Guys, if you want to live longer, healthier lives, keep fit and lower risk of chronic diseases, the Mediterranean diet is for you. For years, the Mediterranean diet has ranked number one consistently on the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings of best diets to follow evaluated by a panel of diet, nutrition, and health experts. In addition, this way of eating has obtained number one status for categories such as Best Heart-Healthy Diet, Best Diabetes Diet, Best Diet for Healthy Eating, Easiest Diet to follow, and Best Diet Overall.
For men, this is good news. The Mediterranean diet’s benefits for men are just what men need. So let’s learn more, explicity understanding why men’s health will benefit from it.
While there are various versions of the Mediterranean diet, generally it’s high in healthy whole foods such as various vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and olive oil, along with fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and halibut. This liberal use of plant-based foods (but it’s not a vegan diet) means a diet rich in fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and vitamins and minerals precisely what men need, especially for heart health, the leading cause of death for men.
Ways the Mediterranean diet benefits men
This gold standard way of eating has numerous benefits helping ward off excess pounds and chronic disease. Here’s a look specifically at how men will benefit from following this diet:
- Reduces risk of erectile dysfunction
Heart disease is a common cause of erectile dysfunction (ED). That’s because plaque buildup along the walls of arteries allowing blood to pass carrying vital nutrients, water, and oxygen to cells, become blocked or clogged, decreasing blood flow, and can even be blocked in some vessels, leading to a heart attack or stroke.
A study published in JAMA Network Open, found that men who follow a Mediterranean diet had less inflammation and better blood flow than men who did not follow this style of eating style. In addition, up to one-third of the men who followed a Mediterranean diet in the study for two years regained normal sexual functioning.
- Improves vision health
The colorful fruits and vegetables often found on the Mediterranean diet please the eye and improve vision and eye health. The American Academy of Ophthalmology, recommends men to
load up on high antioxidant Mediterranean staples such as dark leafy greens, peppers, oranges, berries, and sweet potatoes.
Another study in the Journal of American Medical Association Ophthalmology found that eating fish weekly lowered the risk of age-related macular degeneration by 31 percent. Eating nuts each week also reduced this same risk by 35 percent. Fatty fish and nuts are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids helping protect the retina from cell damage.
- Lowers risk of colon cancer
Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in American men and the third leading cause of cancer death, according to the American Cancer Society.
Colon polyps can be dangerous as they are considered precursors for colon cancer. Research from the European Society for Medical Oncology surveyed 800 people, and those with advanced colon polyps were not following a Mediterranean way of eating.
- Better kidney functioning
More than 30 million Americans are afflicted with chronic kidney disease. This disease can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, sexual dysfunction, and kidney failure. Keeping the kidneys functioning is vital to cleanse the blood daily, getting rid of wastes the body doesn’t need.
The Mediterranean diet has shown to reduce the risk of developing kidney disease by 50 percent. The reason is believed to be attributed to the diet’s anti-inflammatory benefits since inflammation is a significant contributor to this condition.
- Slows rates of age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease
At this time, there is no known cure for preventing cognitive decline or Alzheimer’s disease. But research repeatedly shows that adherence to a Mediterranean diet appears to reduce risk of cognitive decline. This is particularly so if someone following this way of eating consumes fatty fish, which already has an association with reduced risk of cognitive impairment and slowing general cognitive decline.
Tips for men getting started eating the Mediterranean diet
Here are suggestions for anyone of foods to enjoy when following a Mediterranean diet for optimal health:
- Eat nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachios, all good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber.
- Use extra virgin olive oil in place of corn or soybean oils
- Eat fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, cod, mackerel, and halibut at least two times a week
- Eat dark green leafy vegetables – spinach, kale, Swiss chard, broccoli – each day. Have at least four or more servings of vegetables daily of asparagus, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, cauliflower, and others.
- Eat fiber-rich and antioxidant-rich fruits at least twice a day. Have berries, apples, oranges, and other fruits to enjoy
- Have legumes and seeds three or more times a week
- Daily or weekly, enjoy low to moderate amounts of nonfat or low-fat Greek yogurt and skim or 1 percent milk. Small amounts of natural cheeses, such as Brie, feta, or ricotta, are good too
- There is no limit to fat-free egg whites, but egg yolks eat in moderation. Choose skinless white meat poultry, baked, broiled, or grilled once or twice a week.
- Limit intake of lean red meat to a 3-4 ounce portion of loin or round cuts of meat about once a week.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncolo gy and prostate cancer 911.