10 Best Diets for Men To Live A Healthy And Purseposeful Life
The best diets for men are nutritious and most of all, delicious. But with all the diet fads available, how do you know which one works?
Diets are hardly a one-size-fits-all situation. But there are diets that present general guidelines that could lead to weight loss and better health.
Let's trim down the diets that actually trim the fat.
RELATED: 10 Healthy Carbs To Add To Your Diet
The Best Diets for Men You Need to Pay Attention To
1. Heart Healthy: DASH Diet
Best For: Men at risk of heart attack
The DASH diet was designed by researchers to promote heart health by introducing a flexible and balanced diet into your lifestyle. It's not food-specific, but it guarantees a nutrient-dense and balanced diet.
DASH diet stands for Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a risk factor for heart disease. The higher your blood pressure, the higher your risk for heart disease, heart attack, or stroke.
There are many things you can do, regardless of age, to minimize the risk of hypertension. This is one of the best diets for men of all ages.
- Eating fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain foods
- Fat- or low-fat dairy products
- Foods with high content of potassium, magnesium, calcium, fiber, and protein
- Vegetable oils
Also, the diet discourages:
- Foods with high saturated fat (fatty meats, full-fat dairy products)
- Tropical oils (coconut, palm, palm kernel)
- Sugar beverages and sweets
- Red meats
- Shrimp & Nectarine Salad
- Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas (Low Sodium)
- Peanut Butter Overnight Oats
It includes a healthy dose of only 2,300mg of sodium daily but may go as low as 1,500mg to help lower blood pressure.
The diet is recommended for those with high blood pressure because of its low salt intake.
Increasing literature shows that the DASH diet may help consistently lower blood pressure in hypertensive and prehypertensive subjects.
The diet may also help you shed fat as studies associate body weight and blood pressure. Also if you are hypertensive, your physician may have already asked you to start on a diet.
2. Nutrition: Mediterranean Diet
Best For: Overall health, especially heart health, perfect for men of all ages
The Mediterranean diet is backed by science and recommended by doctors. Because it's a healthful diet that is largely easy to subscribe to, it is one of the best diets for men of all ages and comes highly recommended by experts.
The Mediterranean diet, much like the DASH diet, is good for promoting a healthy heart. But while the DASH diet may include meat and dairy products in moderation, the Mediterranean diet includes plenty of olive oil.
The essence of the Mediterranean diet is focusing on quality, nutrient-dense food that is a healthy source of calories. So you won't be seeing many single-nutrient foods or processed foods on the menu.
- Olive oil as the main source of healthy fat
- Whole grains, legumes, beans, nuts
- Vegetables and fruits
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy products
- Low to moderate quantities of fish, meat, and eggs
- Sugary beverages and sweets
- Highly processed foods
- High in sodium foods
- Refined carbs
- Saturated fats
- Processed or fatty meats
- Breakfast Egg Muffins
- Lemony Grilled Salmon Fillets with Dill Sauce
- 9-Layer Greek Dip
- Roasted Sweet Potato & Chickpea Salad
Studies show that a Mediterranean diet with extra virgin olive oil and nuts may help manage cardiovascular risk in high-risk patients.
Another 12-month study found that the Mediterranean diet was more effective in weight loss and reducing cardiovascular risk than low-fat or low-carb diets.
A healthful diet may also be helpful in sleep management in older adults.
Another study found that it may also lower the incidence of depression.
3. Brain Healthy: MIND Diet
Best For: Food for the mind, promoting brain health especially in older adults
It was also found to have the potential to slow the rate of cognitive decline in stroke patients.
The Mediterranean-DASH diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay diet is great for men who want to boost their memory because it is created to promote brain health. It is the combination of the two most popular diets among healthcare providers – the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet.
While both the Mediterranean diet and DASH diet recommend fruits, the MIND diet places emphasis on berries instead. There is more scientific literature proving the healthiness of berries rather than fruits in general. Berries, according to studies, may be effective in combatting cognitive decline in older adults.
This is precisely what the MIND diet seeks to achieve.
It allows for less red meat and dairy products than the DASH diet.
- Green leafy vegetables
- Other vegetables
- Whole grains
- Olive oil
- Red meat
- Highly processed food
- Sugary sweets and beverages
- High-fat dairy products
- Whole Grain Pasta Primavera
- Lentil, Arugula, and Avocado Salad
- Hazelnut-Crusted Halibut with Beet and Spinach Salad
4. Keto Diet
Best For: Primary weight loss
The Keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that banks on the process of ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state that occurs when your body runs low on carbs (less than 50g/day), greatly reducing your sugar level – the body's primary source of energy.
During ketosis, your body turns to fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates, which in turn leads to weight loss.
It has no fat or calorie restriction. However, the general rule of thumb in a ketogenic diet is:
- High in healthy fat
- Moderate amounts of protein
- Very low carbohydrates
A study of obese patients found that a ketogenic diet may help suppress appetite. This was done with a calorie restriction, which typically should increase the appetite of obese patients.
Studies also show that a keto diet may be a powerful complement to chemotherapy in cancer patients. The anticancer effects of the ketogenic diet are, however, preclinical and require further testing and studying.
The body may remain in a state of ketosis for as long as it is low in carbs. While its role in short-term weight loss is widely studied and confirmed, its long-term effects (more than two years) are not yet established.
The diet may also pose adverse risks to your health.
Some effects of the keto diet may include the following and are commonly called the keto flu:
- Difficulty in exercise tolerance
While the low-carb diet may prove effective for patients at risk for diabetes and heart disease, it's too early to tell due to the lack of long-term studies.
- Low Carb Keto Eggplant Parmesan Recipe
- Guilt-Free Keto Peanut Butter Cups
- Keto Bread Pudding Recipe
5. Intermittent Fasting
Best For: The man on-the-go
Intermittent fasting isn't food-specific and calorie-restricting but adheres to a simple eating pattern.
Commonly, many fast for 16 hours and are only allowed to eat within the eight-hour period.
Intermittent fasting may help increase your basal metabolic rate.
It may also help you shed body weight and trim fat.
A study comparing intermittent fasting and calorie-restricting diets found that both are equally effective in decreasing fat and body weight. However intermittent fasting is more effective in retaining muscle mass.
On the other hand, another study resulted in the opposite. It found that fasting is not superior to daily calorie restrictions.
Intermittent fasting may be effective as a mode of weight loss as we are forced to limit our daily calorie intake. It's by far the easiest to abide by, the most cost-effective, and practical.
However, more research is required to confirm if this is a healthy route and a long-term solution to weight loss.
- Avocado Quesadillas
- Veggie Packed Cheesy Chicken Salad
- Cauliflower Pizza Crust
6. Paleolithic Diet (Hunter-Gatherer)
Best For: Muscle-building
The Paleo diet forces you to return to grassroots, prioritizing grass-fed meat and fresh foods.
It puts emphasis on proteins, which may help increase muscle mass and body weight management in conjunction with training.
- Grass-fed meat
- Fresh fish
- Fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and other healthful sources of saturated fat
- Processed foods
- Refined sugars
- Grains, legumes
- Chicken Pad Thai
- Easy Paleo Chili
- Grilled Soy Lime Chicken Breasts
- Fudgy Paleo Brownies
A comparative study between a high-protein (HP) breakfast and a high-carb (HC) breakfast found that the HP meal led to a decrease in ghrelin, the hunger hormone. This may help you curb your appetite for the rest of the day, possibly assisting with a calorie-restricting diet.
Another study found that the Paleolithic diet may help manage weight, waist circumference, and even manage chronic diseases.
Moreover, a study found that the old stone age diet may improve glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in diabetes patients.
The Paleo diet may also improve cholesterol levels, making it a great option for patients that do not see an improvement even after subscribing to heart-healthy recommendations.
7. Flexitarian Diet (Mostly Veggies But Can Eat Meat)
Best For: Those that want to incorporate a plant-based diet, but are not open to going fully vegetarian or vegan
The Flexitarian diet is somewhat vegetarian or vegan in nature but allows for some meat and fish in moderation.
It encourages a more plant-based diet, relying more heavily on plant-based proteins than animal-based proteins. It has no strict calorie or dietary restrictions but seeks to actively decrease meat consumption.
You'll be eating more of vegetarian and vegan dishes like tofu and quinoa, but the diet still allows you to dine out and consume a hearty meat dish once in a while.
However, going plant-based does not necessarily mean that you consume every and all plant foods.
A study was conducted to compare healthy plants (fruits/vegetables, whole grains, tea/coffee) and less healthy plant foods (sweetened juices and beverages, potatoes, refined grains, sweets). It found that a plant-based diet that included healthful plant foods was associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).
Inversely, a diet with less healthy plant foods, despite begin plant foods, was associated with a higher risk of CHD.
A review of 25 studies found that the Flexitarian diet may improve:
- Body weight
- Metabolic health
- Blood pressure
- Diabetes risk
Plant-based foods may be largely protective against coronary artery disease and stroke. This may be because they are nutrient-dense, containing healthy fats, antioxidants, and vitamins.
Vegetarian diets were also found to have the potential to lower blood pressure. This may be effective in conjunction with medication to manage your blood pressure.
A study shows that vegetarian diets may be more effective than non-vegetarian diets in weight reduction.
Another study found that a vegan diet may result in greater weight loss than omnivorous ones.
- Creamy Fettuccine with Brussels Sprouts & Mushrooms
- Lemon Grass Chicken Rice Bowl
- Asian Mushroom Wellington
- Tempeh Sausage Stuffed Squash
8. Plant-Based Diet
Best Diet For: Older adults
Plant-based diets are vegan and seek to replace meats with plant substitutes.
They were found to be cost-effective, hosting many health benefits, making them one of the best diets for men of all ages, especially for older adults.
Studies suggest that a plant-based diet may be heart-protective against coronary artery disease, the leading cause of death in the US. Atherosclerosis is associated with a high intake of meat and fats, which plant-based diets seek to replace.
Plant-based diets also provide a rich source of polyphenols which have protective effects and combat oxidative stress which also lead to atherosclerosis.
A plant-based diet may also be great for patients with diabetes. It may improve insulin resistance, promote a healthy body weight, naturally increase fiber and phytonutrient intake, and lead to a decrease in saturated fat.
Another study suggests that plant-based diets may help improve cognitive performance, memory, and executive control in older adults.
What's more, a plant-based diet may even help delay skin aging by providing a rich source of antioxidants.
- Creamy Wild Rice Soup
- Meatless BBQ Skewers
- Nacho Baked Potato
9. Prostate-Protective Diet
Best Diet For: Men with prostate concerns
There are researches that point to foods that may help lower prostate cancer risk. Furthermore, men who are already dealing with prostate cancer are encouraged to maintain a healthy diet.
Did you know that the American Cancer Society reports that prostate cancer is found in around one in eight men, making it one of the most common cancers? It’s more common in older men averaging 66 years of age.
Here are some foods that are highly recommended by doctors to help lower the risk of prostate cancer:
- Tomatoes – Lycopene could help reduce your prostate cancer risk and may help prevent an enlarged prostate common in older men. And the best source is tomatoes.
- Green tea contains compounds that may suppress tumor growth and carcinogenesis. –
- Broccoli – Cruciferous vegetables, when cooked and eaten, break down and create active compounds that are widely studied for their anticancer effects.
- Pomegranate Juice – Pomegranate juice may hinder the growth of cancer cells. Some animal studies show that it could slow cancer development and growth.
- Fish – There are some researches that suggest that there may be a connection between lower prostate cancer severity and mortality and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Maple Glazed Salmon
- Garlic Parmesan Roasted Broccoli
- Healthy Chicken & Meatloaf Recipe
Disclaimer: This last diet on the list is for people who require help from a professional nutritionist.
10. Personalized Diet
Most diets do not take into consideration food allergies or intolerances, which may make them difficult to abide by. Because fad diets are not a one-size-fits-all situation, the best diet is one created uniquely for each individual.
Diets like the DASH diet, Mediterranean diet, and the MIND diet promote healthy food choices and offer helpful nutritional guidelines. But it may not always be the most feasible or realistic diet for your lifestyle.
Plenty of diets are also calorie restricting. If you are a healthy man seeking to build muscle or maintain muscle mass, the wrong diet may lead you in the wrong direction. It may even leave you with health conditions you did not previously have.
A registered nutritionist may be the best person to assist you in finding a diet that is geared towards your goals, suits your preferences and lifestyle, and most importantly is sustainable.
Don’t forget to download, save, or share this handy infographic for reference of the best diets for men:
The best diets for men are ones that place emphasis on the quality of the food. But most of all it is the one that best suits your lifestyle (sustainable) and health and fitness goals.
And the best diet advice any doctor will give you – eat a variety of food, and everything in moderation.
Have you found the diet best suited for you? Share with us in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 15, 2021, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
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