10 essential superfoods for men over 50

Daniel Coughlin / 19 August 2016 ( 21 May 2019 )

Fine-tuning your diet to reflect your changing nutritional needs is key as you age.

According to the British Nutrition Foundation, 50-plus men tend to have slower metabolisms than guys in their 20s, and may require fewer calories overall to stay in good shape. They also benefit from foods that are rich in certain nutrients which support older men's health.

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Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, a red pigment with powerful antixodant and anti-cancer properties.

Lycopene protects against several cancers that affect older men in particular, including cancers of the prostate, stomach and lung. In fact, one study showed that eating more than 10 portions of tomatoes a week reduces the risk of prostate cancer by 20%.

It's worth noting that processing and cooking tomatoes or serving them with extra-virgin olive oil makes their lycopene content more bio-available.

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Sweet potatoes

Several studies have linked diets high in carotenoid-rich veggies with a lower risk of prostate cancer.

Sweet potatoes are an outstanding source of beta-carotene, an important carotenoid. Sweet potatoes are also bursting with potassium, an essential mineral for older men's health, and have a low glycemic index (GI), reducing the risk of type-2 diabetes. Try them steamed, mashed or roasted in their jackets with a drizzle of rapeseed oil.

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The UK's number one killer, heart disease is more common in men than women, however the risk appears to even out for both sexes post-50. Nonetheless, maintaining a healthy cholesterol level is super-important for older men if they want to minimise their risk.

Oats contain a soluble fibre called beta-glucan that is scientifically proven to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Heart UK advises that just 3 g of oats a day reduces bad cholesterol by an impressive 5%, so adding oats to your diet is a wise move, whatever your age or gender.

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High blood pressure is very common in men over 50 and like high cholesterol, a major heart disease risk factor.

Maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI) of between 18.5 – 25 and taking regular exercise can keep blood pressure within healthy levels, not to mention cutting down on alcohol and salt.

Dietary potassium lowers blood pressure by cancelling out the negative effects of salt, and avocados are an excellent source of this mineral, as well as heart-healthy monosaturated fats.

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Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men, especially men over 50, according to NHS statistics. Evidence suggests a diet high in fruit and vegetables and low in saturated fat can help prevent this type of cancer, and several studies have linked a broccoli-rich diet, particular raw broccoli, with a lower risk.

Broccoli has also been found to help improve bladder cancer survival. Several generous portions a week should be enough to reap the benefits.

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Muscle mass decreases as we age and sarcopenia or degenerative loss of muscle increases significantly beyond the age of 50.

Research published in the British Journal of Community Nursing advises older people to up their protein intake and eat several portions throughout the day to nourish the muscles and help stave off sarcopenia. Eggs are a stellar source of protein and are more affordable than other rich sources like fish or meat, plus they're low in saturated fat.

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Turkey breast

Older men may also want to add lean turkey breast to their shopping list – and not just for Christmas.

“Turkey is naturally low in fat and a rich source of high quality protein and B vitamins including vitamin B6,” says registered dietitian and nutritionist Sarah Schenker.

Vitamin B12 in particular becomes more difficult to absorb as you age, so it's a good idea to boost your dietary intake if you're 50-plus.

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A wonderfully nutritious addition to any older man's diet, the humble almond is packed with bloke-friendly health benefits.

A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association in 2015 found that eating almonds helps burn away belly fat, which can be tough to shift when you're 50-plus. And that's just for starters.

Almonds help support sexual function, lower bad cholesterol and reduce blood pressure, and are brimming with protein and healthy fats to nourish the muscles.

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Boosting the levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet is advisable for men over 50. Omega-3s provide a myriad of health benefits for older men, from helping to maintain optimum brain function and heart health, to lowering the risk of bowel cancer, the third most common cancer in older males.

Salmon is a superb source of omega-3 fatty acids and is high in protein to boot. Experts recommend that older men eat two to three portions of oily fish a week to tap into the health benefits.

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Grass-fed beef

Rich in protein, lean grass-fed beef is one of the best dietary sources of zinc. Older people are more prone to zinc deficiency, which the NHS advises can cause all sorts of potentially debilitating symptoms, from poor wound healing and skin rashes to loss of libido and hair loss.

Lean beef is also high in top quality protein and a first-rate source of muscle-boosting creatine, which may help combat age-related muscle loss.

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