolate, the more cocoa beans), seeds, nuts, citrus fruits and black, green and herbal tea. Flavonoids have been shown to:

  • Improve memory
  • Help prevent blood clots
  • Lower high blood pressure
  • Reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol
  • Improve men’s sexual function
  • Scavenge ‘free radicals’ and aid vitamin C effectiveness
  • Bolster immune system support

One study showed that people whose diet consisted of fish, fruits and vegetables, garlic, almonds, wine and dark chocolate had lower rates of heart disease and lived longer (than those on a standard diet). We can all make these simple changes in our diet and supplementing with fish oils, bioflavonoids, vitamin C and resveratrol (from grape skins) can greatly contribute to all men’s health and wellness.

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