10 Best Superfoods For Men 2023: Top Foods To Boost Men’s Health

Lindsey Jerke

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Kimberly Langdon, MD

superfoods for men

What is a superfood for men? The term superfood is typically given to food that provides additional health benefits beyond the macronutrient needs for energy and basic bodily functions. 

When it comes to men’s health in the US, many chronic diseases claim men at a higher rate than women, including heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Luckily, many concerns can be prevented by lifestyle factors such as eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight. 

The top superfoods for men are focused on heart health and anti-inflammatory properties to help prevent these challenges. Let’s dive into the list of our top 10 superfoods for men’s health.

10 Best Superfoods To Boost Men’s Health

Here are the ten best superfoods for men.

  1. Brazil nuts
  2. Salmon
  3. Blueberries
  4. Olive oil
  5. Green tea
  6. Spinach
  7. Sweet potatoes
  8. Mushrooms
  9. Quinoa
  10. Tomatoes

Top 10 Superfoods For Men

Brazil Nuts

Brazil Nuts superfoods for men

Brazil nuts are a powerhouse of nutrients in a compact package. Brazil nuts, also called Pára nuts, originate in South America. They are particularly rich in selenium[1], an essential trace mineral. A one-ounce serving[2] (about six brazil nuts) provides over 900% of the daily recommended selenium intake!

Why is selenium important for men’s health? Some epidemiological evidence[3] and animal studies[4] have shown an association between blood levels of selenium and the risk of developing prostate cancer. Since prostate cancer is the leading cancer in men, this is an important factor in men’s health. Human clinical studies are ongoing to confirm an association. 

The nutrition in brazil nuts can also boost your immune system, lower inflammation, and provide heart health benefits from the healthy fats common in nuts. 

Salmon

Salmon superfoods for men

The heart-healthy fats in salmon are a huge benefit for men’s health. Heart disease is a leading cause of death[5] for men in the United States. Salmon is just one top food for heart health with lots of amazing benefits. 

Salmon is particularly high in unsaturated fatty acids, especially omega-3 fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA and docosahexaenoic acid or DHA). Both of these are well-researched and key nutrients that support heart health[6]. Salmon is also an excellent source of protein and Vitamin D. 

On average, a three-ounce serving of salmon[7] provides 55% of the recommended Vitamin D intake and about 35% of the recommended daily intake for protein and almost 150% of the recommended adequate intake[8] of EPA & DHA for men!

Nutrition content may vary between wild-caught or farm-raised salmon, with wild salmon tending to have higher levels. Either is a great choice to include in your weekly diet based on what’s affordable and available in your area. 

Blueberries

Blueberries superfoods for men

Blueberries are an excellent source of antioxidants with a relatively low natural sugar content. Cancer is a health concern for most individuals. Prostate cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, and bladder cancer are the most common cancers in men. 

Blueberries are considered to be the highest antioxidant food[9] among the most common fruits and vegetables. The phytochemical especially high in blueberries is anthocyanins. These antioxidants are powerful fighters against free radicals that can cause cellular damage and lead to cancer. 

There is also evidence blueberries may improve glucose metabolism and insulin resistance. Both are risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. While blueberries have naturally occurring sugar, research has shown that a meal with anthocyanins has a lower glycemic effect than a meal without anthocyanins. 

Olive Oil

Olive Oil

Olive oil is one of the best superfoods for men because it’s a rich source of monounsaturated fat. The American Heart Association[10] recommends swapping unsaturated fat for saturated fat in your diet for optimal cardiovascular health. Because olive oil contains primarily monounsaturated fat, it is a great option for salad oil or cooking oil. 

Extra virgin olive oil is a preferred choice as it is higher in antioxidants than more refined versions that may be labeled as simply olive oil or light olive oil. The anti-inflammatory properties may protect against chronic diseases. 

However, extra virgin olive oil is typically not a great option for cooking due to its stronger flavor and low smoke point. Use this oil as part of salad dressings, cold sauces, or dips where you can.  

Green Tea

Green Tea

Green tea gets its name because the tea leaves are steamed before drying, which preserves the green color of the leaves. Green tea has been enjoyed for centuries in Asia and has some important health properties to earn its place on the list. 

Green tea is rich in polyphenols, known as catechins, in the tea plant. The steaming process for green tea preserves the polyphenols better than other types of dried tea. 

Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the most abundant catechin in tea and has been shown to decrease inflammation, boost brain health, and potentially help prevent certain cancers, including prostate cancer. In some studies[11] with prostate cancer patients, there was some improvement in biomarkers for cancer progression. 

Green tea is also touted as a metabolism booster and particularly helpful with belly fat. Indeed there is research-based evidence[12] that green tea enhances fat oxidation and metabolism. 

It is important to note that many studies use green tea extract, a more concentrated form of green tea polyphenols, to achieve therapeutic results for various conditions. 

Spinach

Spinach

Leafy green vegetables such as spinach are fantastic to include in your routine. They are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, fiber, and many antioxidants. It’s an excellent choice for just about anyone but deserves a special shout-out for men’s health for a few reasons. 

As made famous by Popeye, spinach is high in iron, an important mineral for blood proteins to carry oxygen to different body parts. However, the absorption of iron from spinach is limited due to other compounds in spinach. Adequate vitamin C intake is important to maximize iron absorption. 

Spinach is also particularly high in folate, which is a vitamin important in promoting healthy blood flow and supporting fertility. 

Finally, spinach boasts impressive amounts of Vitamin K (almost 200% of the recommended daily value in 1 cup), which supports bone health. 

Spinach is a versatile vegetable that can be enjoyed as part of a salad, sauteed for an easy side dish, or added to a fruit smoothie for a green twist. 

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Carbohydrates are an essential source of energy, and sweet potatoes provide necessary carbohydrates with some added benefits compared to white potatoes or starches.

They are a source of complex carbohydrates due to fiber content, and sweet potatoes are a good source of potassium. One medium potato[13] provides about 10% of the recommended daily intake of potassium. 

Potassium is important for preventing high blood pressure and an important factor for preventing stroke. In fact, stroke[14] is a leading cause of death for men. There is much research to support the benefits of adequate dietary potassium for heart health[15], and these spuds are one great way to boost potassium intake. 

Sweet potato is also an excellent source of beta carotene, which is a flavonoid. Beta carotene plays a role in eye health and also functions as an antioxidant for cancer prevention.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms

Mushrooms benefit men’s health because of their antioxidant capacity to protect against prostate cancer. In a recent study[16] published in the International Journal of Cancer in 2020, researchers followed over 30,000 men over a range of 13-25 years. 

Based on data about participants’ food choices, it was found that men who consumed mushrooms more than once per week had an 8% lower risk of prostate cancer. The risk was further reduced for men who consumed mushrooms more than three times per week. 

It is hypothesized the high levels of the antioxidants ergothioneine and glutathione in mushrooms may be a factor. Ergothioneine is highest in shiitake, oyster, king oyster mushrooms, and maitake mushrooms.

Quinoa

Quinoa

Quinoa is one of the best superfoods for men. It is an ancient grain that is not only a whole grain high in fiber but also a complete source of protein. A complete protein contains all nine essential amino acids. This is rare for a grain, which is why quinoa makes the list. It is an excellent and efficient choice in a range of whole grains to include as part of a healthy diet. 

Whole grains, in general, are a top choice because of their fiber content, which is essential for your digestive system. A diet high in fiber will improve bowel regularity and also help prevent colorectal diseases. 

Fiber also has been shown to help lower bad (LDL) cholesterol[17] and protect against the progression of heart disease.  

If you’re not a fan of quinoa, try brown rice, rolled oats, wild rice, or wheat bread instead for similar benefits to whole grains (but typically with less protein).

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Tomatoes may not be your first thought when it comes to foods for men’s health, but their benefits may surprise you. Tomatoes are botanically a fruit but are often categorized as vegetables nutritionally speaking. 

Tomatoes are an excellent source of potassium to both help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow. Moreover, tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene, which is responsible for their red color. Lycopene protects against certain types of cancer and cellular damage.

These benefits are even found in tomato products such as tomato sauce or tomato paste. Fresh fruits and vegetables have the important benefit of added fiber and simple bulk that can be helpful for maintaining satiety, but often other forms of tomatoes are more convenient.

The Bottom Line

Choose a variety of foods for optimal health. Superfoods for men are particularly focused on optimizing heart health and cancer prevention. The good news is that the risk for many chronic diseases can be greatly decreased with smart dietary choices.


+ 17 sources

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  4. Holmstrom, A., Wu, R., T.Y., Zeng, H., Lei, K.Y. and Cheng, W.-H. (2012). Nutritional and supranutritional levels of selenate differentially suppress prostate tumor growth in adult but not young nude mice. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, [online] 23(9), pp.1086–1091. doi:10.1016/j.jnutbio.2011.06.001.
  5. CDC (2022). Men and Heart Disease. [online] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/men.htm
  6. Feuchtner, G., Langer, C., Barbieri, F., Beyer, C., Dichtl, W., Friedrich, G., Schgoer, W., Widmann, G. and Plank, F. (2021). The effect of omega-3 fatty acids on coronary atherosclerosis quantified by coronary computed tomography angiography. Clinical Nutrition, [online] 40(3), pp.1123–1129. doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2020.07.016.
  7. Usda.gov. (2022). FoodData Central. [online] Available at: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/175168/nutrients
  8. Nih.gov. (2015). Office of Dietary Supplements – Omega-3 Fatty Acids. [online] Available at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/
  9. Prior (2022). Analysis of botanicals and dietary supplements for antioxidant capacity: a review. Journal of AOAC International, [online] 83(4). Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10995120/
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  11. McLarty, J., Bigelow, R.L.H., Smith, M., Elmajian, D., Ankem, M. and Cardelli, J.A. (2009). Tea Polyphenols Decrease Serum Levels of Prostate-Specific Antigen, Hepatocyte Growth Factor, and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor in Prostate Cancer Patients and Inhibit Production of Hepatocyte Growth Factor and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor In vitro. Cancer Prevention Research, [online] 2(7), pp.673–682. doi:10.1158/1940-6207.capr-08-0167.
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  16. Zhang, S., Sugawara, Y., Chen, S., Beelman, R.B., Tsuduki, T., Tomata, Y., Matsuyama, S. and Tsuji, I. (2020). Mushroom consumption and incident risk of prostate cancer in Japan: A pooled analysis of the Miyagi Cohort Study and the Ohsaki Cohort Study. International Journal of Cancer, [online] 146(10), pp.2712–2720. doi:10.1002/ijc.32591.
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Lindsey Jerke

Medically reviewed by:

Kimberly Langdon

Lindsey Jerke has over 10 years of experience as a registered dietitian working in the clinical setting and now in the food industry in regulatory compliance.

Medically reviewed by:

Kimberly Langdon

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