The best way to achieve overall health is to reflect on your diet. What you eat, how much you eat, and how often you eat it plays a key role in helping you to look and feel your best. A healthy, nutritious, balanced diet is a key first step in a healthy life.
The nutritional needs of men and women are different, as well as their body composition. Men are about 18 to 25% fat, while the average woman is between 25-31% fat. Men are also composed of more muscle mass and larger bones, as they tend to be larger in stature than women. So, needless to say the nutritional needs of men and women are different.
The most basic idea of men’s nutrition is that men require more calories than women do. While the exact amount varies based on body size and level of activity, most men need to take in between 2,000 and 3,000 calories daily to maintain a healthy body mass. Men who are overweight can lose approximately a pound a week by cutting their calorie intake by 500 for each day.
The main factor that leads to a higher calorie intake is the production of testosterone. Testosterone is the main reason that there are such significant differences between the muscle mass of women and men. Men also have more circulating red blood cells than women do, which may lead to men being less able to adapt to low blood sugar.
Both men and women need good, healthy sources of protein. However, again we seen that men require more than women do in this department. About 15% of your daily intake of calories should come from healthy sources of protein, such as lean meats, egg whites, nuts, and seeds.
Anyone who exercises regularly may need to evaluate their protein intake more, however. Active men and men who want to maintain their muscle mass need a high amount of protein in their diet. It is especially important to eat a protein-rich meal before bedtime, as it is insurmountable in helping muscle repair overnight after a workout.
However, too much protein can sometimes be a negative thing. Excess protein, like any calorie, is stored as fat in the body. Too much protein can also increase calcium loss, raising the risk of kidney stones in men.
Carbohydrates, commonly referred to as carbs, make up the bulk of your daily diet. They should account for anywhere from 45 to 65% of your daily caloric intake. However, it is imperative that these carbs come from healthy sources.
Complex carbs are good for you. They can be found in products made from whole grains, beans, and brown rice. These foods also have the added benefits of being high in fiber. These complex carbs can also aid in raising good cholesterol levels and lowering the bad.
Carbohydrates can also be found in more simple forms, such as processed sugar. These, however, are empty calories and should be limited. Things like candy and other sweets should be considered a treat.
Fats are everyone’s favorite four-letter word. Healthy fats are not hard to come by; they can be found in fish oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados. Olive oil is also a good source of monounsaturated fat.
It seems as if the “bad” fats are much more abundant, however. Trans fat and saturated fat can be found in poultry, dairy, and palm oil.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also a key part of any balanced nutrition plan. Your body cannot produce these on its own, so it’s essential to get them from food. Salmon, sardines, and tuna are good sources of omega-3s, as well as walnuts, flax seeds, and leafy greens.
Calcium is essential for bone health, but it also is needed for muscles to heal and strengthen after a workout, for nerves to transmit signals, and for the heart to keep a regular beat.
Osteoporosis is often thought of as a woman’s disease, but one man in four will have complications of osteoporosis after the age of 50.
Good sources of calcium can be found in low-fat milk, yogurt, and in some cheeses. Orange juice that has been fortified can also be an excellent source. OJ is also a great source of vitamin D, which is essential in absorbing calcium.
Similarly to how men need more calories because of their larger stature, men also need a higher intake of fiber in their diets to help digest all of those calories. A healthy amount of fiber in the diet allows for steady energy levels throughout the day. You will need approximately 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories that you consume.
Good sources of fiber include leafy greens, peppers, apples, bananas, and carrots. These foods are digested more slowly, keeping you satiated longer.
Adding fiber to your diet also helps prevent heart disease and diabetes. It also curbs your appetite, leading to weight loss.
Potassium is vital in overall health and wellbeing. Notably, it plays a key role in keeping your heart healthy and beating, as well as aiding in muscle contraction. It also helps control salt levels in the body, which helps prevent heart disease and high blood pressure.
Bananas are the most well-known sources of potassium, but you can also find healthy levels of it in avocados, cantaloupe, apricots, squash, lentils, and potatoes. You need around 4,700 milligrams of potassium a day, and you will find about 400 of those in a banana.
Men who follow a well-balanced nutrition plan typically get all of their vitamins and minerals. However, it can be beneficial to talk to your doctor about a multivitamin. Different bodies require different amount of each vitamin and mineral.
Whether you are male or female, a healthy and balanced diet is the way to go. However, what is best for men is not always what is best for women and vice versa. Always do your research and talk to a doctor.