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Vegetables Are a Key Part of Nutrition for Men's Health

Contributors: Sarah Klemm, RDN, CD, LDN

Reviewers: Academy Nutrition Information Services Team

Published: June 17, 2020

Reviewed: February 19, 2024

Two men are eating salads with their son or younger brother, showing the importance of vegetables for men's health.
LightFieldStudios/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Parents need veggies just as much as kids do. Not only is it important to lead by example, vegetables contain dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that promote health as we age and help reduce the risk of chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.

Include a Variety of Veggies

Whether it's for powering through a workout, rounding up the kids to get to school on time or accomplishing a big work project, our lives demand a lot of energy. A balanced eating pattern that includes vegetables from all subgroups can help fuel you throughout the day. This includes vegetables that are dark green, red and orange, starchy, and beans and peas.

Get the Most Nutrition from Veggies

Even though vegetables are a great source of nutrients, water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C, riboflavin, thiamin and folate can be destroyed by exposure to high temperatures and long cooking times, or lost when cooking water is discarded. To keep the vitamins in your vegetables from escaping:

  • Leave edible skins on vegetables or trim as little as possible, but be sure to wash them first.
  • Steam, microwave or stir-fry vegetables instead of boiling to reduce the amount of water and heat they are exposed to.
  • Cooler temperatures help preserve vitamins, so it is recommended that some produce be stored in the refrigerator.

Looking for veggies high in antioxidants? Include a variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups — dark green, red and orange, beans and peas, as well as starchy vegetables. Try asparagus, beets, broccoli and sweet potatoes. Want the best vitamin C bang for your bite? Try fresh, chopped red bell peppers or cooked broccoli. Just 1 cup of either veggie exceeds your daily minimum requirements of this vitamin.

How Much Do You Need?

Adult men should consume 2½ to 4 cups of veggies daily, but many fall short of this amount. Aim to include vegetables at most meals and snacks during the day. Try a variety of veggies and experiment with different preparation methods, such as roasting, grilling and steaming. For example, try roasted red peppers and sautéed mushrooms as sandwich fillings and burger toppings. You easily can add ½ cup of vegetables to a sandwich. Using raw spinach in salads and topping off with roasted broccoli or a vegetarian protein, like beans, is another way to pump up the vitamin content.

Think Food First

Multivitamins are supplements, not substitutes for whole foods and vegetables. Important phytonutrients (such as antioxidants) and dietary fiber are two components of vegetables that make them irreplaceable by a pill. Besides, a grilled ear of corn tastes so much better!

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