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Nutrition Tips For Men Fuelling Your Body For Optimal Health

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality health coverage, offers 10 nutritional tips for men in light of June being Men’s Health Month.

“A balanced diet isn’t just about avoiding illness; it’s about thriving,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

“According to the National Institutes of Health, optimal nutrition can enhance physical performance, boost mental health, and prevent diseases commonly affecting men, like cardiovascular disease and prostate cancer.”

Focus on Heart Health

Consuming certain foods can increase your risk of ischaemic heart disease, the leading cause of death among men globally. To reduce this risk, avoid foods that contribute to heart disease, such as processed and red meats, fried foods, refined carbohydrates, and items high in sodium and saturated fat. To enhance heart health, include plenty of omega-3 fatty acids.

Good sources are fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and plant-based options such as flaxseeds and walnuts. For fats, focus on unsaturated types (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats). Sources of polyunsaturated fats include plant oils like soybean, corn, and sunflower, while monounsaturated fats can be found in canola and olive oils.

Avocados are a powerhouse of heart-healthy fats, fibre, and various micronutrients linked to cardiovascular health. Consuming at least two servings of avocado per week has been associated with a 21% lower risk of heart attacks or other coronary artery disease-related issues.

Maintain a Healthy Waist

If your waist measures more than 101.6, it may indicate excess abdominal fat. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a large waist circumference raises your risk of obesity-related diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

For most men, reducing calorie intake and increasing physical activity is the best approach to losing belly fat. Work with your doctor to develop an eating plan tailored to your needs and goals.

Don’t Skip Breakfast

Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day as it sets the tone for your energy levels, metabolism, and overall health. Opt for high-protein foods like eggs, yoghurt, or a smoothie with protein powder paired with complex carbohydrates such as whole grains or fruits for sustained energy.

Hydrated

Men often overlook the importance of staying hydrated. Water is crucial for every cell and function in your body. It aids in digestion, absorption of nutrients, and the elimination of waste. Aim for at least three litres (about 13 cups) of fluids daily, more if you’re active. This can include water, herbal teas, and other non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic beverages.

Increase Fibre Intake

Fibre is essential for digestive health. It helps prevent constipation and reduces the risk of colon cancer, which is more prevalent in men than women. It can also help control weight and blood sugar levels. Include a variety of fibre-rich foods like whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.

Lean on Protein

Protein is vital for muscle repair, bone health, and maintaining a healthy weight. Men should include a source of lean protein at every meal. Options include lean meats, fish, dairy, eggs, and plant-based sources like beans and lentils. These provide protein and other essential nutrients like iron, zinc, and B vitamins.

Limit Processed Foods and Sugars

Processed foods are often high in calories, unhealthy fats, and sugars, leading to weight gain and obesity. Diets high in processed foods, particularly those containing trans fats and high levels of sodium, can also increase the risk of heart disease and stroke and contribute to insulin resistance, a critical factor in the development of type 2 diabetes. Making conscious choices to prioritise whole foods over processed options can significantly improve long-term health outcomes.

Manage Portion Sizes

Overeating can cause weight gain and health problems. Knowing how much food is in a serving can help you control your intake. Use smaller plates, check serving sizes on labels, and listen to your body’s hunger cues.

Here are the recommended portion sizes for men:

  • Protein: 2 palm-sized portions per meal (40-60 g protein).
  • Vegetables: 2 fist-sized portions per meal.
  • Carbohydrates: 2 cupped-hand-sized portions per meal (40-60 g carbs).
  • Fats: 2 thumb-sized portions per meal (15-25 g fat)

Men eating three to four meals daily with these portion sizes would consume around 2,300 – 3,000 calories.

Include Antioxidant-Rich Foods

Antioxidants lower the chance of developing chronic diseases and fight reactive stress. Foods rich in antioxidants include blueberries, nuts, dark chocolate, strawberries, artichokes, kale, and red cabbage.

Consider Vitamin D and Calcium for Bone Health

Men often ignore their bone health until later in life. Getting enough calcium and vitamin D is essential for keeping bones strong and preventing osteoporosis. Dairy products are well-known calcium sources. Still, you can also find calcium in almonds, broccoli, kale, and fortified foods, while sunlight is an excellent natural source of vitamin D.

Conclusion

This Men’s Health Month, take the opportunity to reassess and improve your dietary habits. Good nutrition is a cornerstone of good health. By incorporating these tips into your daily life, you’re not just eating better but investing in a healthier future. Remember that making small changes can affect your health over time.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading health coverage provider, offering you a range of options at affordable rates, including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Our healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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