Men are at a much greater risk of developing a diet-related chronic disease than women, according to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. A healthy, well-balanced diet provides men with the fuel they need to get through the day and nutrients to fight chronic disease. How a man eats affects how well he will age, according to the American Dietetic Association. By following some simple guidelines, men can live healthier and longer lives.
Nine Servings of Fruits and Vegetables a Day
The United States Department of Agriculture says as a general recommendation people should eat five servings of fruits and vegetables everyday. Men need nine servings a day, according to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. Men are one and a half times more likely to develop heart disease and cancer than women. Men need to eat more fruits and vegetables for the vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals to protect them from these diseases.
Better Fat Choices
Men should limit their total fat intake to 20 to 35 percent of total calories and limit saturated fat to no more than 10 percent. Saturated fat is found in red meat, milk, butter, bacon and ice cream. Men with high saturated fat intakes are at a greater risk of developing heart disease, according to the American Dietetic Association. Instead, men need to consume more monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as olive oil, canola oil, nuts and seeds.
Calcium and Vitamin D for Bone Health
Just like women, men who do not get enough calcium early in life risk developing osteoporosis. Calcium is important for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth. Men 18 to 50 need 1,000 mg of calcium a day and over 50 need 1,200 mg. Vitamin D helps men absorb calcium. Adult men 18 to 50 need 200 IU of vitamin D, men 50 to 70 need 400 IU and men 71 and older need 600 IU, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Dairy foods and salmon with the bones provide both calcium and vitamin D. Other food sources of calcium include spinach, soybeans and fortified orange juice. Other food sources of vitamin D include cod liver oil, mackerel and egg yolks.
Foods for Fertility
One third of all cases of infertility are caused by the male partner, according to the American Dietetic Association. Lifestyle and diet affects sperm health. Men with low intakes of vitamin C and zinc have sperm that clump together. Men need 90 mg of vitamin C and 11 mg of zinc a day. Food sources of vitamin C include peppers, citrus fruits, potatoes and cantaloupe. Foods high in zinc include oysters, pork, chicken, cashews, chickpeas and fortified breakfast cereals.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid
Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids prevent men from sudden death of a heart attack, according to the American Dietetic Association. Men need 500 mg of omega-3 fatty acids everyday. Eating fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna or mackerel, twice a week will help men meet their needs. Other food sources of omega-3 fatty acids include flax seeds and walnuts.
- American Dietetic Association: Healthy Eating for Men
- Palo Alto Medical Foundation: Male Diet and Nutrition
- American Dietetic Association: Heart Health For Men
- American Dietetic Association: Bone Health For Men
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin D
About this Author
Based in Hawaii, Jill Corleone, a registered dietitian, has been writing and lecturing on diet and health for more than 10 years. Her publications include an essay in noninvasive mechanical ventilation, edited by John R. Bach, M.D., and contributions to the monthly newsletter at St. Cloud Regional Medical Center in Florida.