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10 Foods Every Man Should Eat and Why

While many men are less conscious about what they eat, experts say that at times, eating healthy can mean different things for men and women because both sexes have their own set of dietary requirements.

Exercise & Fitness By Ariba Khaliq / Feb 03, 2015

Men, What are You Eating?

Typically, men think about their health at one time - during a crisis. But the problem with that wait-and-treat approach is that men are constantly responding to health emergencies rather than preventing them. They don’t realise that eating specific foods can do a great deal in keeping them fit and safe. Don’t sweat, the list will include your favourite foods too. The brain is made mainly of fat, so it’s not surprising that the balance of dietary fats influences mental performance. Your grey matter loves carbs, too, using more than half the glucose you consume each day. Luckily it leaves protein alone, so your muscles can keep growing. Here is a list of 10 foods that every man should eat so that his diet and nutrition can impact the working of his brain.

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Crab for Directions

Brain loves the foods rich in zinc; in fact, The European Food Safety Authority recently awarded a cognitive-function medal to zinc. The mineral has been found to support the hippocampus, the part of the brain that helps us to remember where we are going and why. A single portion of crab has half of your recommended dietary allowance (RWA) of zinc. Now where were you going? Ah yes! To the beach, for some crab.

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Soy for Memory

You don’t want to forget that anniversary again and gift her princess-cut diamond ring to compensate for it. You could boost your memory with a nutrient found in soy, which mimics oestrogen. This is clearly why women have a knack of remembering any minor peccadillo (now you know the secret). A study in the British Journal of Nutrition found men who took soy isoflavone pills for six weeks significantly improved their memory. Drink soy milk and never forget another anniversary.

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Sardines for Mood

Of course you know that omega 3s are great for mental function, but now another fishy nutrient, selenium, has been found to benefit your mental wellbeing. A UK study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry showed that taking a daily supplement of 100 micrograms significantly improved mood and reduced anxiety. Dear men, a happier brain is a more productive one. Sardines are an excellent food source of selenium, supplying a tightly packed 80 per cent of this amount in one tin. Eat them sparingly to tame your girl and your boss. Now, that’s a deal you can’t resist!

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Berries for Longevity

The best way to treat your grey cells to one of nature’s finest antioxidants, vitamin C, is eating berries. According to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, men with a high intake of antioxidant-rich fruits are less likely to lose their mental faculties as they age. So chuck a handful of blueberries or strawberries on your breakfast cereal.

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Tea for Mental Agility

Be thankful to your morning cuppa that does more than just lift the spirits. It is because of all the flavonoids and L-theanine found in tea. A study of more than 2000 Norwegians by the University of Oslo found mental performance was superior in those who drank the most tea. “The best effects were seen when four cups a day were consumed,” says the UK-based Tea Advisory Panel. Next time your boss raises an eyebrow at your tea break, tell him it is a performance booster.  

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Red Meat for Intelligence

Looking for a jackpot at IQ? Red meat is a humongous source of iron – associated with optimal IQ. A study at Assiut University Hospital in Egypt found the IQs of young men with iron deficiency increased when they started eating more iron. The RDA for men is eight milligrams and 100 grams of liver or kidney will see you hit this. If you prefer beef, a 300g steak will do the trick.

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Grape Juice for Recalling Lists

If your work is mostly done because of all those Post-Its, swig a glass of grape juice. A study presented at the International Conference on Polyphenols and Health showed that the ability to remember items on lists improved after 12 weeks of drinking grape juice. Short-term memory was also boosted, according to the lead researcher Dr Robert Krikorian. Sadly grape juice’s more alcoholic cousin doesn’t provide the same benefit.

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Broccoli for Anxiety Relief

If you thought folate is just for girls, forget it. Poor intake of this vitamin has been linked with apathy, irritability and anxiety; stop blaming your job for this behaviour now. A study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition showed that low folate levels in the blood were associated with negative mood swings. Shift the blues with a large helping of broccoli or peas and if you must, have that 300g steak with them as well. High-five!

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Eggs for Healthy Cells

You know it strengthens bones, but now vitamin D is thought to be essential for a healthy mind too. A review by the UK’s Health Supplements Information Service reported that mental decline was twice as likely in adults with low levels of vitamin D. Just like oily fish, eggs are a rich source of the vitamin and this gives you a smart excuse to soft-boil some quail eggs with smoked salmon for a gourmet breakfast. Ah, bliss!

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Oats for Mental Focus

To refuel your muscle, fast carbs are great, but for mental focus, low-GI foods (slow-digesting carbs) are best. Swedish scientists at Lund University evaluated memory and attention in 40 volunteers after two different breakfasts. The best results were seen after the low-GI breakfast, because blood-glucose levels were maintained for longer between meals. So, for an altogether cleverer day, don’t forget your oats.

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