As men age, there are specific health concerns that can be controlled with diet.
Registered dietitian Brittany Link from Advice for Eating recommends these nutrients throughout a man’s lifetime:
20s and 30s
Men are typically at their healthiest, working hard at the office and the gym, which may be why this 20- to 30-year-old demographic is guzzling caffeine and protein but limiting these drinks and shakes is recommended by dietitian Brittany Link.
“That can cause an excess of calories, which over time is going to cause weight gain,” she said.
Instead, she said men's youth is the time to increase vitamin C and zinc, which are good for reproduction.
“Zinc is seen and things like pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, tahini, also high in oysters, if you eat oysters, that's a really good source of Zinc,” Link said. “…And then selenium is another mineral that is implicated in sperm production. Just one Brazil nut a day will get you your recommended daily value of selenium.”
Link said this age group should scale back alcohol and start worrying about blood pressure, which also means opting for low sodium.
“Deli cut meats, pre-packaged meats, pre-packaged soups are a really big source [of sodium], pizza, bread, a lot of things with preservatives are going to have a lot of sodium,” Link said.
By your 50s, Link said the risk of prostate cancer goes up.
Foods to fight prostate cancer include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, sprouts.
“Cruciferous vegetables are high in a polyphenol called sulforaphane,” Link said. “One of the best or most concentrated sources of sulforaphane is going to be broccoli sprouts.”
Lycopene is another great anti-cancer food, which is found in cooked tomatoes.
“Canned tomatoes, tomato paste, even sun-dried tomatoes have a more concentrated source of lycopene,” Link said.
Age-related muscle loss sinks in at 60. Now is the time to include more protein in your diet.
“Having a good source of protein with each meal, even at your snack. So, it can be anything from a plant-based protein like beans or tofu to something with animal-based protein like meat, eggs, yogurt, sometimes as you get older your appetite decreases and it can be harder to get those protein sources. So, that's where I would maybe recommend something like a whey protein to add to something or stir in,” Link said.
Now is also the time to be very cognizant of expired foods.
“As we get older, our immune systems can start to weaken a little bit more and we're more prone to getting foodborne illness and it can be harder to recover from. So, making sure that you're really starting to read those expiration dates, that you're starting to be able to be a little more careful with how long you've had leftovers in the fridge will be more important as you get older,” Link said.
Begin eating foods high in antioxidants to improve cognitive health. Foods like blueberries are great for your mind because antioxidants lower oxidative stress.
Link said multivitamins are good, but they're not supposed to be your primary source of nutrients. She said you cannot expect vitamins will make up for unhealthy eating.
You should put importance on your food first and then use the multivitamin as a back-up to ensure you're getting enough of the necessary minerals and nutrients, Link recommends.