A Paleo lifestyle is a key element to a healthier and more vigorous human body, so you look and feel your best but it is important to establish some nutritional and lifestyle needs that distinguish Paleo man from Paleo woman. Different foods, and components appeal more to one gender than the other, based on differences in energy and nutrient needs depending on body size and muscle mass. Maintaining a healthy physique and weight reduce the risk of serious diseases, helps with low spirits, depression, or sexual dysfunction, and benefits mobility, strength, and overall men’s body and mind wellbeing.
For men, in particular, it’s important to focus on an effective and sustainable diet plan that is also tailored to individual requirements, nourishes the body, and is easy to follow (especially in the long term).
Benefits Of A Paleo Diet For Men
Following a Paleo diet offers a number of health benefits including:
- Soothing intestinal discomfort and inflammation, especially digestion.
- Improved energy and satiety from high quality protein sources.
- Providing healthy doses of naturally occurring vitamins and mineral from seasonal vegetables and fruits
- Cutting down on starchy foods like refined sugars, grains, and dairy.
- Helps beat cravings.
- Supports managing insulin-resistance.
- Better libido.
- Better metabolism and regulation of nutrient biotransformation.
- Balanced blood sugar control
- Promotes lose weight
- Helps muscle growth.
- Regulates blood pressure.
- Lowers triglycerides.
Some further considerations for men:
Testosterone is best known as a sex and reproductive hormone.
Adequate levels of this key hormone are necessary to stimulate sexual desire, increase libido, heighten arousal and ensure sexual satisfaction. It is also necessary to maintaining the following:
- A healthy pain response
- Sufficient levels of red blood cells
- Regular sleep patterns
- Optimal bone density
- Muscle mass
- High energy levels
In men, diet and lifestyle can raise or lower testosterone levels. This can happen due to a number of factors:
Men who are overweight or underweight typically have lower testosterone levels than men at a normal weight. Similar to women, men are most fertile when at their ideal body weight. However, unlike women, male fertility seems to be affected more by testosterone production than by insulin resistance alone. A diet based on Paleo principles is a solid starting point to attaining and maintaining a healthy body weight.
To maintain healthy testosterone levels, it’s important to consume good-quality protein sources. Studies indicate that protein restriction or a protein-energy deficiency affects testosterone biosynthesis.
Oxidative stress is involved in many cases of low testosterone levels in one way or another. Oxidative stress is the inflammatory damage done to cells through both diet and lifestyle factors. For sperm cells, this oxidative stress damages the DNA contained in the sperm, so the sperm become unable to fertilize the egg. Due to their physiology, sperm cells are particularly vulnerable to oxidative stress.
There are a number of factors that can create excessive oxidative stress in the body:
Omega-6 fats are very vulnerable to oxidative damage and a higher Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio is associated with lowered testosterone. Omega 3’s tend to be anti-inflammatory, while Omega 6’s tend to be pro-inflammatory, which we need sometimes, but an excess can be problematic. Furthermore, Omega 3 fatty acids (found in oily fish and grass-fed meat) can help to boost sperm concentration, motility and morphology, whereas Omega 6 fatty acids (found predominantly in grains and vegetable oils) have the opposite effect. Diet can directly affect the Omega-6 content of sperm cells, and this has a direct effect on sperm quality. A Paleo diet focuses on Omega 3 rich foods and limits the amount of Omega 6 fatty acids you eat by eliminating grains and vegetable oils.
The Paleo diet’s emphasis on fat quality and the consumption of well sourced saturated fat (animal foods, coconut oil) and monounsaturated fat (animal foods, olive oil, avocados) plays an important role in reducing oxidative stress.
Sugar & Refined Carbohydrates
Sugar, and processed foods which turn to sugar really fast once eaten are another driver of oxidative stress and increase insulin resistance, both of which have been associated with lower testosterone. Excessive alcohol consumption may further inhibit sperm concentration and motility.
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Oxidative stress, caused by smoking, inflammation, infection, psychological stressors, industrial and chemical exposure, strenuous exercise and hot tub use (to name a few) can lead to lowered testosterone levels, decreased sperm membrane integrity, sperm DNA damage, and decreased sperm motility. Limiting your exposure and implementing effective stress management techniques can have a positive impact on fertility.
Oxidative stress is overcome by the consumption of antioxidants which are abundant in all the seasonal, fresh, organically grown vegetables and fruits encouraged on the Paleo diet. The body also produces its own anti-oxidants. This process can be further encouraged by choosing well sourced proteins, drinking bone broth and eating plants that support liver function.
Exercise that incorporates weight lifting further boosts testosterone. It must be noted that too much exercise can have the opposite effect.
Strength training can induce growth hormone and testosterone release. If you want to naturally boost testosterone combining regular weight training with HIIT workouts (high intensity interval training) has proven results.
Lift heavy weights at least 3 times a week using larger muscle groups like your quadriceps, hamstrings, back, shoulders and chest. This will help the body develop the maximum amount of muscle mass. Even moderate weight lifting and light weight lifting can increase serum testosterone levels.
Adding HIIT training can be further beneficial as it has been shown to not only boost testosterone levels, but it helps keep testosterone elevated and prevent its decline.
Vitamin and Mineral Consumption
Arginine is an amino acid which plays an important role in sperm maturation. A deficiency can result in a reduction in sperm count and motility. Foods rich in arginine include nuts, seeds, gelatin, shellfish, spinach, turkey and game meat. Supplementation with L-Arginine has been shown to improve testosterone levels in men.
Coenzyme Q10 is important for promoting energy production and can be found in nuts, cabbage, carrots, onions oily fish and organ meats.
Folate & Vitamin B12
Both of these nutrients are important for DNA division and replication and may improve testosterone levels. Folate is found in liver and dark leafy green vegetables, while vitamin B12 is abundant in grass fed or pastured animal protein (especially organ meats) and spirulina.
This amino acid is essential for the production of energy, which is important for the production and hormonal balance. Foods high in carnitine include animal-based proteins.
This nutrient found predominantly in cooked tomatoes can improve sperm motility, morphology and number
Vitamin C can help encourage sperm moving individually and improve motility thus improving fertility. Foods rich in vitamin C include lemons, limes, oranges, kiwi fruit, dark leafy greens, berries, tomatoes and broccoli.
Vitamin E can decrease oxidative stress.
A deficiency in this key nutrient has been associated with infertility in males possibly due to its oestrogenic effects Zinc is a key component of seminal fluid and is important for improving sperm count and motility. You can find zinc in shellfish, nuts and seeds.
Supplement strategically. Studies of testosterone levels have shown that zinc and vitamin C levels correlated with sufficient hormone production.. Additionally, L-carnitine and L-acetyl-carnitine have been useful supplements for enhancing sperm motility and quality.
Soy and soy-based foods can have an oestrogenic effect on the body, potentially negatively affecting the male hormonal balance and spermatogenesis (the making of sperm). Although the Paleo diet does not promote the consumption of soy, if you are eating packaged foods, it might be wise to check the ingredients and reassess your soy intake.
A valid point and inevitable question is around the prevalence of soy based foods in Asian cultures which appear to have healthy men and normal fertility rates. Although the research is not yet clear this may have to do with (at least in part) to the consumption of unprocessed, often fermented soy in Asian cuisine versus the processed and genetically modified versions so prolific in Western diets.
More Foods To Include
- Asparagus increases sperm count.
- Bananas contain bromelain which increases sex drive
- Brazil nuts are a source of selenium.
- Dark chocolate contains powerful antioxidants and amino acids.
- Goji berries are high antioxidants.
- Green vegetables which, amongst their many benefits, support liver detoxification.
- Pumpkin seeds are an easy on-the-go source of zinc.
- Walnuts are the best nut-based source of Omega 3’s
Eating a diet full of processed and packaged food is only going to deplete the body of vitamins and minerals, potentially leading to many metabolic issues including low testosterone. A Paleo lifestyle filled with well-sourced proteins, naturally occurring fats and seasonally grown vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds supports men’s health and longevity. It is how man evolved to eat to both survive and thrive on this planet, ensuring the proliferation of our species.