5 Healthy Foods for Men

These foods may lower your risk of chronic conditions like prostate cancer.

Medically reviewed in December 2021

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A well-balanced diet is essential for optimal health: it helps your body function properly and promotes overall well-being. And depending on your age and gender, adding specific nutrients to your diet may pack extra health benefits.

Some of the best foods for men are those that may help chronic conditions in men like obesity, heart disease and prostate cancer. And while no one food alone can prevent any of these health conditions, a healthy diet that includes these five nutrients may help, says internist Ed Carriere, MD, of Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree, Colorado.

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Cruciferous Veggies

Fresh produce is full of nutrients like carotenoids, fiber and vitamins C, E and K so naturally these foods are good picks for just about everyone. But certain nutrients found in cruciferous vegetables may be especially beneficial to men. Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts and red cabbage, have high amounts of antioxidants and the anti-cancer compound sulforaphane, says Carriere. “If you want to stay healthy, you've got to keep these nutrients in your system,” he says. According to the National Cancer Institute, researchers are still examining whether a diet high in cruciferous vegetables may help lower your lung, prostate and colon cancer risk.

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Red Fruits and Veggies

Red fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, apricots and watermelon are other great produce picks for men. These foods contain lycopene, a carotenoid that may reduce the number of prostate cancer cells that develop. Cooking releases more lycopene from food, so heating these veggies up is the best way to reap the benefits, says Carriere. On average, try to include two or more cups of fruit, and three or more cups of vegetables in your diet each day.

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Green Tea

Green tea may promote a healthy prostate and reduce cancer risk, Carriere says. And since nearly 13 percent of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, it may be a good addition to most men’s diet.

Green tea contains catechins, substances that may fight cancer. One study found that men with pre-cancerous lesions in the prostate who took green tea capsules everyday for a year, had a lower risk of the cells turning cancerous.

You can get your green tea fix the natural way and opt for fresh, all-natural, sugar free green tea. You can buy green tea extract supplements, too; Carriere says to look for products standardized with 70 percent or more of the catechin EGCG as the active ingredient.

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These small seeds, also known as linseeds, are chock full of dietary fiber, antioxidants like lignans and essential fatty acids like omega-3s.

More research is needed to confirm the relationship between lignans or phytoestrogens, and prostate cancer risk, but some experts think certain foods rich in phytoestrogen may protect against the cancer.

Whole flaxseed is difficult for your body to digest, but consuming ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil will ensure you get the omega-3’s flaxseed has to offer. Need an easy way to get your fix? Add ground flaxseed to oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies, baked goods or condiments. Carriers says you’ll need five grams or more to reap the benefits.

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Probiotics, or live microorganisms, have long been touted for promoting good gastrointestinal health. They may also help promote good brain functioning and decrease anxiety, says Carriere. A small clinical trial published in Nutrition, revealed that men with major depressive disorder who took probiotic supplements for eight weeks had decreased Beck Depression Inventory scores, a measurement of characteristic attitudes and symptoms of depression.

Probiotics exist in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh and miso. Look for products with Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium on the ingredients list. For more probiotic buying tips, click here.

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