Males of all ages can benefit greatly from eating a balanced and varied diet, getting enough calcium, avoiding high fat and sugar content (like fast food), drinking six 8 ounce glasses of water, and exercising daily. There are many diets and supplements aimed for men that can be dangerous to health.
Men need nine a day
Although everyone is encouraged to eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day, men should actually be looking to eat nine. Most men do not eat enough fruit, and are unaware of the benefits of fruit and vegetables such as their role in reducing the risk of many cancers, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Men have high rates of diet-related diseases
Why eat fruit and vegetables
Green - (i.e. spinach, romaine lettuce, peas, broccoli, limes)
Yellow/orange – (i.e. carrots, squash, sweetcorn, oranges)
Red – (i.e. tomato sauce, tomatoes, red peppers, cherries, watermelon)
Blue/purple – (i.e. blueberries, eggplant, grapes, plums)
White – (i.e. cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, bananas, pears)
Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do to extend your life. Smoking is a major cause of lung cancer (as well as other cancers), heart attacks and stroke.
Maintain a healthy weight
Obesity can kill you in many ways. It increases your risk of a whole host of diseases including heart disease, stroke, several cancers, type 2 diabetes. It also makes things more risky if you have to go in for surgery. Extra weight can also lead top increased wear and tear on the joints.
Take regular aerobic exercise
We need aerobic exercise (also called ‘cardio’) – the kind that gets our lungs working and our hearts pumping. It keeps our cardiovascular system in shape and even a little aerobic exercise – for example a brisk daily walk – can reduce our risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Weight bearing aerobic exercises such as walking, running or jogging, also helps strengthen and maintain strong bones
Do strength Training
Strength, or resistance exercise, involves working with weight either machines at the gym, or hand held weights, or even the weight of your own body (as in push ups). Taking up a Martial Art such as kick boxing is excellent for discipline and fitness as they do lots of circuit training. Strength training builds and maintains muscle, helps to prevent the loss of muscle associated with ageing and increasing our metabolic rate and ‘fat burning’ ability.
Make as much of your own food as you can as processed foods are full of unhealthy ingredients such as saturated and Trans fats, sugar, salt and artificial additives. It is good to know exactly what goes into your meals.
Eat the right amount of good fats
Fats are high in calories and can lead to piling on the pounds. Gram for Gram fats are more than twice as calorific as protein and carbohydrate. Fat enhances the taste of food making you likely to eat more than you should.
Some fats are bad some good: Saturated and Trans fats increase your risk of heart disease, while Mono-unsaturated and Poly-unsaturated fats can help lower the risk. Reduce your intake of saturated fats (found mainly in animal products such as meat, chicken, eggs and dairy products) and Trans fats (found mainly in processed foods). But, ensure that you get enough of the ‘good’ fats in your diet – these are the mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats (including the Omega 3 and Omega 6). Unsaturated fats are good for your heart and also help to balance mood.
Fill up with starch carbohydrates
So-called ‘complex’ carbohydrates – the starchy ones such as bread, pasta, potatoes, rice and cereals – are an excellent source of sustained energy.
Simple or sugary carbohydrates produce a hit of energy, but little all else but trouble. Complex carbohydrates by contrast provide a ‘slow’ source of fuel, keeping our blood sugar levels nice and steady, and keep us going between meals so that we are less likely to reach for the sugar fix.
Increase pulses decrease red meat
Increasing the amount of pulses (beans and Lentils) in your diet, while decreasing the amount of red meat, can cut your risk of obesity, heart disease and cancer. We need to make sure we get a good supply of protein without taking in too much unhealthy fat. Red meat is a great source of protein and iron, but is also high in saturated fat. Beans and lentils have the added benefit of being packed with fibre, slow releaqse energy and healthy phytochemicals.
Eat less salt and sugar
Sugar is calorific and, because of the way it gives you a quick hit of energy then leaves you craving another sugary snack, can lead to weight gain and also plays havoc with your teeth.
Salt can raise your blood pressure, predisposing you to heart disease and stroke. It is also implicated in an increase of stomach cancer.
Both the above make food taste good, and because many of our calorific ‘comfort foods’ are packed with them they can contribute to weight.
Drink Alcohol in moderation
An alarming number of people are unaware that their drinking is affecting their chances of living a long and healthy life. Although a small amount of alcohol (especially red wine) is thought to have some health benefits, drinking more than this is positively dangerous. Too much causes liver damage and increases your risk of heart disease, Type 3 diabetes and certain types of cancer,
Stress is implicated in a variety of illnesses. It suppresses the immune system making you more vulnerable to infections and cancers. It also raises your blood pressure and slows the healing process when you are injured. Reducing stress in your life and learning to cope with the stresses you cannot avoid – helps you enjoy life and feel younger.
Look at the pages on stress and you will find remedies that have proven useful.
Vitamins and Minerals
If you are deficient in micronutrients – vitamins and minerals – your health will suffer. Sometimes the effect is obvious. Vitamin A deficiency for example, can make your skin dry and flaky. But the effect can also be more subtle and sinister. Long-term deficiencies – even low grade deficiencies – can suppress your immune system, making you more likely to pick up infections and less able to shake them off. They can also increase your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
In an ideal world we would eat a fantastic nutritious diet containing all the vital vitamins and marvellous minerals you need. But the real world is full of demands that prevent you from eating all the food you should, as well as nutrient sappers that stop your body from absorbing and using the micronutrients you do eat.
Smoking depletes vitamin C stores, so if you are a smoker you need extra vitamin C in your diet. Smoking also runs down levels of vitamin B so it is particularly important for smokers to get plenty of B vitamin – rich foods such whole grains and pulses.
Stress also uses up extra B vitamins so you need more when under pressure.
Alcohol if you are a heavy drinker you face a double-whammy when it comes to B vitamins. Not only are you less able to absorb them, but alcohol also depletes the body’s levels of these vitamins.
Vegetarians and vegans will find it hard to get enough vitamin B12, because it is only found in animal products.
The main source of vitamin D is a chemical reaction triggered by sunlight on the skin. In a country with a grey climate, people with dark skin may be deficient in vitamin D as the pigment in the skin absorbs some of the relatively weak sunlight before it can be used to make vitamin D. Those who don’t get into the sun much such as the elderly of housebound may also be deficient.
Your body is 50 – 75% water. Without food you could survive for six weeks but without water you would die within a few days. Even mild dehydration can make you feel weak, dizzy and lacking in energy. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty before you have a drink of water – thirst is a signal that your body is already on the way to dehydration, so it is important to drink more than your thirst demands and to keep on drinking throughout the day.
Chronic dehydration can contribute to:
You should drink 1.5 to 2.0 litres of water per day – that’s about 8 – 10 good sized glasses. You can get some of this from foods like fruits and vegetables, but you will need at least 1.8 litres from fluids preferably pure water.
You can also count herb or fruit teas and diluted fruit juice towards your fluid intake. Tea and coffee also count but because caffeine is a diuretic (makes you pee) so you also lose water. Fizzy drinks and squashes are not recommended because of the sugars and artificial chemicals they contain. And alcohol certainly doesn’t count when you are trying to reach your fluid target.
If you are not used to drinking so much fluid, work towards your target gradually to allow your body to adjust.
The website is copyright of Lynne Wheatman 2007 - 2009
fairies through the site, courtesy of Gwynneth and Artist Amy Brown