Heart Disease and Cancer are the major killers for men above the age of 40.
Nutritional needs of men are different from that of women.
Muscle building, cancer prevention, fighting stress and sound heart health are key issues in men.
It is essential to counteract the effects of wrong food and lifestyle choices (alcohol, smoking) that men make.
A recent report by Mark A. Moyad cites heart disease as the number 1 overall cause of mortality in the US and other industrialized cities. He recommends certain dietary do's for the better health of men.
I. Awareness of lipid profile, cardiovascular disease markers and other health numerical values (eg PSA), waist-to-hip ratio and BMI.
II. 30 - 60 minutes or more of physical activity a day.
III. A complete "no" to unhealthy dietary fat intake.
IV. Consumption of a variety of fruits and veggies.
V. Consuming at least 20 to 30 grams of dietary fiber from food each day.
VI. Emphasis on consuming omega-3 fatty acid rich foods.
VII. Cholesterol lowering through diet, lifestyle, and medications to be considered as the "real male multivitamin"
Fish, fish oil supplements, flaxseeds, flax seed oil, walnuts, mustard oil, ricebran oil, soybean oil all contain the very valuable omega-3 fatty acids. People in communities who have a high level of fish in their diet tend to have a low incidence of heart disease.
Omega-3 fatty acids are potent cholesterol and triglyceride lowering agents. They help elevate good cholesterol in the body. They prevent development of certain kind of cancers too.
Beans are laden with soluble fiber and protein. They keep the metabolic rate high which makes the body burn more calories at any point of time.
Beans and sprouts contain a compound which blocks the pancreatic enzymes from breaking down refined starches. The digestive tract bypasses absorption of these starches, resulting in a much slower rise of blood sugars and insulin levels. This prevents fat deposition.
Pumpkin and Gingelly Seeds
Pumpkin and gingelly seeds are "storehouse" of the protective mineral, zinc. They are the richest source of zinc for the vegetarian population.
Zinc is a lesser talked about "wonder nutrient". It is worthy a whole lot of praise for the functions it performs in the body. It unbelievably produces around 100 enzymes and has a critical role in DNA synthesis. Research shows that adequate zinc in the diet offers protection against prostate cancer.
Men require about 12 mg per day of zinc in order to prevent any disease risk. Both the seeds contain 10 to 12 mg of zinc per 100 grams. Seeds and nuts are also an abundant source of the antioxidant nutrient, vitamin E.
Peanuts are "storehouse" of niacin. Niacin is recently being treated as a curative nutrient. Its supplements are now being propagated as a bad cholesterol and triglyceride reducer. In short, it acts as a lipid lowering drug.
Then why not take this B vitamin from food naturally as a preventive measure. Roasted peanuts contain 22 mg of niacin per 100 grams. An adult man with moderate activity levels needs 18 mg of niacin per day. Nuts, oilseeds and whole grains are all rich in B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6, B12) which in today's lifestyles, play a vital role of keeping energy levels high and combating stress, depression, and memory loss. They are essential to keep the spirits high all day long.
Soya protein protects against heart diseases and hypercholesterolemia. Soya helps to decrease LDL cholesterol and significantly increases HDL cholesterol. Studies have proven that high soya intake may be able to delay the onset of colon cancer in those at risk.
It is a proven theory that green tea provides some kind of protection against cardiovascular disease. It contains high concentrations of catechins that inhibit oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Green tea causes fat burning too and several studies have proved the same. Caffeine and catechins work together to increase the basal metabolic rate and fat burning. Two or more cups of green tea daily can aid weight loss.
Olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil as well as nuts and avocados contain heart healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA). These fats help reduce bad cholesterol and raise the good cholesterol. They also help to ward off depression and stress. The green fruit, avocado is also loaded with monounsaturated fatty acids.
Medical studies have shown that eating broccoli, cabbage and lettuce may reduce the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. Broccoli and broccoli sprouts have high concentrations of the antioxidant glucoraphanin which has shown to boost the body's defense mechanism against cancer forming free radicals. The cruciferous veggies are a good source of beta carotene as well.
Whole grain foods like oats, barley, broken wheat, buckwheat, and millets are excellent source of fiber, vitamin B, zinc and magnesium. They reduce appetite because of their high soluble and insoluble fiber content and sweep out bad cholesterol from the blood stream.
Low Fat Dairy Foods
Dairy foods are rich in calcium. In a study at the Karolinska institute in Sweden, after following 23,000 men for a decade it was found that those who got plenty of calcium in their diet (2000 mg per day) were 25 percent less likely to die in that time than men who consumed a little of the mineral.A diet containing lots of calcium is known to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Calcium helps in weight loss too.
Dr Robert P. Heaney at Creighton University says that Asian adults get only 450mg of calcium in their diet each day on average. He suggests that all adults should aim for 2000mg of calcium intake per day. Soy, tofu, broccoli, red millet (ragi), almonds and all greens are excellent sources of calcium too.
Bananas and Apples
Bananas are "storehouse" of antihypertensive nutrients, potassium and magnesium. Apples and apple stew are natural hunger suppressants as one medium apple with the skin contains approximately 4 grams of fiber. The high fiber content helps lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol.Out of the recommended intake of 25 grams per day of fiber, even 10 grams coming as soluble fiber can help reduce the belly fat.
Antioxidant-rich Veggies and Fruits
Amla, guava, oranges, berries, and grapefruit are rich in vitamin C which is an essential nutrient for smokers in order to prevent oxidation of lipids in the body due to smoking. Carrots, pumpkin, tomatoes and leafy veggies are abundant in beta carotene, which is a cancer fighting antioxidant. Grapes contain a flavanoid called transresveratrol, which helps to reduce the risk of heart disease.
The supplements that may help the heart are:
Antioxidants (vitamin E, C, A, selenium, zinc and coenzyme Q10)
Homocysteine-reducing vitamins (B6, B12, folic acid). High levels of homocysteine in the blood contribute to the narrowing of arteries.
Niacin (Lowers bad cholesterol and raises good cholesterol)
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