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Four Essential Nutrients for Men


Nutrients for Men June is Men’s Health Month, an annual campaign designed to raise awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. This is particularly important because the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, has found:

  • Men are 24 percent less likely than women to have visited a doctor within the past year and are 22 percent more likely to have neglected their cholesterol tests.
  • Men are 28 percent more likely than women to be hospitalized for congestive heart failure.
  • Men are 32 percent more likely than women to be hospitalized for long-term complications of diabetes and are more than twice as likely to have a leg or foot amputated due to complications related to diabetes.

A healthy lifestyle that includes a wholesome diet, exercise and supplementation is critical to the prevention of disease. For vibrant, good health, here are four nutrients all men should be getting.

Zinc is an essential mineral that’s been found to support healthy prostate cells. Adequate intake of zinc is also essential for maintaining male sexual function. You can find good amounts of zinc in calf’s liver, sea vegetables and pumpkin seeds. Adult men should get at least 11mg of zinc daily.

Lycopene is carotenoid that gives several fruits, most notably tomatoes, their deep red color. Research indicates a specific role for this nutrient in the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer.

High levels have lycopene have also been linked to a reduced risk of stroke. One study found that men with the highest amounts of lycopene in their blood were 59% less likely to experience an ischemic stroke, and 55% less likely to develop any type of stroke than men with the lowest amounts of lycopene.

There is no official daily recommendation for lycopene and most studies involving lycopene have been focused on the amount of lycopene-containing foods that participants ate rather than on the specific quantities of lycopene they consumed. One cup of canned tomato paste provides 75mg of lycopene, while one cup of raw tomatoes gives you 5mg.

Selenium is a trace element with antioxidant properties that’s found in water and some foods. It is thought that selenium may reduce the risk of certain cancers. Some scientific evidence suggests that consumption of selenium may reduce the risk of certain forms of cancer. However, FDA has determined that this evidence is limited and not conclusive. The recommended daily intake of selenium is 60mcg for men. Tuna, shrimp, sardines, salmon, mushrooms (both crimini and shiitake), and asparagus are excellent sources of selenium.

Fiber is known to have a positive effect on cholesterol and blood sugar levels, assists with digestion and weight loss, and even helps prevent colon cancer. Studies have also found that a fiber-rich diet is associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Experts recommend men get 38 grams of fiber per day, but many are falling short of that amount. In fact, most adults only get 15 grams of fiber per day. Foods with good amounts of fiber include dark green leafy vegetables, celery, cauliflower, cabbage, raspberries, beans, and brown rice.

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