A high percentage of men do not take action when it comes to their health. “Just handling/dealing with it” is somewhat of macho mantra that shouldn’t be in existence. For example, men shouldn’t ignore certain symptoms or fail to intake specific vitamins that all men need for healthy functioning bodies. In honor of Men’s Health Week (June 10-16), we will be posting several men’s health articles, with this one being our first one.
Because of differences in average body mass and hormonal changes, women and men need different amounts of vitamins and minerals. Overall, men and women are prone to different health issues. Based on this, diets for men cannot be identical to those for women. For example, women need more iron than men because of iron loss during menstruation and men need more fiber than women to decrease their risk of rectal cancers. Here is a list of vitamins and minerals that are particularly beneficial for men.
Zinc is important for optimal testosterone levels, hair growth, removing toxins, regulating emotions, and improving cardiovascular health. The NHS recommends 9.5 mg of zinc per day for men and 7 mg for women as the mineral contributes to the healthy production of sperm, while also aiding the immune system and cell function. The maximum recommended amount of zinc per day is 40 milligrams. Great sources of zinc include almonds, raw cacao, mushrooms, spinach, garlic, and pumpkin seeds.
Selenium is a trace mineral and a critical component of the thyroid gland, which regulates metabolism and growth. For men, selenium is important for the functioning of reproductive organs and the prevention of arthritis and heart disease. Some of the best sources of selenium include Brazil nuts, shiitake mushrooms, lima beans, chia seeds, broccoli, or spinach.
Boron is another important trace mineral for men that is found in certain foods like walnuts, broccoli, avocado, almonds, almonds, raisins, raw cacao, apples, and beans. Boron helps keep the skeletal structure strong by improving muscle mass and regulating proper testosterone levels. Boron boosts testosterone while it reduces estrogen, which is particularly important for men. It also improves and maintains joint health.
Vitamin D regulates sleep, metabolism, libido and fatigue, all of which are critical for maintaining men’s health. Vitamin D can be obtained from eating certain mushrooms, but we get the majority of our vitamin D from direct sun exposure. For men, it’s important to have proper levels of Vitamin D to sustain muscle mass. By spending 15–20 minutes outside a few times a week without sunscreen on, you help vitamin D become synthesized when it comes into contact with your skin.
This B vitamin may help promote healthy changes in sperm. Folate aids the formation of red blood cells and is essential for DNA production. Folate may help protect men from heart disease because it prevents the build-up of homocysteine, a substance that your body needs to build protein, but can lead to heart and blood vessel disease if produced in excess. Good sources of folate include spinach, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, beans, and nuts.
Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids renowned for their anti-inflammatory effects. Omega-3s are particularly important to men because they play an integral role in regulating cholesterol, blood clotting and inflammation. Throughout 4-5 million years of evolution, diets were abundant in seafood and other sources of omega-3 long chain fatty acids (EPA & DHA), but relatively low in omega-6 seed oils. Most men today consume too many omega-6 fatty acids, such as vegetable oils, which contribute to inflammation and heart disease.
It is important to balance omega-6 fats with an adequate amount of omega-3 fats. You can either reduce omega-6s or increase the amount of omega-3s. The most common plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids are nuts and seeds, flaxseeds and walnuts having the highest content.