Food is more than just fuel. Your diet can help fight disease and keep you feeling younger.
A healthy diet for men includes:
- 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.
- At least two to three servings of fish per week.
- At least 38 grams of fiber per day for younger men; 30 grams of fiber per day for men older than 50.
- Unsaturated fats such as oils, nuts and oil-based salad dressings in place of saturated fats including full-fat dairy foods, butter and high-fat sweets.
- 3,400 milligrams a day of potassium from fruits, vegetables, fish and milk.
Since men have more muscle and typically are bigger than women, they require more calories throughout the day. Moderately active males likely need 2,000 to 2,800 calories per day. Your energy needs depend on your height, weight and activity level.
For energy and disease prevention, men should eat whole grains such as whole-grain bread, pasta, cereal, brown rice, oats, barley, beans, lentils, fruits and vegetables. These foods are high in fiber, help manage hunger and fullness and help fend off certain cancers, such as prostate and colon.
Men typically are avid meat-eaters because of the perception that more protein equals more muscle mass. That is not the case unless exercise is involved. Excessive meat eating is linked to heart disease and colorectal and prostate cancers in men.
Eat red meat less frequently and focus on more beans, lentils, tempeh and tofu. Plant-based proteins decrease disease risk and deliver fiber. Cut down on saturated fat from meat, cheese and fried foods. Instead, opt for foods with unsaturated, heart-healthy fats such as olive oil, canola oil, nuts, seeds and avocados.
Consider working with a registered dietitian nutritionist to develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime.