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Man power

In line with Men’s Health week, we take a look at some of the best foods and supplements to support men’s health naturally

Tomato goodness
Tomatoes are a rich source of the phytonutrient lycopene, which is not only responsible for their red colour, and also offers a number of health benefits, particularly for men. In his new book, How to Eat Better, ethnobotanist James Wong reveals that: “Several large observational studies that have tracked the diets of tens of thousands of people suggest that those with lycopene-rich diets have a significantly reduced incidence of certain types of cancer. One Harvard University Study for example found that those with the highest intakes of tomatoes and their products had a 35 per cent lower risk of prostate cancer including a 53 per cent lower risk of the most aggressive forms.”

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“Vitamin D plays a vital role in sperm development, can boost testosterone levels and may improve libido,” says Sarah Green. “So don’t burn, but play in the sun!”

The middle man
“When excess calories are consumed, particularly from sugars and refined carbohydrates, the body releases the hormone insulin to remove sugar from the blood,” explains Ali Orr, a nutrition consultant at YorkTest ( “Insulin is the storage hormone and the easiest place in men to store excess energy is in the fat cells around the middle, also known as visceral adipose tissue (VAT). As VAT is metabolically active it can drive behaviour and actually make you crave the foods that create it in the first place. By reducing your consumption of refined carbohydrates you can reduce the VAT you have and reduce your cravings for less healthy foods. Try swapping white rice, pizzas, breads and pasta for more whole foods such as sweet potato, legumes, whole grain rice and increase your protein and healthy fat to reduce hunger.”

Protein power
“Testosterone contributes to muscle mass, bone density, red blood cells, hair growth and emotional health,” says Sarah Green, Registered Nutritional Therapist and Vice Chair of BANT ( “But it declines in men with age, from around 30 years old. However, environmental chemicals exposure is associated with earlier and more rapid decline. These endocrine (hormone) disrupting chemicals, such as phthalates, are found in soaps, shampoos, deodorants, perfumes, hair sprays, plastic bags, food packaging even and especially in the plastics in your brand new car. Chronic stress is another factor as your stress hormones steal the raw materials you need to make your sex hormones. Reduce your risk with organic foods and products. Increase your intake of zinc (an essential mineral for testosterone production) with protein-rich foods like meat and fish, black tea, beans and fermented food.”

Try this!

“Korean Panax Ginseng is a great herbal remedy for men with a wide range of benefits,” says nutritionist Sarah Flower. “It can help keep the male reproductive system in tip top shape. A 2008 study on erectile dysfunction, published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, showed over 60 per cent improvement when taking Korean Panax Ginseng.”

Peruvian potency
Maca, a root vegetable native to Peru, is being touted for its capacity to boost sex drive naturally. Nutritionist Ali Orr explains that not only has this veggie proved to be useful in the balancing of hormones, but some early studies have also demonstrated its ability to increase sperm production and volume. She adds: “Maca is easy to incorporate in your diet. Add the powder to a smoothie for a sweet taste or it can be taken as a capsule.”

Why broccoli packs a punch!
According to researchers from Oregon State University in the US, eating more cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, may lower a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer. Cruciferous vegetables are high in the dietary compound sulforaphane which has been shown to prevent or slow down the progression of malignant cells. These findings were published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

Men’s Health Week 2017 will run from 12 to 18 June. For more information about the campaign,visit

Marvellous mushrooms
“Cordyceps mushroom is one of the most prized hormone-modulating and energy-enhancing adaptogens known for many centuries in Eastern Medicine,” says Romina Melwani, nutritional advisor and mycotherapist consultant for Hifas da Terra ( “In the west, more than ever before, studies are showing compelling reasons why men should consider supplementing with this potent mushroom. One of the many benefits of Cordycep sinensis is its ability to enhance athletic performance and improve aerobic capacity, making it ideal for athletes of all types. This powerful food has also been shown to fight tiredness and improve muscle weakness and mental energy. Another area of particular interest is the use of the use of Cordyceps to support and revitalise the reproductive system.”*

Mighty magnesium
Around one in six men die from Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), according to statistics from the British Heart Foundation. Author and nutritionist Sarah Flower ( recommends that men take a combination of magnesium, krill oil and co-enzymeQ10 for a natural heart support package. She adds: “Magnesium is required for over 300 biochemical reactions within the body including energy metabolism, DNA replication, protein synthesis and detoxification. It is vital for heart health and can help protect you from cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke and most related inflammatory conditions. It also plays a vital role in maintaining the electrical charge of cells, especially for the heart, blood vessel muscles and bowel muscle.”

* References
1. Nagata A., Tajima T., Uchida M. Supplemental anti-fatigue effects of Cordyceps sinensis (Tochu-kaso) extract powder during three stepwise exercise of human. Japanese journal of physical fitness and sports medicine. Pp. 145-151 20061001
2. Koh JH., Kim KM., Kim JM., Song JC., Suh HJ. Antifatigue and antistress effect of the hot-water fraction from mycelia of Cordyceps sinensis. Biol. Pharm. Bull. 26(5) 691-694 (2003) 691.
3. Huang YL., Leu SF., Liu BC., Sheu CC., Huang BM. In vivo stimulatory effect of Cordyceps sinensis mycelium and its fractions on reproductive functions in male mouse. Life aci. 2004 Jul 16;75 (9):1051-62.

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