Best Nutrients for Men and Everything You Need to Know About Them
One of the keys to men’s health is a proper diet. Food is fuel for the body. Men must feed them properly to keep their bodies as healthy, strong, and youthful as possible. Unknown to many, your food consumption can negatively affect the body’s hormonal balance. Once unbalanced, men can experience a wide range of unpleasant health conditions. So, it’s time to talk about proper nourishment for men.
We’ll cover what guys should know about what they’re eating, how much they should consume, and the importance of testosterone and its role in the body.
What is Nourishment?
Your diet directly predicts how much testosterone you have (1). Don’t sell yourself short with poor planning or lack of knowledge. Lay the foundation for optimal health.
“Eat to live, don’t live to eat.” – Benjamin Franklin
In its broadest definition, nourishment is food that is necessary for growth. However, it’s much more than that. We need to nourish our bodies with various good, healthy nutrients that ensure our bodies continue to grow, stay strong and perform all functions, and have the strength and capability to fight off illness. In a nutshell, we are what we eat.
What we put into our bodies can positively or negatively affect our physical and emotional health. Guys trying to achieve optimal health should be aware that their diet can affect them in many ways. It’s not just about building strong, lean muscle and maintaining a healthy weight. Improper nutrition can lead to several conditions, some less obvious than others.
Poor nutrition can adversely affect men’s hormonal levels. This can affect them in many different physical ways, but equally important, it can lead to emotional and mental health issues. We generally see the food we eat as necessary for maintaining our weight and physical health, but it’s infinitely deeper.
How Men Should Approach Proper Nourishment for Health and Balance
Discover the essential path to men’s well-being and harmony through this guide on proper nourishment and unveil the secrets that lead to optimal health and balance.
Eat High-polyphenol-rich Foods
There are over 8,000 polyphenol compounds currently identified in everyday foods. Most polyphenols function as antioxidants within the body. Often brightly colored, these plant chemical compounds protect against many issues, such as early aging, cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and neurodegenerative diseases.
We know that a diet rich in polyphenols significantly slows your biological age (how old your cells and tissues are based on physiological evidence) and increases your health span, the years you live while healthy (1).
On the contrary, a diet low in polyphenols is associated with greater instances of “all-cause mortality” (a term used by epidemiologists, or disease-tracking scientists, to refer to death from any cause) and low testosterone (2).
Researchers found that people who consume at least 650 mg daily experienced a 30% lower “all-cause mortality rate” (1). For context, this is equivalent to a cup of berries or an apple.
Key Take Away
Eat saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids daily. Eating more eggs, red meat, coconut oil, avocado, and olive oil daily. Don’t eat cheap seed oils. That means eating less processed foods. Avoid seed oils such as canola (rapeseed) oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, grapeseed oil, rice bran oil, soybean, sunflower, and safflower oil.
Consume the Correct Fats in the Proper Amounts
There are over 8,000 polyphenol compounds currently identified in everyday foods. Most polyphenols function as antioxidants in the body. Often brightly colored, these plant chemical compounds protect against many developments, such as early aging, cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and neurodegenerative diseases.
It is important to remember that not all fats are created equal. There are three groups of fatty acids found in our diets:
Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) – are found in foods such as olive oil and avocados.
Saturated fatty acids (SFAs) – are found in all animal-based products (eggs, butter, dairy, meat) and some vegetable oils (palm and coconut).
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) – are found in foods like seed oils (soybean, canola, sunflower) and fish.
Studies have shown that increased intake of SFAs and MUFAs results in significantly higher body testosterone production, while increased PUFAs intake decreases testosterone (1). Placing someone, male or female, on a low saturated fat, high PUFA diet can reliably and significantly reduce circulating testosterone concentration (1, 2).
Vegans and vegetarians take notice: The rise in popularity of plant-based substitutes is not the problem; the overconsumption of seed oils commonly found in these processed foods is. Whether vegetarian or not, repeated studies conducted in humans and mice have confirmed that high intakes of saturated fats (found in animal products) or monounsaturated fats (in olive oil, avocados, nuts, etc.) improve testosterone production.
In contrast, a high intake of omega-6 PUFAs in vegetable oils damages the cells’ ability to produce testosterone (1). How bad is the damage? Vegetarians who switch to a low-fat diet with most of their fat intake primarily driven from seed oils decrease their testosterone up to 26% (1).
At least 35% of total calories consumed, of which SFAs and MUFAs are the primary dietary fat source, is needed to maintain optimal hormone levels in men (1). Therefore, a diet high in eggs, red meat, coconut oil, avocado, and olive oil will benefit your natural testosterone production (1).
Key Take Away
Incorporating saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids into your daily meals can significantly improve your overall well-being. Embrace nutrient-rich sources such as eggs, red meat, avocado, coconut oil, and olive oil, which offer a range of health benefits. Conversely, minimizing the consumption of cheap seed oils commonly found in processed foods is advisable. Oils like canola (rapeseed), corn, cottonseed, grapeseed, rice bran, soybean, safflower, and sunflower oil are best avoided due to their less favorable nutritional profiles. You can optimize your dietary choices for better health and vitality by prioritizing nutrient-dense alternatives and mindful food selection.
Fish for Testosterone
Research suggests that men who regularly consume fish oil supplements have higher semen volume and total sperm count, larger testicular size, higher free testosterone to luteinizing hormone ratio, and lower follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone levels (1, 2).
Even obese men who supplement with omega-3 fatty acids show reduced insulin resistance (think diabetes) and increased testosterone (1). Remember that the minimum dose is 500mg DHA and 250mg EPA of fish oil daily. Look on your fish oil supplement’s label to ensure it meets this threshold.
Seed oil consumption induces obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance, and fatty liver in mice and is highly correlated to similar metabolic effects in humans (1). Unfortunately, for every 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acids consumed by those following a typical Western diet low in fruits/veggies and high in processed fats, they also eat between 12 to 25 grams of omega-6 fatty acids (1). This is a very big problem.
2:1 omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio. For every two grams of omega-6, consume at least one gram of omega-3. This ratio is consistent with studies on evolutionary aspects of diet, neurodevelopment, genetics, and prevention of chronic diseases (1).
Key Take Away
Eat at least 2-3 portions of fish every week, particularly fatty fish like wild salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, or tuna. Most everything that is processed (pre-packaged foods) is loaded with omega 6’s. Avoid these as much as possible.
As discussed, adding a fish oil supplement to your daily diet can help to increase semen volume and sperm count. Adding this supplement could greatly benefit men having difficulty starting a family. But this isn’t the only function of testosterone in men’s bodies.
Testosterone is responsible for regulating sex drive in men, but it’s also responsible for building muscle mass and strength, plays a key role in bone mass, and assists in producing red blood cells. Although low levels of testosterone aren’t directly related to hair loss, there is a connection between lower levels of this male hormone and thinning hair. As men age, their testosterone levels can decrease. Unfortunately, this can also occur at younger ages.
Men can ensure their testosterone levels remain healthy by taking fish oil supplements. Still, they can also change their diet by increasing their consumption of leafy green vegetables, fatty fish, and onions. The best way for men to check their testosterone levels is by performing a painless at-home hormone test kit. These tests will also check the levels of other hormones and can be valuable in assessing your overall hormonal health.
Avoid Regular Consumption of Foods with Estrogenic Properties
Foods like soy, legumes, linseed (flaxseeds), peaches, kale, and sesame seeds contain high levels of phytoestrogens that function similarly to human estrogen but with much weaker effects. These foods will cause no issues in small, infrequent quantities, but large consistent consumption directly decreases testosterone (1).
Further, daily consumption of phytoestrogens also seems to disrupt thyroid hormone levels triggering hypothyroidism, which seems to lead to lower levels of sex hormone-binding globulin. This protein carries testosterone throughout the body. These changes can contribute to low testosterone in men (1, 2).
Because soy products and flaxseed contain, by and large, the highest amount of phytoestrogens compared to other phytoestrogen-containing foods, it is reasonable to steer clear of regularly consuming those two food groups.
Don’t eat phytoestrogens daily or as a regular part of your diet. Foods like soy, legumes, linseed (flaxseeds), peaches, kale, and sesame seeds should be avoided.
Key Take Away
To promote a balanced diet, consume at least 2-3 servings of fatty fish each week, such as wild salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, or tuna. Be cautious of the high omega-6 content in processed foods, as they are abundant in pre-packaged products. Prioritize minimizing your intake of such items whenever feasible.
Everything You Need to Know About Proper Nourishment for Men
Guys who want the most out of life must get the proper nutrients daily. It goes well beyond simply eating good food. To maintain a healthy body, mind, and spirit, it’s crucial to not only eat the right kinds of food but also to know what is lacking in their nutrition.
Knowledge of a lack of key nutrients and hormonal imbalances is necessary to stay on track and achieve your goals. Dietary imbalances could be the culprit to many health issues that affect men.
Monitoring your daily food intake and adding certain dietary supplements are the best ways to ensure your overall health and avert the negative consequences of a poor diet and a lack of nutrition. Keep your mind, body, and spirit balanced by paying more attention to your body’s requirements.