Week 3: Movember – Nutrition for men
During the month of Movember, it’s a good time to check in with yourself and your health habits. Nutrition is a vital foundation for good health overall and a healthy diet can help to reduce your disease risk. Take the time to make adjustments that will positively impact your health. You’re worth it!
Women and men are 98.5% identical in their DNA and their nutritional needs are similar. Body size and physical activity levels will determine the overall difference in total calorie consumptions, but there are key nutrients that support men’s health, such as zinc.
There is a very clear relationship between zinc and testosterone levels. Testosterone is present in both men and women, however, men have much higher levels, giving men their male characteristics, and supporting the male reproductive system. Testosterone levels decrease naturally with age, so ensuring adequate zinc in the diet or taking zinc as a supplement may help to support healthy testosterone levels. Great food sources of zinc include pumpkin seeds, chicken, turkey, lamb, grass-fed beef, whole grains, and legumes.
What other vitamins and minerals are important?
Vitamin D: If you naturally have darker skin, are above the age of 50, or don’t get outdoors much, you may be lacking in vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for bone health and immune system support. It can be found in foods such as oily fish and mushrooms.
Potassium: Found in many fresh fruits and vegetables, this nutrient helps to maintain a healthy blood pressure, control muscle contractions, and support heart health. The best food sources include avocados, white beans, and potatoes.
Omega 3 fatty acids: These healthy fats aren’t just important for men; women and children also need a daily dose of these essential fatty acids. They are essential because the body cannot manufacture these fats on its own; they must be consumed in the diet. Omega 3s help reduce inflammation, protect blood vessels and joints. In children, EPA/DHA (types of O3 fatty acids) are essential for brain development. Food sources include small, oily, cold water fish (wild caught is best), chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, and purslane.
Measures of health
It’s important to watch your waist size. If your waist measures more than 40 inches around, it’s time to evaluate your dietary and lifestyle habits. Waist circumference is a major indicator of cardiovascular disease risk, diabetes, and stroke. Fat around the abdomen is typically buried deep into the abdomen, increasing the risk of chronic disease development. Consider working with a health professional to develop long lasting, healthy habits.