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June Is National Men's Health Month!

Updated: Jun 30, 2021

“In nothing do men more nearly approach the gods, than in giving health to men.”


Marcus Tullius Cicero

(Shutterstock/cdelacy)


Intro

Men tend to intake a smaller amount of fruits and vegetables, consume foods that are higher in saturated fat, drink more alcoholic beverages and smoke. It’s even understood that men may delay going to the doctor for regular check-ups. So, it’s no wonder June is National Men’s Health Month. We all want to feel good in our bodies and with a little physical movement, and adding more nutrient and fiber rich foods to your diet can make all the difference!

Energy Needs of Men

I think we all know that there are many differences between men and women, and nutrition and dietary needs are no exception. Men typically have more muscle than women and have larger physiques which can require more calories. Caloric intake always depends on height, weight and level of activity so all these factors will have to be taken into consideration. Living a sedentary lifestyle means that you take less than 5,000 steps per day.

The American Heart Association recommends getting 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise for 5 days each week for a total of 150 minutes a week. Moderately active men need approximately 2,000-2,800 calories per day.


A few examples of moderate intensity are:

  • Brisk walk (at least 3 miles per hour)

  • Cycling (lower than 10 miles per hour)

  • Gardening

Moderate Activity in Steps:

  • 7,500 to 10,000 steps per day

A few examples of high intensity are:

  • Jogging or running

  • Swimming laps

  • Hiking uphill

High Intensity Activity in Steps::

  • More than 12,500 steps per day


The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends the following:

  • At least 2 cups of fruits and 2½ cups of vegetables each day for vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals.

  • Whole grains. Eat at least half of all grains as whole grains each day. Replace refined grains with whole-grain bread, cereal, pasta, brown rice or oats.

  • Anywhere from 25 to 34 grams of fiber per day for younger men; 28 grams of fiber per day for men older than 50.

  • At least two to three servings of fish per week.

  • Unsaturated fats such as oils, nuts and oil-based salad dressings in place of saturated fats such as full-fat dairy foods, butter and high-fat sweets.

  • 3,400 milligrams a day of potassium from fruits, vegetables, fish and dairy.

Protein Consumption

Referring back to my January Post, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that the average individual should consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram (or ~0.35 grams per pound) of body weight per day for general health. So a person that weighs 75 kg (165 pounds) should consume an average of 60 grams of protein per day.

The Academy also recommends that athletes should eat 1.4-1.8 grams of protein per kilogram. This means a man who weighs 75 kg (165 pounds) who regularly (meaning 3-5 times per week) should consume between 105-135 grams of protein every day.

Word of Advise: Post workout protein regeneration is best about 30 minutes after your workout is complete. Don’t feel like you are a failure if you don’t eat a steak dinner right after. The body processes 25-30 grams of protein at a time so for a fast absorbing post workout fix...grab a whey protein shake. Whey is the watery portion of milk that contains protein and all nine essential amino acids. It’s great for muscle repair and gain!

There are several sources of high quality protein from meats and fish to dairy, nuts, legumes and more. You don’t have to be a gym nut to use these guidelines for your diet.



Gut Health

Healthy digestion and a healthy immune system often go hand-in-hand. Bloating, constipation and acid reflux can often be signs that your digestive system is off balance.


Food rich in probiotics will help get that gut microbiome back on track. Fermented foods such as yogurt and kefir contain live cultures and add good bacteria to your intestine. Other foods such as kimchi, and sauerkraut also offer great gut benefits. My personal favorite fermented beverage is Kombucha. This fizzy, fermented tea contains billions of live cultures and healthy bacteria. If you are not familiar with it, it does taste a bit like vinegar because of its acetic acid content but it comes in many delicious flavors and just 8 oz of this beverage will do your gut a world of good.


Fiber is also an important part of digestive health. It lowers cholesterol, reduces blood sugar, maintains healthy bowel movements and help with weight control by helping you to feel fuller. If you wish to increase your fiber intake, also increase your fluid intake.

There are two types of fiber: Soluble and Insoluble.


Soluble fiber dissolves and forms a gel-like substance in the gut.

Insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool and help alleviate constipation


Below are a few foods that are naturally high in fiber according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

  • 1 large pear with skin (7 grams)

  • 1 cup fresh raspberries (8 grams)

  • ½ medium avocado (5 grams)

  • 1 ounce almonds (3.5 grams)

  • ½ cup cooked black beans (7.5 grams)

  • 3 cups air-popped popcorn (3.6 grams)

  • 1 cup cooked pearled barley (6 grams)

When increasing fiber, be sure to do it gradually and with plenty of fluids. As dietary fiber travels through the digestive tract, is similar to a new sponge; it needs water to plump up and pass smoothly. If you consume more than your usual intake of fiber but not enough fluid, you may experience nausea or constipation.


Alcohol

Excess alcohol consumption can increase the risk of mouth, throat, liver and colon cancers but it can also increase the rate of developing prostate cancers. The 2020 Dietary Guidelines suggests that men now limit their alcohol intake to one drink per day (which has been reduced from the previous 2 drinks per day). Portion size and alcohol volume breakdown to the following:


Beer: 12 oz and 5% abv

Wine: 5 oz and 12% abv

Liquor: 1.5 oz and 40% abv


Anthocyanins And Antioxidants

Anthocyanins are a type of flavonoid (plant chemical) and refer to the color of fruits and vegetables that are red, purple and blue. Flavonoids are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties which help support a strong immune system.

Antioxidants are found in many foods, particularly in fruits and veggies with properties that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage. You can also find them in supplemental form but you should consult your doctor before beginning any supplement regime. A few examples are: Beta-carotene, Lutein, Lycopene, Selenium, Vitamins A, C and E.

Blueberries and Health

In addition to blueberries being a good source of Vitamin C, which is helpful for immunity protection and wound healing they are also high in Manganese. This element will help the body metabolize cholesterol, carbohydrates and protein.

Blueberries also contain Vitamin K which helps with blood clots. Several studies have been published about this delicious berry that promote their anti-inflammatory properties, and vision health along with erectile dysfunction prevention. Eat a few ounces of these berries a few times a week (although all berries are great for you) and begin to reap all the benefits they have to offer. And Remember….Health starts from the inside out….but also from the ground up!

To discuss more detailed information regarding the topics within this blog, or to inquire about customized nutrition plans, please reach out to Cathleen Winter at cathleen@wellnesswithincw.com


A Little About Me

My name is Mary DeBlasio, and I live in Silver Spring, MD. I am currently a student studying Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of the District of Columbia. I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s of Science in May of 2021. I am very interested in mindful eating, and foods that correlate with the seasons. My goal after graduation is to pursue a dietetic internship with a focus on clinical dietetics. I would like to concentrate on patients suffering from gastrointestinal issues. All my information is backed by credible sources cited within the blog.

Sources

Antioxidants. The Nutrition Source. (2021, March 3). https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/antioxidants/.

Bilodeau, K. (2018, May 16). Fermented foods for better gut health. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/fermented-foods-for-better-gut-health-2018051613841.

Ellis, R. by E. (n.d.). Healthy Eating for Men. EatRight. https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/healthy-aging/healthy-eating-for-men#:~:text=Moderately%20active%20males%20likely%20need,%2C%20lentils%2C%20fruits%20and%20vegetables.

Kalt, W., Cassidy, A., Howard, L. R., Krikorian, R., Stull, A. J., Tremblay, F., & Zamora-Ros, R. (2019). Recent Research on the Health Benefits of Blueberries and Their Anthocyanins. Advances in Nutrition. https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmz065

Larson, H. (n.d.). Easy Ways to Boost Fiber in Your Daily Diet. EatRight. https://www.eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/types-of-vitamins-and-nutrients/easy-ways-to-boost-fiber-in-your-daily-diet.


Leaf Group. (n.d.). What are Sedentary, Moderate & High Activity Exercise Levels? LIVESTRONG.COM. https://www.livestrong.com/article/401892-what-are-sedentary-moderate-high-activity-exercise-levels/.

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, January 6). How to add more fiber to your diet. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983.


Moderate to Vigorous - What is your level of intensity? (n.d.). https://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/Moderate-to-VigorousWhat-is-your-level-of-intensity_UCM_463775_Article.jsp.


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