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Men's Diet and Exercise

By: Corinna Underwood - Updated: 14 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
Men Diet Exercise Health Food Moderation

Maintaining a healthy diet is important whatever your age. The short-term benefits of a healthy diet are that it:

  • helps you stay in good shape
  • maintains healthy skin, hair, eyes and nails
  • gives you the energy for day-to-day living, and for exercise
  • helps concentration, memory and mood
  • supports your immune system, to help keep infections at bay and allow you to recover more quickly from illness
  • promotes a healthy and regular bowel
The long-term benefits of a healthy diet are that it:
  • reduces your risk of health problems such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, various cancers, high blood pressure, stroke, cataracts and osteoporosis
  • helps you stay fitter and healthier as you age

Healthy Eating Guide:

Bread, Potatoes & Other Cereals

The main nutrients here consist of carbohydrates (mainly starchy), fibre, B vitamins, potassium, iron, selenium, some protein, calcium, vitamin E and phytochemicals. Healthy choices include bread, pasta, rice, noodles, breakfast cereals, potatoes, oats and grains. You should aim for three daily servings of wholegrain types. Also limit added fat. Stick to 6-11 servings daily (according to appetite). A serving is: 1 slice of bread; a bowl of cereal; half a bagel, 3 crackers, half a cup of cooked rice or pasta, 1 potato. Many people would actually benefit from eating more. These foods are nutritious, filling, and not fattening if eaten in moderation. Make them a part of each meal and use as healthy snacks.

Fruit & Vegetables

Fruit and vegetables contain vitamin C, beta-carotene, magnesium, folic acid, potassium, fibre, some carbohydrate, calcium, iron and phytochemicals. Fresh, frozen, canned, dried and juices can count as healthy choices. Choose a variety of different types and colours each day. Aim for at least 5 portions every day. One portion equals 2 tbsp vegetables, a piece of medium sized fruit, a side salad, 2-3 tbsp cooked fruit, 1 tbsp dried fruit, a glass of fruit or vegetable juice. Diets which are high in fruit and vegetables can help protect against chronic disease, aid weight control, maintain a strong immune system and keep your bowels regular.

Milk & Dairy Foods & Alternatives

These foods contain calcium, vitamin B2, B12, protein, vitamins A & D and zinc,. Phytochemicals are also included in soy-based foods. Opt for lower fat varieties, e.g. reduced-fat milks (semi, or fully skimmed), yogurts, fromage frais and cheeses. Choose calcium fortified soya milk, tofu, or soya yogurt. Have 2-3 servings daily. One serving equals 200 ml milk or soya milk, 30 g hard cheese such as cheddar, rice pudding or a small pot of yogurt.

Meat, Fish & Alternatives

These foods include protein, iron, B vitamins, zinc, potassium, selenium, magnesium. Phytochemicals are also in nuts, beans, lentils, tofu and seeds. Healthy choices include meat that is either lean or been trimmed, all types of fish, poultry, eggs, split peas and lentils, beans, nuts and meat substitutes (e.g. Quorn). Eat moderate amounts, e.g. 2-3 servings a day. A serving is: 50-75 g meat, 100 g fish, 1-2 eggs, 3-4 tbsp cooked beans, 50 g nuts. You will get plenty of protein in your diet, so there is no need for large meat portions. B vitamins promote a healthy nervous system.

Foods Rich in Fat and/or Sugar

This includes foods which have some essential fats, vitamins and minerals. Phytochemicals are in virgin olive oil, chocolate. Opt for unsaturated oils, e.g. olive, sunflower, soya, rapeseed and their spreads. When preparing food, use fats sparingly . Try to avoid eating fatty foods in large amounts. Look out for lower-fat alternatives to spreads, ready meals and dressings. Diets which are high in saturated fat encourage a rise in cholesterol levels, and a frequent sugar intake is not good for teeth and gums.

Healthy Eating Tips

  • Strive for balance from all food groups
  • Try to keep fat consumption at less than 30% of your daily caloric intake
  • Focus on whole grains instead of processed, refined foods
  • Keep sugar consumption low (cookies, cake, candy)
  • Salt intake should be no more than 2,300mg per day
  • It is not recommended for men to have more than 2 alcoholic drinks per day (one beer, one glass of wine, 1 1/2 oz of hard liquor are one serving), as alcohol is comprised of mostly empty calories and excess consumption may be harmful to your health
  • Pay attention to serving sizes, even using a smaller plate may be helpful
  • Know what type of fat (s) you are consuming
  • Drink lots of water
  • Read product labels - know what you're eating
  • Don't skip breakfast

Healthy Exercise Tips

Regular physical activity improves overall health, as little as 30 minutes can be beneficial:
  • Lessen the affects of stress
  • Better sleep
  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Stronger immune system
  • Lower risk of chronic diseases
  • Reduce chances of depression and anxiety
  • Help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight

Bored with Exercise?

  • Change your activities
  • Walk the dog or do yard work
  • Park your car farther away or take the stairs
  • Find a new jogging, walking or biking route
  • Exercise with a friend or family member
  • Play outside with your children
  • Set realistic goals and reward yourself when you achieve them

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