In this article, we will be covering what we deem to be some of the best superfoods for men. Some of these foods may not have garnered the exposure they deserve; oftentimes, superfoods for men have been presented as various cuts of meat or generic spices that are beneficial to both sexes. Herein, we will explore some superfoods you may not consider to be as potent as they are.
Over the past few months, as part of our series on reducing the calamitous effects of the modern world’s war on masculinity, and in particular testosterone, we’ve advocated a number of strategies to boost your flagging testosterone levels, including foods to eat and foods to avoid. Here we’ll describe six superfoods for men, with various beneficial effects, that you should be eating if you want to maximise your gains.
It’s not overstatement to say that the modern world really isn’t conducive to being a red-blooded male. Putting to one side the social conditions that increasingly circumscribe and curtail the domain of masculinity, the male body, and in particular its precious hormonal balance, are under constant siege from a variety of dietary and industrial compounds, in particular phyto- and xenestrogens. Which is why we decided to post this article on superfoods for men to improve your life and become a demigod.
Here we’ll be looking at six foods that have beneficial effects beyond simply affecting your testosterone levels; although some of them will also do that too.
6 Awesome Superfoods For Men
Eggs, one of the best superfoods for men, are one of nature’s most complete foods. As well as being a source of inexpensive, high-quality protein – they contain all nine essential amino acids – eggs are rich in various vitamins and minerals including selenium, zinc, iron and copper and vitamins A, B2, B6, B12, D, E and K.
Once upon a time, bodybuilders used to eat a lot of eggs, including raw eggs. Vince Gironda, in particular, advocated raw eggs as an alternative to steroids, in his famous 36-eggs-a-day or hormone-precursor diet. Another diet of Gironda’s that involved eggs was the steak-and-eggs diet, which was used for maximum definition in preparation for a contest involving integral superfoods for men. We’ve already examined this second diet in an article.
The great Vince Gironda
Since then, eggs, or at least whole eggs, have fallen out of favour with bodybuilders, many of whom would sooner eat a bag full of nails than an egg yolk; egg whites, yes, but almost never the yolks. In large part this has been as a result of the more widespread demonisation of fat, especially animal fats, in health and fitness culture.
Studies are now proving just how wrong-headed consuming only egg whites, rather than the whole egg, is. A recent study, for instance, showed that consumption of whole eggs:
‘immediately after resistance exercise resulted in greater stimulation of myofibrillar protein synthesis than did the ingestion of egg whites, despite being matched for protein content in young men’. [R]
Exactly why this happens isn’t fully clear, but it may have to do with cholesterol, one of the most maligned substances in western medicine. One large egg contains 186mg of cholesterol, over half the daily recommended intake, with almost all of it in the yoke, rather than the white to reap the fullest benefits of one of the most powerful superfoods for men.
Believe it or not, there appears to be a closer correlation between cholesterol intake and lean muscle mass gain than between the latter and protein intake. The work of Steven Riechman, for instance, has shown a linear dose-response between cholesterol intake and lean muscle mass increases, and a second study showed similar results.[R] [R]
The precise mechanism by which cholesterol increases muscle mass is not clear at present. It may have something to do with effects on cell membranes, inflammation or lipid raft formation and cell signalling – or all of those things.
There’s evidence from a number of studies on saturated fat, which is a building block of cholesterol, that diets high in saturated fat increase testosterone production. Low saturated fat intake is associated with reduced testosterone. [R] [R]
For natural lifters, certain foods high in saturated fats can make or break one’s lifestyle. Eggs, in particular, are one of the best superfoods for men who seek to build as much muscle as humanly possible.
If you’re worried about dietary cholesterol intake, there’s growing evidence that actually you really shouldn’t be. In fact, there’s evidence that most people’s consumption of dietary cholesterol has nothing to do with their blood cholesterol levels, and even the much-vaunted link between dietary cholesterol and heart disease is now being re-examined. [R]
(Homemade) Ice Cream
Yes, that’s right, ice cream is a muscle-building superfood. Don’t believe me? Just ask Mike Mentzer, one of the most jacked, stacked and powerful bodybuilders of all time. He loved ice cream (then again, who doesn’t?).
Yes, you really can eat ice cream regularly and look like this
According to Mike, before the 1980 Mr Olympia, he was eating ice cream at least four days a week and still losing fat, making it one of the most unexpected superfoods for men.
Every day I would wake up and see more definition and the night before I had just had an ice cream cone. I mean, it’s ridiculous eating nothing but protein or tuna fish and water to get cut up. Not only is it not healthy and no fun, it’s just ridiculous.[R]
We concur. Who would want to eat tinned tuna all day long if you can eat ice cream?
So what is it about ice cream that makes it worth adding to your diet? According to Dr Ray Peat, ice cream comes very close to being a perfect food source. It’s calorically dense and contains sugar, protein, saturated fat and cholesterol, as well as essential calcium, which helps, among other things, to combat hyperthyroidism and to fortify your bones — everything you’d want in this unusual entry in our superfoods for men category.
And it’s an ideal food to eat before bed, as Mentzer himself did, because the saturated fat ensures the sugar is released slowly. By eating ice cream before bed, you ensure your body gets a constant flow of high-quality nutrients right through the night.
Led ov sum steem, Bennedd!
A word of caution though about commercially made ice creams. Even expensive ones can contain a lot of nasty fluff, including carrageenan, a thickener which is used to inflate the ice cream, as well as to homogenise milk. Carageenan, a seaweed derivative, is actually the reason why a lot of people who believe they are lactose intolerant can’t drink supermarket milk. Rather than being lactose intolerant, these people simply can’t tolerate the carageenan. And it’s no wonder: when it’s not being used to thicken milk, it’s used to induce certains forms of cancer, immunodeficiency, arthritis and other inflammatory conditions in lab animals. Charming.
Given how cheap ice-cream makers are now, there’s no excuse not to buy one and make some high-quality ice cream of your own. Honestly, it will be better than anything you can buy, and it will be much better for you. And if you make your ice cream with whole eggs, tapping into two superfoods for men – even better!
Da mohst sadisfying feeling you can ged in da gym is da puhmp
Put down that expensive pre-workout powder and grab a glass of beetroot juice instead. No, really.
Beetroot is one of the best superfoods for men as well as a reputable natural pre-workout for athletes of all stripes.
One of the essential constituents of one of the most powerful dishes in eastern European cuisine (that’s borscht, if you need telling), beetroot has a host of beneficial effects. Among its many benefits for weightlifters and bodybuilders, beetroot juice can reduce blood pressure, cause the blood vessels to dilate and increase blood flow to the muscles; all in all, that adds up to a sick, Arnold-worthy pump, and then some.
Researchers at the University of Reading saw a significant increase in blood vessel function and a significant decrease in blood pressure as a result of consuming just 100ml of beetroot juice. Beetroot is high in dietary nitrate, which contributes to the production of nitric oxide, a compound responsible for improved cardiovascular function. [R]
In another study, beetroot was shown to produce a significant increase in athletic performance. The test subjects who drank beetroot juice before exercise showed improved oxygen uptake and were able to exercise for a greater length of time than those administered the placebo. [R] These findings have been replicated in other studies as well. [R] [R]
One of the cheapest and most promising superfoods for men and women.
Ol’ Popeye was definitely on to something
Spinach is regularly referred to as one of the best superfoods for men, and for good reason. Spinach contains iron, calcium and magnesium in abundance. Magnesium, in particular, is essential to proper hormonal balance in men. It helps to free up testosterone in the blood by preventing sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) from binding with testosterone. Only unbound, or free, testosterone can actually be used in the body. [R]
Other purported benefits of eating spinach includes cancer prevention, a reduction in blood sugar levels, increased bone health (as you’d expect with all that calcium), increased weight loss, improved vision, lower blood pressure and improved immunity, among others. Quite a list, no?
One compound within spinach has also recently come in for a lot of attention: the phytosteroid ecdysterone — truly one of the most impressive properties contained in all superfoods for men.
If anything, this would qualify under super superfoods for men.
As part of a 10-week study, researchers split nearly 50 athletes into four groups to assess how ecdysterone affected their physical performance: one was a control group, another received a placebo, and the remaining groups received a daily dose of either two or eight capsules containing 100mg of ecdysterone extracted from spinach. The four groups followed the same strength training programme for the 10 weeks.
The group on ecdysterone enjoyed both increased muscle mass and strength gains. In fact, their strength gains were up to three times those of the other participants — and you wanted to know about superfoods for men that could marginally increase libido.
In another study investigating the compound’s method of action, the authors write:
“The anabolic potency of the ecdysterone was comparable or even higher as found for the anabolic androgenic steroids [dianabol and trenbolox], SARMs or IGF-1”
Although ecdysterone shares a very similar structure to testosterone, it doesn’t, in itself, appear to stimulate increased testosterone production, but rather to act on estrogen receptors, suppressing estrogen production. [R]
Note that the amounts of ecdysterone consumed in the human study mentioned above were equivalent to as much as the amount found in 16kg of spinach, so it’s probably best for you to get your ecdysterone in tablet form.
Imagine telling your friends that you’re about to cycle concentrated spinach!
Red wine — The Liquid King of Superfoods for Men
‘No help yourself. $36 a bottle. Enjoy it.’
Raise a glass, because red wine can help you chase those gains!
Research has revealed red wine to be a potent aromatase inhibitor. Aromatase is an enzyme that converts androgens (i.e. male hormones) into estrogen — showing its promise as one of the best superfoods for men.
Aromatisation of male hormones is responsible for the growth of breast tissue (gynecomastia) in bodybuilders and athletes who take steroids and exogenous testosterone. The excess male hormone is aromatised into estrogen, which leads to the formation of breast tissue – the puffy nipples witnessed, for instance, on the Rock Dwayne Johnson.
Call him ‘bitch tits’: I dare you
Although estrogen is necessary to proper functioning of the male as well as female body, excess estrogen is now becoming an epidemic problem among men in the developed world, with horrible, emasculating effects on a scale never before seen. In our article on xenestrogens, we described how estrogen and estrogenic chemicals can begin a weight-gain cascade.
‘Xenestrogens bind to estrogen receptors in fat tissue, inducing aromatisation and leading to the production of more estrogen. In turn, this increases fat tissue – leading to further estrogen production, and so on and so on. What began as exposure to xenestrogenic or phytoestrogenic compounds can soon become a weight-gain cascade.’
Fat tissue in itself is estrogenic, and so one of the best ways to restore your hormonal balance is to lose fat, plain and simple. Dieting to lose fat would be more beneficial than any of the listed superfoods for men.
Interestingly enough, its aromatase inhibiting properties have made red wine a subject of study for researchers investigating breast cancer, because breast cancer tissue expresses estrogen at a higher level than surrounding tissue. [R]
Red wine also contains quercitin, a substance which blocks the enzyme UGT2B177, which is responsible for binding with testosterone, allowing it to be excreted by the body. Although more research needs to be done, it is possible that consumption of red wine increases your body’s free testosterone levels – a boon for anybody looking to build and retain lean mass. [R]
Another property of red wine to make it qualify for this list of superfoods for men is the antioxidant-like Resveratrol that shows anti-aging and anti-Alzheimer’s effects. It is also a powerful anti-inflammatory and can increase insulin sensitivity.
A word of caution on alcohol. It’s worth noting that excessive alcohol consumption in any form has been linked to lower testosterone levels too. At least two studies have shown testosterone decreases in men as a result of alcohol consumption per se. [R] [R]
Shiitake and Portobello Mushrooms have also been shown to be potential aromatase inhibitors — so load up on these nutritious sides for your steak!
Begone, foul spawn of satan!
Guaranteed to kill vampires and to make you more of a man. Like beetroot, garlic can also help you achieve an hellacious pump. Garlic is one of the best superfoods for men, as a ‘potent activator of nitric oxide synthase’, the compound which is responsible for producing nitric oxide. Nitric oxide, as we’ve seen, improves blood pressure and cardiovascular function. [R]
Another fantastic thing garlic is proven to do is reduce your cortisol levels, by means of the sulfur-based compound allicin.
But what’s so bad about cortisol?
Under stress, your body produces cortisol, which has an impact on other bodily functions, including the production of testosterone. Some, but not all, of a man’s testosterone is produced in the adrenal gland, with the rest being produced in the gonads.
Cortisol competes for the same muscular receptor sites as testosterone, and so the more cortisol you have in your system, the more competition testosterone will face at the receptor sites. When cortisol goes up, testosterone goes down, as the following studies show. [R] [R] [R]
So by reducing the amount of cortisol in your system you allow testosterone to be produced more effectively by the adrenal gland and prevent it from facing so much competition to bind to skeletal muscle receptors.
So while garlic itself act isn’t a testosterone-boosting food, it reduces cortisol and as a result can help boost testosterone levels, making it a real contender for one of the best superfoods for men.
Garlic is most potent in its raw form. You can either eat raw cloves (skinned and chopped in half) or you can take a raw garlic supplement. In our free ebook, ‘How To Lose 20lb and Build Muscle in 12 Weeks’, we give a recipe for a potent homemade pre-workout formula using raw garlic.
As far as pre-workouts go, beetroot juice with raw garlic enables you to double-dip with two of the best superfoods for men and enjoy a workout better than many $50-a-tub pre-workouts.
While we’re on the subject of cortisol and stress, it’s worth also saying that both can lead to overeating, weight gain and the storage of unhealthy body fat around the internal organs, all of which can reduce your testosterone levels. [R] [R] [R]
Eliminating as much cortisol and chronic stress from your life as possible, whether through your diet or through practices such as meditation and visualisation, is an essential part of restoring your natural masculine balance. Eliminating stress will also mimic many of the restorative effects of eating all of the above superfoods for men.
Cutting body fat, eliminating stress, and getting a good night’s sleep will all help reverse some of the deleterious effects of modern living. Eating these superfoods for men will be the cherry on top.
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