Once you hit your 40s, you probably know what you should and shouldn’t be eating. Hopefully you’ve curbed your Chick-fil-A habit and cut back on the number of Guinnesses you have at the bar. But even if you’ve been health conscious for a decade or more, as you’ve aged, your body’s needs have changed. For one thing, your metabolism has slowed down, meaning you can’t eat as much as you used to. Your risk of prostate cancer is also on the rise, as your muscle mass and testosterone level are both declining. Yes, these are natural changes that every guy goes through, but you can counteract their negative effects by stocking up on great, anti-aging foods for men over 40 years-old. And while you’re at it, make sure you learn the 20 foods your definitely shouldn’t pick up on that grocery store trip.
High-quality protein is key to preserving your muscle tone throughout your 40s. But protein-rich red meat has plenty of downsides to it—fat, in particular. Instead, head to the seafood aisle for some salmon, which is high in protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and low in saturated fat. Neil O’Nova, a health, fitness, and weight-loss expert, as well as certified sports nutritionist and founder of StrongerLeaner.com, urges that men look specifically for sockeye salmon.
“It’s a better choice than ‘regular’ (keta) salmon because it’s almost always wild-caught,” he says. “Sockeye salmon is also oilier than keta salmon, making it easier to cook (it’s not as likely to dry out) and higher in omega-3 fatty acids.” While we have you, check out this decadent recipe for preparing salmon.
Mom was wrong: You don’t need to eat your broccoli. Instead, you should be eating broccoli sprouts—broccoli plants that are just three or four days old. They look like alfalfa sprouts and taste like radishes, but pack a huge antioxidant punch. “One of the most exciting and powerful new anti-cancer compounds being studied today are called sulforaphanes,” explains O’Nova. “Sulforaphane kills cancer cells and have been linked with many other health benefits as well, from reducing cholesterol to improving inflammation. The best source of this nutrient by far? Broccoli sprouts, with 10–100 times more sulforaphane-producing power than fully grown broccoli.”
Broccoli sprouts are just becoming more mainstream, so they might not be at your local grocery store. Fortunately, it’s easy (and cheap) to grow them at home. And for more great healthy eating advice, here are 25 foods that will keep you young forever.
Cara Walsh, registered dietician at Medifast Weight Control Centers of California, calls sardines “the ultimate power food”—for many reasons.
“They promote heart health, bone health, are packed with protein and are overall good for your body,” she says, adding that they are also one of the most concentrated sources of omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA (which lower cholesterol) available. “Sardines are also an excellent source of vitamin B12, which promotes cardiovascular well-being. This food is a rich source of vitamin D.”
Like all fish, these anti-aging foods are loaded with protein, but sardines specifically are packed with amino acids, which bodies use to create new cells and structures. Eating sardines is one of many ways to help yourself live to 100.
“Including sources of lean protein in your diet is important when trying to lose weight,” says Walsh. “Roasted turkey breast is the lowest-calorie option when picking which part of the bird to eat.”
She adds that on average, roasted turkey breast has 160 calories, 24 grams of protein, and 6 grams of fat. We have a recipe for a delicious and healthy roast turkey sandwich here.
Men’s testosterone levels naturally decline as they age, leading to low energy and decreased libido. But according to O’Nova, oysters are one food that can help you stop this trend in its tracks. Think of them as nature’s Viagra.
“Oysters are a fantastic source of zinc, which is one of the most important minerals your body needs to manufacture testosterone,” he says. “Eat them once a week to help ensure your T-levels stay high and healthy.”
This bean curd made of coagulated soy milk is much tastier than it sounds, and has finally shed its reputation as only something enjoyed by health nuts. Everyone from home cooks to elite chefs have found ways to incorporate it as one of the surefire anti-aging foods into their cooking.
“Aside from being rich in a host of essential nutrients, tofu serves two other important purposes,” says Andy De Santis, a registered dietician and health consultant. “First of all, it replaces meat in meals, which most men eat too much of. Second, it contains soy protein, which can contribute to reductions in your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.”
If you’re new to tofu, set a goal to swap out a meat-based entrée for a tofu-based one at least once a week. And here are even more foods men in their 40s should eat.
Green veggies have huge benefits for anyone at any age—they’re packed with nutrients and cancer-fighting compounds. But for guys in their 40s, greens offer another distinct important element: lutein. The National Institutes of Health found that those who consumer the greatest amount of this carotenoid found in plant foods, are 43% less likely to experience macular degeneration (aka bad eyesight). So if you want to continue seeing clearly, add a side of spinach to your meal. Speaking of vegetables, learn about the firefighter who stays ripped on a vegetarian diet.
Hardly an exotic ingredient, tomatoes nonetheless have some major benefits for guys in their 40s.
“All veggies are good veggies, but tomatoes have a special place in the world of men’s health because they contain a biochemical component known as lycopene, which is associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer in men,” says De Santis. You can find even more great ways to upgrade your diet here.
You know these, even if you’ve never heard the word “allium” before. Think onions, garlic, leeks, chives.
“These veggies often fly under the radar, yet they contain unique compounds that may contribute to the reduction of a variety of chronic diseases, including certain types of cancer,” says De Santis. “Throw in these in with your tomato sauce for the ultimate men’s health brew.” And for more ways to eat healthy, here are the best foods for your heart.
Not all oatmeal is equally good for you. Toss that brown sugar and maple instant stuff and pick up a canister of steel-cut oats—it will cost you about one-tenth of what the sugary stuff does and easily defeat it in terms of health advantages.
“Unlike highly refined instant oatmeal varieties, steel-cut oats will not increase your blood sugar as much after consumption,” says De Santis. “Steel-cut oatmeal is also an excellent source of heart healthy soluble fiber, which can contribute to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.” Oatmeal is also a great source of healthy carbs.
If you’re not a big fan of oatmeal (or just prefer your morning cereal cold), go for a box of bran cereal instead. And there are more, better-tasting options in this department than ever. As Consumer Reports notes in its helpful guide of best high-fiber cereals, “Fourteen years ago, Consumer Reports found that most high-fiber cereals ‘tasted more like straw than grain.’ But in our latest tests of 26 cereals, most with at least 6 grams of fiber, more than two-thirds tasted very good or better.”
In their roundup, General Mills’ Fiber One got top marks for both fiber content and value, but plenty of others scored well, so you’ve got options.
“High-fiber diets have been shown to lower cholesterol levels as well as reduce blood pressure,” says Krissy Kendall, Ph.D., who works with Bodybuilding.com. “How much fiber is enough? You should be getting about 38 grams of fiber in your diet every day.” Also, be sure to check out our guide to staying lean for life.
Similar to tofu, legumes work well as a replacement for meat that’s packed with protein but without all the calories and saturated fat. But these anti-aging foods offer additional advantages: “Unlike meat, legumes are also an excellent source of magnesium, potassium, and fiber, which most men need more of,” says De Santis. “Legumes are also well recognized as a food that can contribute to reduced LDL (bad) blood cholesterol levels and improved blood sugar control.”
These are a health food few men need to be convinced to try. Avocados are delicious and can make pretty much any dish—omelet, sandwich, salad, etc.—taste better. But there’s plenty of reasons to enjoy them beyond how good they taste. “These little green gems are an important source of fiber, potassium, and monounsaturated fats (which are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and improvements to the blood cholesterol portfolio),” says De Santis. “Eat fewer eggs and more avocados!”
Speaking of delicious anti-aging foods with plenty of health advantages, these nuts are not only great tasting, but, “Their mix of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber will help you feel full and suppress your appetite,” Judy Caplan, a registered dietician and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, told Health.com. All nuts have these health benefits, but almonds, cashews, and pistachios are some of the lowest-calorie nuts out there. Nuts are also a part of a good high-protein snack option.
“Prostate cancer is a big concern for men in their 40s,” says O’Nova. “But you can take steps to ward off this lethal condition by eating a diet high in the protective antioxidant selenium—and the best source of selenium, hands down, is Brazil nuts. Just eat two to three nuts per day to get your entire RDA of this crucial nutrient.”
He points to a Harvard study called “The Physicians’ Health Study,” which found that men with higher selenium levels had a 48% lower incidence of advanced prostate cancer.
These anti-aging foods are especially good for men, since they are packed with beta-sitosterol, a plant steroid that has been found to relieve symptoms of enlarged prostate (formally known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH).
If you’re feeling like a snack between meals, you could do worse than grabbing a bunch of grapes. The skins of these fruits have been found to lower LDL cholesterol and are packed with antioxidants. For other snacking options featuring healthy foods, check out the 5 greatest high-protein snacks.
Grapes are great, but there is more fun (and arguably just as many health advantages) to drinking a glass of red wine.
“Antioxidants in red wine called polyphenols may help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart,” according to the Mayo Clinic. “Resveratrol might be a key ingredient in red wine that helps prevent damage to blood vessels, reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) and prevents blood clots. Some research shows that resveratrol could be linked to a lower risk of inflammation and blood clotting, which can lead to heart disease.”
These anti-aging foods are packed with the antioxidant anthocyanin and have been found to significantly cut down on the rate that uric acid builds in the joints, which leads to gout (an issue men in their 40s need to be thinking about).
“A 2012 study published in Arthritis & Rheumatism found that patients with gout who consumed cherries over a two-day period (yes, just two days!) showed a 35% lower risk of gout attacks compared to their fruit wary counterparts,” Natasha Turner, a registered dietician and author of The Hormone Diet, wrote in The Huffington Post.
You probably stopped drinking glasses of milk around the time you started noticing girls, but it might be time to incorporate more milk into your diet. Milk has been found to help fight the reduction of muscle mass that naturally happens as guys get older. According to Keith-Thomas Ayoob, associate clinical professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, a glass of low-fat milk is actually one of the best post-workout drinks a guy in his 40s can imbibe.
“It not only has the right ratio of sodium to potassium (it’s a way better source of potassium than most other foods, in fact), it also has eight grams of protein in every cup, to help repair and build muscle tissue,” says Ayoob, pointing out that this is based on research of athletes who were found to improve their performance and endurance at subsequent workouts.
Beyond building muscle tissue, it provides added calcium and vitamin D, which most men in their 40s lack—even at this age, it’s not too early to be thinking about osteoporosis. Another dairy option that’s loaded with protein and worth making a habit of eating: fat-free Greek yogurt.
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