Unless you’ve been living under a rock, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve heard the term “superfoods” tossed around quite a bit. In addition to tasting great, these foods are deemed “super” because they are loaded with important nutrients, antioxidants and health-promoting properties that go above and beyond “normal” health foods. These superfoods also boast a long list of benefits, ranging from increased energy, improved cognitive function and healthy digestion.
While many a superfoods list is targeted toward women looking to lose weight or get clearer, wrinkle-free skin, there are top superfoods with men-specific benefits. In fact, certain foods have been shown to boost sperm production, enhance fertility, increase testosterone levels, and protect against common issues like hair loss and balding.
5 top superfoods for men
Besides being delicious and full of flavor, papayas are also jam-packed with lycopene, a type of natural plant pigment that provides papayas with both a burst of color and a host of antioxidants. Lycopene has been shown to have potent anti-cancer properties. Some research has found that it may be especially effective against prostate cancer. According to a study published in the journal Medicine, consuming higher amounts of lycopene from foods like papaya has been associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer in men.
Papaya is also rich in fiber, which can help promote bowel movement regularity and aid in the treatment of conditions like hemorrhoids. It also delivers a range of other important micronutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin C, folate and magnesium.
Hailed as one of the most powerful superfoods on the market, some claim that this Peruvian tuber can do everything from balance hormones to support thyroid health. Regarding men’s health, maca root is believed to be especially useful when it comes to amping up libido and enhancing sexual function. In fact, one study from Northumbria University even reported that maca supplementation was effective at improving both physical performance and sexual desire in male athletes.
Additionally, maca root supplies a good amount of protein and includes all eight essential amino acids, which can aid in muscle building and recovery. It’s also rich in iron to support healthy red blood cell production and keep energy levels up.
Related article by Dr. Axe: thyroid healthy foods
Avocados are delicious and nutritious, plus an excellent source of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. In particular, they’re loaded with vitamin E, an important micronutrient high in antioxidants that can help protect against free radical formation and boost hair growth. In one study, increasing vitamin E intake was found to increase hair growth by a whopping 34.5 percent over an eight-month period. This may be especially useful for men who are affected by premature balding or thinning hair.
In addition, avocados are also a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids. This type of heart-healthy fat can reduce cholesterol levels and protect against heart disease – one of the leading causes of death for men in the United States and around the globe.
Revered for its ability to soothe nausea and relieve inflammation, ginger spice should be a staple in every man’s kitchen. Not only has it been shown to improve sperm quality and enhance fertility, but it may even help increase testosterone levels as well. A clinical trial examining the effects of ginger supplementation in infertile men actually found that ginger improved sperm viability and upped sperm count by 16 percent, while also significantly increasing levels of testosterone and other key sex hormones.
Ginger is also bursting with antioxidants and gingerol, a compound with potent anti-inflammatory properties. Some research even suggests that ginger could help post-workout muscle soreness recovery, with one study reporting that just 2 grams per day was enough to relieve muscle pain caused by injury.
Eggs are one of the most nutrient-rich foods available, cramming tons of protein, vitamin B12, and iron into each serving. They’re also one of the few great food sources of vitamin D, a nutrient that most people simply don’t get enough of. Besides helping to strengthen your bones and bump up immunity, vitamin D can also keep testosterone levels in check. According to a study conducted by the Medical University of Graz in Austria, vitamin D supplementation was able to increase testosterone levels by 25 percent over a one-year period.
Eggs also contain biotin, an essential nutrient that’s key to promoting proper hair growth and preventing baldness. Not only that, but they’re rich in protein, a key component when it comes to maintaining healthy bones, muscles, cartilage and skin.