Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Man's Diet and Health Needs

Finding it a challenge to balance the demands of your career, family, friends, working out, and staying healthy?  Well if you answered yes, you are not alone.  It is not easy to find enough hours in a day or to even begin to understand which things should be on the top of your priority list.  Truth is you often need to take a step back to realize that when you put yourself and your health first, the rest will fall into place.
For most men putting their health first sounds like an oxymoron, since they spend a majority of their day at the office trying to make money and build a career.  But the bottom line is, they need to start by recognizing that in order to succeed they can not neglect their health, inside and out.  In fact when we look at the leading causes of death for a male, we find that 4 of the 10 are directly related to diet.  They include: cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. In fact heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States, responsible for one in 4 deaths.  And while we know that you may not die from these all, they will definitely affect your work, family and lifestyle.
So what is a man to do?  First off it is essential that a man have a yearly physical to rule out any medical conditions, be educated on any risk factors and learn how to get a clean bill of health.  Next step is to take a look at your diet intake and see if you are stuck in the “steak and potato” or “clean plate club” mode.  Either of these will need a little fixing. 
A male truly needs to be sure to have a diet that is full of whole grains, biologically available protein, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats.  It is important that men recognize that whole grains, typically those high in fiber, will help to control cholesterol and reduce risks of colon cancer, both of which are prevalent in males.  Whole grains also allow for longer concentration and energy, which will lead to increased productivity on the job. 
Protein is essential for muscles, and since the male body contains a higher proportion of muscle mass, they will need to meet their bodies needs.  We also know that protein will allow for satiety, helping to keep you at an acceptable BMI. 
Fruits and vegetables are essential for men and women alike, to provide the body with minerals and vitamins, along with antioxidants critical in the fight against cancer.  For the male these foods rich lycopene, vitamin E, and folate will be protective against prostate cancer.  Additionally vitamin A rich food will help strengthen tissues of the eyes and other membranes, vitamin B will give greater energy and vitamin C will help immune system. 
Unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, fish, nuts and avocado are the preferred fats, as these are not linked to heart disease.   Fat is necessary for body temperature, brain development and digestion so enjoy these as a healthy part of your diet.  It is the saturated fats that are linked to heart disease and cholesterol so when it comes to fatty meats and fatty foods, use these sparingly.
Diet does not stand alone, its counterpart exercise is just as important.  Spending 6, 8, 10 hours a day behind your desk does not do your body well. It is critical that time is devoted to an active lifestyle.  All studies show that a half hour a day of exercise  reduces the risk of heart disease, among other illnesses.  Whether it is heading to the gym, roller blading, basketball pick up game with the guys, or biking with your kids, it is time to get moving.  Many companies are even putting gyms at the work place to support the need to keep employees healthier and more productive at work.
As men approach their fifties they also need to be aware of hormone deficiencies, in things like testosterone, that can further impact muscle tone, libido, cholesterol, fatigue and much more.  This “andropause”, aka male menopause, is often a well kept secret and not truly understood without diagnosis. Perhaps it is more than long hours at work that are making you not feel so great after all.  Don’t be afraid to check it out because even the symptoms of andropause can be relieved.
Being conscious of your own mental health, along with diet and fitness, will help you to feel more in control of your quality of life.  Start there and the time you spend in and out of the office or with family and friends will become a lot easier to manage. 
By: Koach Marlo Mittler

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