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Diet of the Sexes

Filed Under: Health Foods at 11:54 am | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
Man and Woman EatingThere’s no question that certain foods benefit everyone.  Fish, packed with omega-3 fatty acids, protect against heart disease, stroke, hypertension, depression and joint pain. Berries, brimming with flavonoids and antioxidants, repair cells, slow the affects of aging and offer rewarding doses of vitamin C. Similarly, tea, dark chocolate, fiber and calcium help both men and women maintain healthy, fully functioning bodies. However, that’s not true of all foods. Some are better for men while others offer women the maximum benefit. But, which ones?

For women, the primary concern is preventing heart disease, breast cancer and osteoporosis, so the best foods will target those conditions. Keep these in mind the next time you’re in the grocery store:

• Low-fat yogurt – one serving offers both calcium, which strengthens bones, and live cultures, which protect against breast cancer, stomach ulcers, vaginal infections and digestive disorders.
• Beans – full of fiber yet low in fat, beans will stabilize hormones while keeping heart disease and breast cancer at bay.
• Tomatoes – the magic ingredient in tomatoes is lycopene, meaning you’ll reap the same rewards from watermelon, red navel oranges or red grapefruit.
• Vitamin D fortified low-fat milk or orange juice – vitamin D is needed to maximize calcium’s benefits, but it also protects against osteoporosis, diabetes, and tumors in the breast and ovary. Research has found that one of the best ways to get it is through fortified beverages.

Men have slightly different goals. While heart disease is again the leading concern, prostate cancer and muscle mass replace breast cancer and osteoporosis. Therefore, the following foods are best:

• Oysters – the food of love creates more than mood. It stops the cellular damage that leads to prostate cancer.
• Bananas – loaded with potassium, magnesium and vitamin B-6, bananas regulate nerves, heart beat and blood pressure.
• Broccoli – when broccoli is mentioned, the entire cruciferous family is included. Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and the like will help prevent heart disease, and prostate and colon cancer.
• Brazil nuts – they lower bad cholesterol while promoting prostate health.
• Whole grains – men tend to lean towards refined grains. Changing that will maximize the diet’s fiber, vitamins and minerals intake.
• Plant stanols – they occur naturally in fruits and vegetables but can also be found in some yogurts, margarines, granola bars and orange juice.
• Red or orange vegetables – the brilliant color signals the presence of vitamin C and beta-carotene, which naturally restores your skin.

No six or seven foods can stop all ailments, but adding the above to your list is a good start. While you’re at it, incorporate some exercise and you’ll be on your way to a fabulously healthy life.

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