Healthy Eating Habits for Men

Men should develop healthy eating habits

Most men do not pay attention to their health as women do. In comparison to women, men are more likely to smoke and drink, make unhealthy or risky choices and put off regular check-ups with their physician.

The good news is that it is never too late to make different choices to support a healthy lifestyle. There are some simple things, all men can do to change and improve their overall health. It can begin with good nutrition, including these suggestions:

— Eat more fruits and vegetables. A 14-year study found that men whose diets were highest in fruits and vegetables had a 70 percent lower risk of digestive-tract cancers. How to reach your quota: Never eat a meal that doesn’t contain a vegetable or fruit. And no, fries don’t count.

— Try to have pasta with tomato sauce in your weekly routine, as two to four servings of tomato sauce can cut prostate cancer risk by 37 percent.

— Eating one serving of fish per week can halve your risk of a sudden fatal heart attack. The secret ingredient in fish is omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is especially high in them.

— Breakfast is also an important component of the daily routine as a survey of more than 2,000 people who lost an average of 67 pounds and kept the weight off for more than 5 years found that 78 percent ate breakfast 7 days a week.

— You’re less likely to make bad eating choices at lunch if you eat properly in the morning, so start the day off with a breakfast of champions. Try a bowl of oatmeal and cup of low fat yogurt, or a poached egg with whole grain toast and fresh fruit.

— Most American men also need more fiber in their diets. Fiber not only has a host of important health benefits but also promotes satiety — the feeling of fullness that can keep you from overeating.

One simple way to increase fiber intake is to power up on bran. Bran from many grains is very rich in dietary fiber. Oat bran is high in soluble fiber, which has been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels. Wheat, corn  and rice bran are high in insoluble fiber, which helps prevent constipation.

Bran can be sprinkled into your favorite foods—from hot cereal and pancakes to muffins and cookies. Many popular high-fiber cereals and bars are also packed with bran.

There are other great fiber sources including: beans, berries, nuts and seeds, whole grain food products, peas, green leafy vegetables, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts, russet potatoes, sweet potatoes and a variety of fruits.

— Make wise choices for protein. Several times a week, eat skinless chicken or fish. Choose only lean cuts of beef and pork. You only need six to nine ounces of protein daily in order to meet your daily requirement, states the USDA. One serving is the size of a card deck. If you are body building, this amount is increased by only three to five ounces.

— Lower your intake of saturated and/or trans fats as part of your healthy eating plan. Saturated fats are mainly found in animal products, as well as deep-fried foods, many fast foods, commercially prepared baked goods, boxed cereals, processed meats and processed foods. Trans fats are found in hardened fats such as shortening and partially hydrogenated oils. Avoid, or limit, foods made with these items. Many restaurant-prepared foods contain trans fats, and you will not know this without asking your server.

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