In the spirit of men's health month, I thought I'd help the guys out there with some good advice about getting and staying healthy. In my practice as a dietitian, I've found that younger guys in particular are starting to take a real interest in their own health, and are very prevention-focused. I'm so proud of my clients who come to me just to learn something new about nutrition, and not even for a specific health issue.
Here are some male-specific recommendations for guys who want to know a bit more about the nutrients they need. Read and learn, guys.
Calcium- Calcium is often looked at in terms of women and osteoporosis, but guys, you can get osteoporosis too, so listen up: You need about 1000 mg a day. What does that look like? 1.5 oz of almonds, plus one cup of fortified non dairy milk (like almond milk) or cow's milk, plus a cup of yogurt and 1.5 cups of cooked kale. If you don't think you're getting enough, a calcium supplement can top you up, but as with all nutrients, it's best to consume them from food itself. Calcium is not only responsible for strong bones and teeth, but for regulating your heartbeat (while you do that killer Crossfit workout, right?) and muscle function.
Lean Protein - Protein is not only necessary for muscle regeneration, but it also will help keep you feeling fuller for longer after your meals. For some reason, I see a lot of guys eating fatty meat in the form of burritos and big trendy burgers. Back away from the junk, guys, because a fat and calorie overload can put a nice layer of insulation on those abs of yours, not to mention on your arteries and organs. Fat can also slow you down and impair your sexy time too! Oh no, not that!
Choose some healthy protein options like lean chicken, turkey or fish, and meatless options like black beans, chickpeas, or eggs. I recommend about 6 oz of lean protein per serving, which will cover you for the recommended 30 g at each meal.
Potassium- While sodium is on overload status with most guys, potassium is usually short in their diets. Potassium helps to lower blood pressure after you eat those disgusting chicken kickers and fries at the bar after hockey. You need 4,700 mg of potassium a day, which you can easily get if you pitch out your crappy TV dinners and eat fresh fruits and vegetables, including the following potassium stars: avocado, potatoes, dark leafy greens, squash, bananas, and tomatoes.
Magnesium- Many of my male clients have crazy busy jobs that leave them feeling stressed out. Magnesium is used by the body to help relax us, which can be a good thing if you're running around like a madman all day at work. Magnesium is used in over 300 chemical reactions in our body, including helping us relax, energy production, and helping our heart and blood vessels stay healthy, but a lot of people happen to be low in this mineral. The recommended 420 mg a day of magnesium is found in spinach, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, and fish, and you may need a magnesium supplement if you feel like you're not getting enough.
Omega 3 fatty acids- Do your blood vessels need, ahem, dilating? Omega 3 fatty acids not only translate into a healthy heart and brain, they're also anti-inflammatory and can positively affect mood. Unique to men, Omega 3s are used by the body in the production of nitric oxide -- which, if you didn't know, is what causes that rise in your Levis. So guys, don't skimp on your omegas -- the best way to get them is in fatty fish like salmon and trout. If you don't eat fish, you can get your omegas in sources such as grass fed beef and butter, omega-3 eggs, walnuts, flax seeds, and chia seeds among others.
Happy men's health month!
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