Dads, This One’s For You
By Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN
Father’s Day is just around the corner and it’s also Men’s Health Month, so there’s no better time to discuss how we can keep you guys healthy (and happy!). When it comes to men’s health, food choices and exercise are key factors that determine longevity, looking great, and feeling even better. It’s also key to preventing common health issues prevalent in men. The three most common health issues that men face include heart disease, cancer, and mental health issues. To help you guys get and stay healthy, let’s discuss specific nutrition tips that help ward off these diseases.
Tips for Heart Health
About 8% of all men have heart disease, so it’s something that’s ever present, and food and exercise can play a major role.
- Eat more monounsaturated fat from sources like nuts (almonds, cashews), avocados, olives and olive oil – they help to fight inflammation in the blood vessels and thereby the heart. Healthy fat can also help to promote healthy cholesterol.
- Include more whole grains like quinoa, buckwheat, farro and wheat berries. Fiber is key for keeping arteries and blood vessels clean and functioning properly.
- Eat more berries. They contain polyphenols that help to “clean up” damage and damaged cells in the body and in the blood vessels keeping them healthy.
Heart-healthy recipe: Here’s to Your Heart Smoothie
Tips for Cancer Prevention
Studies suggest, men are more likely to suffer from certain cancers like prostate, lung and colorectal cancers.
- Eat more lycopene. Find it in cooked tomatoes and raw watermelon. Lycopene is a nutrient that may help to prevent both prostate and lung cancers.
- Cut back on calcium (i.e. dairy products) as higher amounts of calcium intake may be correlated with increased risk for prostate cancer.
- Include more fiber. Fiber has been found to be beneficial when it comes to preventing colon cancer. Aim to have fruits and vegetables at every meal and snack daily (try including smoothies and juices- yes there’s fiber in juice too!).
- Eat foods that contain flavonoids like apples and foods rich in lutein like collard greens, spinach, broccoli and oranges as they too may be protective against lung cancer.
Anti-cancer recipe: Easy Slow Roasted Balsamic Glazed Tomatoes
Tips for Brain Health
Brain health is key for all of us, so we need to pay more attention to how we can fuel our bodies for better brain function, especially with chronic diseases like dementia and alzheimer’s on the rise.
- Eat more dark green vegetables like spinach, kale and Brussels sprouts because they contain folate and other nutrients that may help to promote brain health.
- Eat more nuts like walnuts and chia seeds that contain plant-based omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. These fats are anti-inflammatory and can play a role in promoting brain health.
- Eat more anthocyanin-rich foods like berries, cherries, and beets because they contain anti-inflammatory properties and may also help to boost brain function.
- Include more avocado. The monounsaturated fat can help to boost blood flow to the brain.
- Enjoy dark chocolate- yes I said dark chocolate! It contains flavonoids that may help to promote healthy blood vessels in the brain and may also help to prevent age-related memory decline. Additionally dark chocolate may help to promote production of endorphins that can help to promote a happy mood.
Brain-healthy recipe: Blueberry Quinoa Cashew Salad