Food Tips for No-Shave November

No-Shave November is in full swing! Whether you have a handlebar mustache, Viking beard, or soul patch, the goal of every No-Shave participant is the same: to raise both awareness and funding for cancer prevention and treatment. So while you are watching that hair grow on your face, here are some tips for optimal men’s health.

 

tomatoes-sauce-lycopeneEat more tomatoes!

Tomatoes, as well as other fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, guava, and bell peppers, contain the phytochemical lycopene.  Increased lycopene intake is linked to decreased prostate cancer risk and prostate cancer related death. Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancers in the United States, accounting for over 27% of all new male cancer cases annually.

 As far as preventing prostate cancer goes, it is best to choose cooked tomato products as they typically contain much higher levels of lycopene than their raw counterparts. A mere half-cup of spaghetti sauce contains up to 25mg of lycopene, while one cup of tomato juice contains over 20mg. In addition to consuming more lycopene-laden foods, you should also consider physical activity in order to get your BMI into a healthy range. Weight loss has been shown to significantly reduce your risk of developing certain cancers, including prostate cancer.

 

stir-fry-meat-proteinGet enough protein!

When you’re hard at work hitting the gym, don’t forget to consume adequate protein! While tomato juice may cut it for protecting your prostate, you might need to seek out some other foods to repair your sore biceps after a long workout.  Protein has long been known to be an integral part of growing and maintaining muscle, as well as increasing your strength in the weight room.

Remember that you can obtain protein from a variety of sources, including lean poultry and red meat, seafood, beans and legumes, dairy, and soy; switch up your protein foods to stave off boredom! Individual protein needs will vary widely. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that resistance and strength athletes consume 1.2-1.7g of protein per kilogram body weight, depending on type and level of activity. Endurance athletes may require less, at 1.2-1.4g/kg.

 

lentils-fiberFeast on Fiber!

There might not be a magic cure-all pill, but fiber is as close as you can get. This powerful nutrient does it all, from fighting against heart disease to managing diabetes and even preventing colon cancer!

Colon cancer is the third deadliest form of cancer for males, claiming over 50,000 lives in 2014 alone (over half of which were men). However, current research supports that eating more fiber may significantly reduce your risk of developing colon cancer. A massive study of over 100,000 participants found that those who consumed over 28.1g of fiber per day were over 40% less likely to develop colon cancer when compared to those who ate less than 16.8g. Current recommendations suggest adult men get at least 38g of fiber per day, though many are getting less than half of that.

Protect your body from head to toe by getting enough fiber from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables! One large apple has over 5g of fiber while a single cup of lentils contains over 15g, so while an apple a day may not be enough to keep the doctor away, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

EDIT: This blog mistakenly referred to No-Shave November as Movember. The two are separate entites, and the blog has been updated to reflect November efforts.

Sources:

  1. Dietary Lycopene, Angiogenesis, and Prostate Cancer: A Prospective Study in the Prostate-Specific Antigen Era
  2. Cancer statistics, 2014
  3. Body Mass Index, Weight Change, and Risk of Prostate Cancer in the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort 
  4. Protein supplementation augments the adaptive response of skeletal muscle to resistance-type exercise training: a meta-analysis
  5. How Red Meat Can 'Beef Up' Your Nutrition
  6. Protein and the Athlete - How Much Do You Need?
  7. Dietary Fiber and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease
  8. Dietary Fiber for the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Meta-Analysis
  9. Intake of dietary fiber, especially from cereal foods, is associated with lower incidence of colon cancer in the HELGA cohort