Nutrients for Men
Men and women are different, of that there is no doubt. The nutrition requirements are different as well. In our rushed modern world, few of us get all the nutrients our bodies need to function at peak efficiency, let alone those appropriate to our age or gender. Combined with a regimen of adequate exercise and rest; a diet containing the appropriate nutrients can improve your health and prolong your life.
A balanced diet is a diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and low fat. Men, in general, need a larger amount of food than women because of larger body mass. Some of the important dietary supplements for men include zinc, vitamin B6, essential fatty acids, magnesium, and anti-oxidants.
Important from A to Zinc
Zinc is an essential nutrient for the health of the prostrate. Men suffering from zinc deficiency are at a much higher risk of developing prostate cancer. This element contributes to proper prostrate function, synthesis of testosterone and activity, and sperm development. It is also a vital element in immune system strengthening, healing of wounds, and overall body development. Good sources of zinc are mushrooms and high quality lean meats. If you take multi-vitamin supplements, buy the multi-vitamin, multi-mineral kind and ensure they contain zinc.
Looking for Mr. Good Fat
Obesity, high blood pressure and heart problems are the most common ailments that men suffer. These conditions are caused by high intake of fat and unhealthy eating habits. This is not to say that all fat needs to be removed from the diet, because the body needs a certain amount of fat for healthy function. The key is to reduce or eliminate the unhealthy fats (trans-fat and saturated fats) and introduce more of the healthy fats, like omega-3. These fats are good for the heart, increase the level of good cholesterol in the blood, and help to decrease the bad cholesterol. In addition to fish like tuna, mackerel and salmon, good sources of the omega-3 fats are almonds, walnuts, and leafy green vegetables. Omega-3 supplements can also be added to the diet to ensure a daily intake of a sufficient amount. This is especially important if your travel or job schedule makes eating a properly balanced diet difficult.
In addition to impeding the development of free radicals in the body which are the main contributors to organ deterioration, anti-oxidants help reduce the risk of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. Vitamins E, C and the carotenoid family are the anti-oxidants. The E branch of the family is the defender against cardiovascular ailments. Vitamin C is believed to help reduce the risk of cancer, as do the carotenoids. These latter vitamins are found mainly in fruit peels, thus it is recommended that fruits be eaten along with their peels (after careful washing, of course). Papaya, Guava, peach and citrus fruits are high in vitamin C and carotenoids. If you are prone to gastric distress, consult your physician before consuming large quantities of citrus fruits as the acid in these fruits (as well as tomatoes) can aggravate gastric conditions and cause acid reflux.
Magnesium for muscle
Because of higher body mass, men need nutrients especially to contribute to muscle development. Magnesium is required to help develop the muscle structure. It regulates muscle contractions, bone building, heartbeat, nervous system functions, and blood clotting. Men above 31 years of age are advised to ingest 420 mg per day of magnesium for optimum health. Increasing consumption of magnesium also reduces the risk of diabetes. Best sources are whole grains such as brown rice, nuts, wheat germ, fish, beans and apples.
Vitamin B6, B12 and folic acids should be taken in combination to control inflammation curing cancer or heart disease, and they help to metabolize protein in the body. Men who are at high risk for stroke should include these vitamin supplements in their diets. Foods that are particular high in these elements include eggs, fish, bell peppers, figs, beans, barley and spinach. They can also be found in wheat germ and brewer’s yeast.
In addition to the different dietary requirements between men and women, at different stages of life, the requirements for men differ. In adolescents and teens, zinc aids in the maturation process. There is also study in to the effects of certain elements on the outbreak of acne in teens. Vitamin A is an element that inhibits free radicals, improves the immune system and promotes clear skin. As men age, the risk of prostate cancer increases. Pantothenic acid, zinc and niacin are important supplements for men over 50. Pantothenic acid is vital for proper functioning of the adrenal glands, which produce hormones, while zinc helps proper prostate functioning. Niacin helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels which are vital as men age and the risk of heart attack and stroke also increase.
In addition to the traditional foods with which we are all familiar, and the vitamin supplements which can be purchased over the counter, there are a number of non-traditional sources of essential nutrients for men.
Saw palmetto herbal extract supports prostate health and promotes healthy functioning of the sexual organs in men. Korean ginseng root is traditionally used in the Far East to support male sexual functioning, and is known to support healthy testosterone levels. For teens, sarsaparilla is thought to promote healthy, acne-free skin.
As we work longer hours meeting deadlines, spend more time on the road or in the air, grabbing sustenance when and where we can, the risks to men increase. Having a quick burger, fries and a soft drink has become the norm, but it hardly constitutes a healthy diet. Unfortunately, most men have come to accept the status quo and stumble through the day without giving it a second thought. By the time they realize what an improper diet is doing to their health, the damage is done. A healthy diet, rich in the nutrients that are necessary to help a man develop a healthy body, helps us to grow old gracefully and cope with all the pressures of modern life, physical and mental.
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