Oh November, what a beautiful month! Cooler fall temps, beautiful autumn leaves changing colors, Thanksgiving and…..mustaches?! Ahh yes, the month of “Movember” when your brother, boyfriend, husband, dad, etc. decides to grow some really attractive looking ‘stache in the name of men’s health. Well, you can’t really argue with a good cause. Hey, it’s only a month (you tell yourself, as you count down the days till December 1st)!
If you somehow missed the facial hair fad, according to the Movember charity site:
“Our fathers, partners, brothers and friends face a health crisis that isn’t being talked about. Men are dying too young. We can’t afford to stay silent. That’s why we’re taking action. We’re the only charity tackling men’s health on a global scale, year round. We’re addressing some of the biggest health issues faced by men: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention. By 2030 we’ll reduce the number of men dying prematurely by 25%.”
Even though November is nearly over, the Movember movement is something to think about all year long. Good nutrition is a key component to men’s health. So share this info with the guy in your life …as you lovingly remind him to shave off that patchy facial hair in a couple of days 🙂
Nutrition needs changes as we age. Every decade has its own issues and concerns.
Your 20s: “Prime Time”
You’re in the prime of your life! In your 20’s, you might be in college or working at your first job post-graduation, and you likely have spare time to fill with hobbies like sports, biking, soccer/basketball league. Enjoy this decade, because a faster metabolism means you can eat more calories without putting on weight. However, just because you can eat more, that doesn’t mean you should choose junk food. If you’re going to snack on high calorie foods, choose whole foods (think: nuts, fruit, veggies and cheese) instead of cookies, chips, and sodas. Yes, they’re still high calorie but they’re not empty calories. You still get protein, fiber, vitamin and minerals which are optimal for good health. Guys who are more active also need to be sure they’re getting enough protein. Choose a variety of protein-rich foods, like seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds. Also, since heart disease can begin early, it’s suggested that men in their 20s eat two servings of fatty fish (rich in omega 3 fatty acids) per week to protect their cardiovascular system. Just beware of consuming too much seafood due to possible mercury contamination. These are good choices for fish high in omega 3’s, yet low in mercury: salmon, mackerel (Atlantic), sardines, herring, trout, catfish, and shrimp.
Your 30s: “What happened to that fast metabolism?!”
In your 30’s, you might be married and have kids. You’re likely working longer hours at a higher-level job (to pay for said marriage and kids), which means you’re not likely taking long bike rides or playing a pick-up basketball game with your buddies after work. But even though your activity slows down, your appetite does not. You’re sweet significant other is likely cooking delicious dinners for you as well. You’re used to eating the same way you always have and, and this is when weight gain can easily happen gradually over the years. Recognizing these changes and addressing it with your eating habits is the crucial first step to minimizing the “dad bod”. Rather than eating three (or less) big meals per day, switch to five to six small meals daily. Eating frequent meals revs up your metabolism and helps you not overeat at dinner because you’re starving. If smaller, frequent meals don’t work with your schedule, try to make breakfast and lunch your biggest meals of the day so you have more time to burn those calories off. There are 3500 calories in a pound. It’s generally easier to not overeat all those extra calories, than trying to lose those lbs later. Try to sneak in exercise wherever you can. Can you bike to work? Take the stairs? Exercise with your family? Get a jogging stroller, jog your kids to the park and when you get to the park actively play alongside them. A little extra effort here and there can make a huge difference over the years!
Your 40s: “Fiber is your friend”
The 40’s is when you start to see heart disease make an appearance. Fiber not only helps you fill “full”, aiding in weight loss but specifically soluble fiber (acts like a sponge to soak up cholesterol) can help keep your heart healthy. Your goal as a man is to try to eat 38 grams per day of fiber .The standard “American diet” contains roughly 10-15 grams per day. Beans and legumes are an excellent source of fiber. As are other veggies (artichokes, broccoli, brussel sprouts), fruits (berries, pears, avocados) and whole grains (oatmeal, bran cereal, whole wheat pasta). Fiber slows digestion, helps with blood sugar control, cholesterol….see it’s your friend! If you’re fiber intake is low, be sure to gradually increase it slowly over a period of time. Drastically increasing your fiber all at once can lead to cramps, bloating, intestinal upset. Some easy ways to add fiber to your diet: add ground flax meal or chia seeds to your smoothie, yogurt, oatmeal, baking. Puree cooked vegetables and add them to sauces/stews. Swap out white rice for “cauliflower rice”.
Your 50’s: “Antioxidants are your new best friend”
It’s all about trying to avoid and combat the diseases of aging in this decade. Trying to avoid cancer at all costs. That’s why antioxidants are so important; these compounds bust the free radicals that react with components of the cell and that increase your risk for chronic diseases. They slow the signs of aging (skin, eyes, joints, heart and brain). To keep free radicals at bay: “Eat the rainbow”. Incorporate a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables into your diet. What foods are highest in antioxidants? Goji berries, wild blueberries, dark chocolate (yay!), pecans, artichokes, elderberries, kidney beans, cranberries, blackberries, cilantro. Men in their 50s and beyond should also consume foods fortified with vitamin B12, such as fortified cereals. Antioxidant powerhouse dish
Your 60’s and Beyond: “It’s game time”
Poor eating habits in earlier decades will start really showing up now. The focus, same as your 50’s, is disease prevention. You want a diet rich in fiber, omega 3 fats, antioxidants and lower in calories, saturated fat and cholesterol. In the 60’s and beyond, men also start losing muscle mass, so protein is important. Choose leaner proteins such as seafood, white meat poultry, eggs, beans, soy, low fat/fat free dairy products. Eggs aren’t just a great source of high-quality protein, but help prevent macular degeneration which is common in aging. Eat whole eggs and yolks in moderation to keep your cholesterol intake under the recommended 300 milligrams a day. Since the fat and cholesterol in an egg is found in the egg yolks, you can use egg whites in place of the yolks.
Happy Movember everyone! Please share these tips with the men in your life 🙂