It’s all too easy to grab a high-fat sandwich at your desk or opt for a takeaway after work when you’re too tired to cook for yourself but if you’re looking to shape up and slim down, you don’t have to discuss diets with the girls, though you do need to get clued up. Here’s where we come in – we’ve spoke to nutritionists and health experts to bring you a round-up of the foods and tips that will keep your body in its optimum condition…
What food do men need?
Just like women need to ensure they’re getting adequate nutrients to help them avoid diseases such as osteoporosis or assist them through hormonal changes such as the menopause, men also need to bear in mind the health issues that are gender specific to them, such as prostate cancer and as they are also susceptible to a higher level of stress than women, they also show signs of heart disease some 10-20 years sooner – especially if their diet is poor. So check out these healthy food options:
Big up BANANAS: We know that bananas are good for us, but do you know just how good? Apart from keeping you feeling full longer than other fruits such as apples and oranges due to their high starch content, they’re also a great source of potassium, the mineral which helps regulate your body’s fluid, keeping blood pressure under the control. And as men are more susceptible to high blood pressure than women, it’s important they go bananas! Make sure they are your go-to snack when you need a pop of energy during the day.
Ten out of Ten for TOMATOES: The antioxidant, Lycopene, is found in high quantities in tomatoes and it’s especially good in the prevention of prostate cancer. Cooked tomatoes have even higher doses so when you’re ordering pizza or pasta, ditch high fat toppings and sauces and top up the tomatoes. Slip them into your diet by adding them to sandwiches or try a refreshing, cool tomato juice with crushed ice, lemon, a sprinkle of garlic salt and shot of Tabasco sauce? A great drink with or without the vodka!
Time to go NUTS: Raw nuts are a fabulous and filling snack. They’re a good source of Vitamin E and protein and also contain unsaturated fats which help lower levels of the ‘bad’ HDL cholesterol which can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Considering men are more at risk of heart disease than women, nuts are a definite ideal addition to your diet. If you’re not sure what nuts to try, walnuts have had good press as they are thought to contain a more powerful blend of antioxidants.
Got to Love LIVER: Not one of the most popular meats and an acquired taste for some, but if you work out or lead an active life, you need to make sure you’re getting iron and protein and liver is an amazing source of both. The fact that it’s only slightly higher in fat that chicken and is leaner than most other types of meat, makes it a meal time winner. Fry in a little olive oil with some onions and peppers and eat with brown RICE which is another goodie packed full of B vitamins, magnesium, potassium and zinc. Great stuff!
Sowing yourOATS: Another great choice of healthy heart food, oats are King of Cereal choice for men. They contain a large amount of carbohydrates for energy and high fibre which slowly releases the sugar into the blood stream preventing blood sugar freak outs throughout the day. Oats are also packed with B Vitamins and protein so grab an oatmeal muffin in the morning if cereal isn’t your thing to make sure you’re getting your oats.
Getting your GREENS: Dark, leafy greens are jam-packed with good nutrients so whatever you felt about them as a kid, get over it and include them in your diet now. They are rich in beta-carotene, Vitamin E, C and minerals calcium, magnesium and potassium. Add BROCCOLI to your veg list too as it’s also helpful in the prevention of heart disease and cancer – the two highest killers for men over 35.
Something FISHY: If you want to impress a woman with a home cooked meal, try serving up salmon. The health benefits of this pretty pink fish are powerful for men and women; it has an abundance of Omega 3 fatty acids, proven as effective in lowering the risk of prostate cancer and keeping the heart healthy. Seafood such as OYSTERS is another romantic date dinner, high in protein and zinc which is important for immune function as well as prostate health.
NUTRITIONAL KNOW HOW
* Eat more fruit and vegetables, aiming for 5 portions a day.
* Add less salt to food and cut it down by eating less processed food such as ready meals.
* Vary your diet with a wide range of foods.
* Eat regularly as this will help cut down on cravings and enable you to manage your diet and weight.
* Assess your portion size. Are you eating more than you think because it’s the amount of food you’re used to? Ensure the energy you consume matches your level of activity - or is slightly less if you’re looking to lose weight.
*Keep within the recommended alcohol limits; women should not drink over two to three units daily and men no more than three to four units. Try to have at least 2 alcohol free nights a week.
* Drink more water to stave off dehydration and to prevent you from mistaking thirst for hunger. Drinking plenty of water will also help regulate bodily functions.