Health problems unique to aging in men
- Androgen deficiency syndrome – a deficiency of important male hormones such as testosterone.
- Impotence/erectile dysfunction (ED) – the inability to achieve or maintain an erection during intercourse. ED can be caused by certain medications, but is more commonly caused by atherosclerosis, diabetes, prostate-related treatments, vascular or neurological disease, or surgeries, according to Harvard Medical School and other sources.
- Benign prostatic hypertrophy – an age-related prostate gland enlargement that results in urination difficulty.
- Prostate cancer – the most common cancer for men. The prostate, a walnut-sized gland behind the penis, is statistically more prone to problems with age.
- Baldness – Baldness occurs when hairs don’t grow back, or shed rapidly. Common causes include genetics, medications, stress, heavy dandruff, hormone issues, fast weight loss, and poor scalp circulation.
- Gynecomastia – When hormone imbalance causes swollen breast tissue in men.
Foods to overcome or avoid male health issues
1: Diet solutions to erectile dysfunctionA Male Aging Study found that a diet low in red meat, processed meat, and refined grains, plus high in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and fish lowers your risk of ED. Also consider supplementing with vitamin B12. A deficiency of it can contribute to ED.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, men increase their risk of prostate cancer if they don’t get enough plant-based foods (vegetables, fruits) and get too much red meat and dairy. The latter, and a lack of the former, just about guarantees that your diet has little fiber and lots of fat, both of which contribute to testosterone health risks.
A plant-based diet also enriches your immune system with antioxidants – your ticket to a strong defense against free radicals. Look specifically for lycopene-rich foods, such as pink grapefruit, tomatoes, and watermelon, shown to fight cancer.
Read the research on fighting prostate cancer with diet.
3: Reducing cardiovascular disease and stroke risk with dietPerhaps you’re noticing a pattern here? Once again, research shows that a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fats protects you from many health issues, including strokes and heart disease/heart attacks.
Investigate the Mediterranean diet, which research indicates may specifically reduce your risk of stroke. The Mediterranean diet is comprised of lots of plant-based foods, olive oil, poultry, and fish – with very little red meat.
4: Dietary solutions to testosterone deficiencyWhile you can rely on testosterone replacement drugs, a combination of the right foods and exercise can naturally increase your testosterone levels. Some specific foods to add to your diet include:
- Fortified milk
- Egg yolks
- Beef liver
- Beans (white, kidney, or black)
5: Fighting benign prostatic hypertrophy with dietAccording to The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, eating meat every day triples your prostate enlargement risk. Changing your diet can help prevent prostate issues from arising. The short story – employ the same dietary changes noted above, eat less meat and dairy, and add more vegetables to your diet. Specifically:
- Supplement your diet with vitamins E and B6, plus saw palmetto (an herb), zinc, and cold-pressed flaxseed oil. For a natural source of zinc, chow down on sesame seeds.
- Some research also suggests that vitamin C specifically from vegetables (i.e., not from a pill) can reduce enlarged prostate risks. The best sources of vegetable-based C include peppers, broccoli, kale, and cauliflower.
- Other research advises that you should boost your natural lycopene intake with foods such as pink grapefruit, tomatoes, and watermelon.
Summary – add plants to your diet!While some specific diet recommendations vary slightly among common male health conditions (such as upping your intake of vitamin C, zinc, copper, beta-carotene, and silica for baldness), there is a common theme: a plant-based diet, a reduction in red meat, and an intake of healthy fats will go far in improving male health, and likely increase health and longevity.