13 Best Summer Superfoods for Men
Food experts weigh in on top summer superfoods for men. From mangoes to pineapples, these picks provide numerous health benefits.
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Why men need different nutrients
Men and women don’t always have the same nutrient needs. Men are typically taller and have more muscle than women. So in addition to calories and protein, they may need greater amounts of other nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin K, and more. We went to the experts to get a list of top summer superfoods that supply the necessary nutrients for guys. Here are the foods men need more of.
Mangoes are available year-round but summer is peak season for this superfruit. The sweet fruit contains 20 different vitamins and minerals and is particularly rich in vitamins A and C and dietary fiber. One cup of mango has about two-thirds of a man’s daily recommended amount of vitamin C, according to the USDA. Add mango to your diet by incorporating the fruit into a smoothie, mango oatmeal, or coleslaw. (For more healthy meal inspiration, see the quick, healthy meals that doctors make every day.)
Men have a slightly higher risk of developing colorectal cancer than women, says Kelli Shallal, RD, a registered dietitian in Phoenix. “Avocados provide a huge dose of fiber! Fiber has been shown to reduce the risk of obesity and colorectal cancer.” These green gems have another benefit, too. “Avocados have been labeled as a ‘happy fruit,'” says Sarah Koszyk, RDN, a registered dietitian and author of 365 Snacks for Every Day of the Year. “They may help boost mood and reduce symptoms of depression.” Include avocado in a healthy avocado smoothie, avocado slaw, or avocado chocolate brownies.
This green veggie is full of nutrients that are beneficial for men. “This leafy green is a powerhouse of nutrients with iron, calcium, vitamin C, and potassium,” says nutrition blogger Janet Brancato, RDN. “It’s great for healthy bones and muscles!” Spinach also offers the mineral magnesium, which along with calcium can help keep bones strong. And it boasts manganese, which can help regulate blood sugar levels. Have spinach in a lupini bean salad, a beef bowl, or a strawberry spinach salad.
“When it comes to summer superfoods, watermelon is a crowd favorite,” says Joan Salge Blake, a nutrition professor at Boston University and host of the health and wellness podcast SpotOn! At less than 50 calories for per cup, it’s a low-calorie sweet addition to any meal or snack. “Watermelon contains the powerful antioxidant lycopene, which can help men reduce their risk of prostate cancer,” Blake says. “It is also a potassium powerhouse, an important mineral that can help lower high blood pressure. Many men are falling short of potassium in their diets. Chronically, high blood pressure can increase the risk for stroke, a top leading cause of death among men.” Get your watermelon in a watermelon limeade, tomato watermelon salad, or a watermelon avocado tomato stack. (Also, try out the summer superfood recipes to beat the heat.)
Research shows that polyphenols, naturally found in grapes of all colors, may contribute to heart health. Grapes also are packed with antioxidants and lots of nutrients including vitamins C and K. Enjoy yogurt-dipped frozen grapes, a Greek yogurt parfait with grapes, or a Waldorf salad with grapes and pears.
Herbs can be superfoods, too! Add oregano to your favorite dishes for not only a flavor burst but a health boost, as well. “Oregano is considered a super herb,” says Elena Paravantes, RD, a dietitian in Chicago. “It has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties,” says Paravantes. “It also contains carvacrol, a potent phenol that can potentially help treat cancer. You can add it to your salad dressing or sprinkle it directly over salad, chicken, and fish.” Also add oregano to hummus pizza, Greek tacos, and flatbread bites.
Here’s one that may help reduce your risk of prostate cancer: “Fresh tomatoes, cooked in olive oil, make for a man’s perfect summer superfood,” says Rima Kleiner, RDN, a registered dietitian in Greensboro, North Carolina. “Cooked tomatoes contain very high levels of the carotenoid lycopene, especially important for helping to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.” Cook with a fat, like oil, and that lycopene becomes even more available to your body, says Kleiner. Fresh tomatoes also provide lycopene, so aim to add tomatoes to your day however you can, as both fresh and cooked ingredients. Eat tomatoes in a vegetarian rice bowl or a white bean pizza.
Say yes to omega-3s! “Salmon is one of the highest sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential in reducing inflammation, nourishing your brain, and improving heart health,” says Jennifer Hunt, RDN, a dietitian in Greenville, South Carolina. The beneficial omega-3s in salmon are of the DHA and EPA variety, and that means they’re easier for your body to put to use (compared to plant-based omega-3s). You get a vitamin boost from salmon, too. “For men who struggle with low vitamin D, just a four-ounce serving of cooked wild-caught salmon will contribute more than 100 percent of your daily requirement, which is especially helpful for people with limited sun exposure,” says Hunt. Pair salmon with asparagus, make a salmon and quinoa salad, or grill salmon burgers. (Looking for more healthy BBQ ideas? Get 15 grilling recipes under 400 calories.)
“Dark chocolate is not only a delicious treat but contains beneficial nutrients like flavanols,” says Angelica Agami, RD, a dietitian in San Clemente, California. “According to research, flavanols may help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the brain and heart.” Unsweetened cocoa powder offers similar benefits, so enjoy it or dark chocolate in a healthy coffee smoothie, dark chocolate bark, or chocolate ice cream.
Berries can provide a wealth of benefits, for example, “Strawberries are loaded with vitamin C and other phytochemicals,” notes nutrition blogger Lisa Andrews, RD. “In addition, berries provide antioxidants that may reduce the risk of heart disease.” Add strawberries to an strawberry orange smoothie, strawberry chia pudding, or high-protein overnight oats. (For more inspiration, check out these healthy meal ideas you can make in 20 minutes.)
Not only do canned low-sodium beans make a quick and easy meal addition, they’re full of satiating protein and fiber. Whip up healthy roasted chickpeas, and also mix beans into a vegan power bowl or black bean salsa. (Trying to move the scale? Get healthy recipes for weight loss that aren’t salad.)
Next to skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in U.S. men, according to the American Cancer Society. And that’s where pomegranate juice comes in. “Regularly drinking 100 percent pomegranate juice has been shown to help reduce prostate cancer advancement significantly,” says Kellie Blake, RDN, a registered dietitian in Scott Depot, West Virginia. The results are somewhat promising, albeit preliminary. Drink pomegranate juice straight up or add it to a pomegranate vinaigrette or candied pistachios. Read on for more top superfoods every healthy man needs in his diet.
- Michigan State University Extension: “Benefits of mangos for the body”
- USDA FoodData Central: “Mango, raw”
- The Journal of Nutrition: “Grapes and Cardiovascular Disease”
- USDA FoodData Central: “Grapes, raw”
- Kelli Shallal, MPH, RD, Phoenix
- Sarah Koszyk, MA, RDN, author of 365 Snacks for Every Day of the Year
- Janet Brancato, RDN, nutrition blogger
- Elena Paravantes, RD, Chicago
- Rima Kleiner, MS, RDN, a dietitian in Greensboro, North Carolina
- Angelica Agami, MS, RD, a dietitian in San Clemente, California
- Jennifer Hunt, RDN, a dietitian in Greenville, South Carolina
- Lisa Andrews, RD, nutrition blogger
- American Cancer Society: “Key Statistics for Prostate Cancer”
- American Cancer Society: "Prostate Cancer, Nutrition, and Dietary Supplements (PDQ®)–Patient Version"
- Kellie Blake, RDN, Scott Depot, West Virginia
- Prostate Cancer Prostatic Disease: "A Review of Pomegranate in Prostate Cancer"