Males have different nutritional needs from females in calorie intake and the nutrients they require for prostate health and fertility. A healthful diet is also essential for heart, bone, and muscle health. People may also choose certain diets to maintain a moderate weight.
This article looks at suitable diets for males and what they may include.
A healthful diet is essential for everyone at all stages of life. Generally, males may require more calories than females, while their vitamin and mineral requirements differ slightly.
Adolescents and young males require essential nutrients, such as calcium, vitamin D, and protein, to grow healthy bones and support muscle development. Older males also need these nutrients to help prevent osteoporosis and sarcopenia as they age.
Males of reproducing age can support their fertility by consuming a healthful diet that includes key nutrients such as zinc and selenium.
Diet and moderate weight are also important factors in well-being and mental health. Eating a healthful diet can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for males in the United States. Certain dietary choices may contribute to this condition, while research recommends adopting healthful eating plans.
The American Heart Association advises the following:
- eating a variety of nutritious foods from all food groups
- limiting saturated fats, trans fats, sodium, red meat, sweets, and sugar-sweetened drinks
- choosing fiber-rich whole grains
- eating a variety of fish at least twice a week, especially oily fish
- drinking alcohol in moderation
- keeping an eye on portion sizes when eating out
- Cruciferous vegetables: Cruciferous foods, such as broccoli, contain sulforaphane and glucoraphanin, which may protect against cancer. Other vegetables of this type include cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and bok choy.
- Berries: These are a source of antioxidants that may protect against free radicals that damage the body’s cells. They include strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries.
- Fish: Oily fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory and beneficial for health.
- Cooked tomatoes: Cooking tomatoes makes it easier for the body to access the lycopene they contain. Lycopene is an antioxidant that may help protect against cancer, according to some research.
- Coffee and tea: Catechins in coffee and tea may be anti-carcinogenic. One study suggests that males who drank more than 7 cups of green tea a day had a reduced risk of prostate cancer.
The 2017 ROMEO systematic review looked at the best diets for males to maintain a moderate weight. Although the authors studied a limited number of trials, they concluded that a combination of the following helps achieve optimal weight reduction for men:
- a reducing diet
- physical activity advice or an activity program
- behavior change training
The authors suggest that a weight loss program’s delivery is important, with males preferring fact-based language and individualized feedback. With this in mind, males may find it beneficial to use fitness apps or a personal trainer.
There are different dietary approaches for males to maintain a moderate weight. Some people favor low carbohydrate diets, such as the ketogenic or paleo regimens, while others may choose a low-fat plan.
However, the DIETFITS randomized clinical trial found no significant difference in 12-month weight loss between a healthful low-fat or low-carbohydrate diet.
Another 2020 study compared a ketogenic diet with a personalized low glycemic nutrigenetic diet in people with obesity. After 24 weeks, the keto group lost more weight. However, at an 18-month follow-up, the personalized diet participants lost significantly more weight and had greater improvements in cholesterol and blood glucose.
Males can also take advice from the Department of Health, who advise people to check their body mass index to see if they have a moderate weight.
A person’s maximum bone size and strength is known as peak bone mass. According to OrthoInfo, males have a higher peak bone mass than females. Males accumulate more skeletal mass during growth, while their bone width and size is greater.
However, males are at risk of osteoporosis, especially after 70 years of age, when bone loss and fracture risk increases significantly. Therefore, it is vital that males support their bones through diet and exercise throughout their life.
Two nutrients that are particularly important for bone health are calcium and vitamin D. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the following foods are suitable sources of both.
- dairy products
- green leafy vegetables
- beans and legumes
- fortified orange juice
- egg yolks
- saltwater fish
According to a 2020 review, a high-fat diet and having obesity affect sperm quality and offspring development.
The authors recommend a nutrient-dense, healthful diet for fertility. Many of their recommendations are similar to the Mediterranean diet, with key foods consisting of oily fish, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
The authors also suggest nutrients that are important for male fertility, including:
- omega-3 fatty acids
- magnesium and calcium
- copper and manganese, although not in excessive amounts
Males may choose specific diets for health reasons or to maintain a moderate weight. Some may start a diet to improve their fitness or sports goals.
If they prefer not to choose a specific diet, males can use ChooseMyPlate resources to plan healthy meals. The plate method ensures that a person consumes essential nutrients while limiting or avoiding sugar, saturated fat, and sodium.
Other tips that males can try in planning a healthful diet program include:
- researching diets suitable for personal goals
- consulting with a dietitian or nutritionist
- keeping a food journal
- enlisting the help of a diet buddy for support
- using health and fitness apps
- planning meals in advance and batch cooking to save time
- making activity and exercise part of a daily routine
All people require a healthful diet throughout their lives, but males require certain nutrients that can change according to their age and health issues.
By setting fitness goals, such as maintaining a moderate weight or improving heart health, males can plan and cater their diet to ensure they receive all the nutrients they need. Combining a diet with exercise is likely to produce the most beneficial results.