By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
If you are a man, pay attention. If you are a woman who loves a man, pay attention. In honor of father’s day, I wanted to present some key nutrition tips--with men’s health issues in mind.
Men are a little special when it comes to health because of a few things:
They go to the doctor less than women and are more likely to have a serious condition when they finally go.
They are less likely to eat fruits and vegetables compared to women and more likely to eat red meats and other sources of saturated fat like fast food.
Heart disease is the number 1 killer of men ate 45 to 54! And men have to work harder to reduce their risk for heart disease and stroke compared to women.
One out of three men have high blood pressure and a third of them don’t even know it. High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, ED and kidney disease.
Any food that is good for cardiovascular health is also good for erectile function in men because ED is most often caused by atherosclerosis (in fact ED may be an early warning sign of cardiovascular disease). Let’s just say that nutrients that are good for the heart improve circulation to “other” parts of the body.
Besides going to the doctor for check ups, exercising regularly, and not smoking, here are some nutrition tips that can help men with the above health concerns.
5 NUTRITION TIPS
#1 Fatty Fish
Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, herring) are the richest sources of is one of omega-3 fatty acids, which I would categorize as “smart fats” because they appear to benefit the heart, circulation, and immune system. Omega-3s are potent anti-inflammatory substances that help lower serum triglyceride levels, reduce aches and pains in athletes and possibly people with certain kinds of arthritis. Try to eat fish twice a week if possible.
#2 Plant Omega-3s
Plant sources of omega-3s are also important to get on a daily basis. To boost the plant omega-3s in your diet, add a couple tablespoons of ground flaxseed every day, switch to canola oil as your cooking oil (along with extra virgin olive oil), enjoy walnuts often in recipes, and buy higher omega-3 eggs if available.
#3 A Handful of Nuts A Day
Nuts are rich in antioxidants along with monounsaturated fat and most contribute phytosterols, which help lower blood cholesterol, enhance the immune system and decrease the risk of cancers. Along with reducing the risk of heart disease, nuts may also reduce the risk of diabetes. Nuts are considered a smart snack for people with diabetes because when eaten alone, they tend not to raise blood glucose levels. According to a recent study, when pistachios were eaten with a carbohydrate-rich meal, they lessened the rise in blood sugars that would normally result after the meal.
Start with California grown pistachios!
Pistachios are one of the lowest fat, lowest calorie snack nuts with more nuts per serving compared to most snack nuts (about 49 nuts per 1-ounce serving). Eating pistachios in the shell naturally slows you down. A recent study found that people who consumed in-shell pistachios ate 41 percent fewer calories than those who consumed pistachios without shells. In-shell pistachios come in a variety of flavors like sweet chili and salt and pepper.
#4 Eat Your Vegetables! Particularly dark leafy greens and the cabbage family veggies
There are three groups of plant compounds that are particularly helpful and protective against cardiovascular disease (polyphenols, plant sterols/stanols and lignans). You can find them in the red/purple fruits, beans and nuts & seeds, and assorted vegetables especially the dark leafy greens and cabbage family veggies.
#5 Embrace the Brown (Whole Grains & Beans)
These are your “smart carbs” that give you fiber, all sorts of important antioxidants and phytochemicals, and even some protein along with the carbohydrates. Switch to whole grain breads whenever possible--about 40% of the carbohydrates in the typical American diet come from the bread group so switching to whole grain breads could have a big impact on health. Try to include beans several times a week either as an entrée or side dish or added to soups or salads.
Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, is the author of 25 books on nutrition and healthy cooking and has worked as a nutrition expert/writer for a variety of organizations including WebMD.com, national magazines, Universities and The Coca-Cola Company. Elaine is known as THE RECIPE DOCTOR through her syndicated column she wrote for 10 years and numerous appearances on television and radio.