It’s Men’s Health Awareness Week and Father’s Day this Sunday, so what better time to discuss healthy eating for men and some ways to improve men’s health through nutrition and lifestyle.
Eating a healthy balanced diet is so important for overall health and wellbeing and can decrease your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers such as prostate and colon. It can also affect male’s fertility as well as improve your mental health.
So here are some top tips for optimizing Men’s Health!
1. Increase intake of fibre
The recommended daily intake of fibre in Ireland is 25g, and it’s estimated that about 80% of Irish adults aren’t meeting that requirement.
For energy and disease prevention, men (and women!) should eat fibre rich whole grains such as whole-grain bread, pasta, cereal, brown rice, oats, barley, beans, lentils, fruits and vegetables. These foods are not only high in fiber but also help manage hunger and fullness and help fend off certain cancers, such as prostate and colon.
Simple ways to increase intake of fibre include basing your meals and snacks arund fibre rich foods including:
- Wholegrains - brown rice, potatoes, brown pasta, wholegrain bread, quinoa, oats, cereals such as Weetabix or Branflakes.
- Fruit and vegetables- we should all be aiming for a minimum of 5 fruit and veg a day as not only are they great sources of fibre but they also can help to reduce cholesterol, aid digestion and keep you full for longer!
- Pulses including chickpeas, black beans, peas, lentils, kidney beans
- Nuts and seeds such as chia seeds, linseeds and flaxseeds.
2. Important nutrients: Selenium and Zinc
Selenium and zinc are important minerals that play a key role in men’s health, particularly men’s fertility. Good sources of selenium include brazil nuts, fish, meat, poultry, and eggs while sources of zinc include meat, dairy, shellfish, nuts, and grains. Choose from our range of selenium and zinc rich meals here at Gourmet Fuel to increase your intake of these important nutrients.
3. Watch your salt and sugar intake
Aim for less than 6g/day of salt and less than 9/g day or 12 tablespoons of sugar. Simple ways to reduce your salt and sugar intake include reading nutrition labels of food, makes sauces from scratch rather than using packets/jars and choosing fresh rather than processed foods.
4. Cut down on saturated fat
For overall health and disease prevention, it's important to limit your intake of red meat, particularly processed red meat like bacon, sausages and rashers as these foods are very high in saturated fats. Try to introduce more variety to your protein sources including fish and plant-based protein sources such as beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and soy products such as tofu, edamame beans and tempeh- be creative!
Making a swap from saturated fats such as full-fat dairy foods, mayonnaise, butter, and high-fat sweets to unsaturated fats such as oils, nuts, and oil-based salad dressings can have a massive impact on health and disease prevention
5. Reduce alcohol intake
During lockdown, you may have found yourself getting into bad habits with your drinking and overindulging during times of stress/boredom. Now might be the time to rethink your drinking! Regularly drinking more than 14 units a week increases your chances of developing heart disease, stroke, liver disease, mental health problems and some cancers such as prostate and colon. Have a read of our blog on tips and tricks to reduce your alcohol intake!
6. Keep Active
According to Healthy Ireland, only around 54% of men are achieving the National Physical Activity Guidelines in Ireland. This recommends that adults should have at least 30 minutes a day of moderate activity on 5 days a week (or 150 minutes a week). Even small 10-minute bouts of exercise during the day can be a great start. Start small and build up gradually, doing something is better than doing nothing!
A lack of good quality sleep can affect our general health in many respects including through lower levels of physical activity and an increased risk of weight gain. If you struggle with your sleep, try to understand the root cause and adopt some techniques that work for you such as avoiding caffeine and sugary foods after lunch, reducing screen time before bed, increasing the ventilation in your bedroom. Try to adopt a good bedtime routine allowing time to relax, reading a book or meditating.
8. Maintain a healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is so important for overall health. Being overweight or obese can increase your chances of having heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers such as prostate and colon and mental health problems. It can also decrease fertility. Men should aim to maintain a healthy BMI of 25 or less and a waist circumference of below 94cm (37 inches).
Calorie requirements for men
Since men have more muscle and are bigger than women, they require more calories throughout the day.
Your energy needs will depend on your weight, height, and activity level. Our Diet Tool can help to determine what your calorie requirements are.
If you’re struggling with your health or weight, it might be time to consider working with a nutritionist who can provide dedicated support and can help you to cater your diet to suit your individual needs!