When it comes to health, men despite being more muscular, taller and stronger (physically) than women, are more at risk of certain diseases as compared to women especially chronic diseases. As men are more likely to die from heart disease, cancer and respiratory disease than women, on an average, they die five years earlier than women, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. There are many other factors from biological (hormones, chromosome, anatomy, metabolism), social to behavioural (smoking, aggression, diet, lack of exercise) that puts men at larger health risks as compared to women. (Also read: Men’s Health Week: Proven ways to boost male fertility and increase sperm count)
Men’s Health Week (June 13-19) provides an opportunity to bring awareness to health issues that affect men disproportionately and get them to become aware of problems they may have or could develop and gain the courage to do something about it.
It is important for men to take care of their lifestyle as they age to prevent risk of these chronic disease.
“As one ages, the lean muscle mass gets gradually replaced by fat. As the body composition shifts towards more body fat, calorie requirements decline. And that’s the reason, if you continue with the same eating pattern in your 40s as you did in your 20s, you will most likely gain weight, belly fat and lose muscles,” says Dr Meghana Pasi, Nutrition Consultant MyThali program, ArogyaWorld in an interview with HT Digital.
Men are more likely to suffer from non-communicable diseases if they do not take care of their lifestyle. An unhealthy diet coupled with sedentary lifestyle and tobacco use can lead to diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and cancers. According to the NFHS 5 report, 15.6% men either have high or very high blood sugar levels compared to 13.5% women and 24% men are hypertensive compared to 21% women. The prevalence of lung and prostate cancer, colon and rectal cancer, depression and suicides are also high among men compared to women.
Dr Meghana Pasi, talks about nutrition hacks that can help men stay fit and healthy all through their life.
Have a protein source with each meal
Boiled eggs, paneer paratha, fish curry, rajma, sambar, beans sabji, soya pulao, low fat cheese salad, chicken wrap etc should be included in meals. Besides building your muscles and giving you the superman strength, proteins help in production of antibodies to boost immunity. They also help in producing happy hormones serotonin that calm you down during stress. Remember, your protein requirements are 0.8-1gm/kg of your body weight.
Fruits and vegetables
Include 5-7 servings of fruits and veggies in your daily diet. Loaded with Vit C, E and A which act as antioxidants that prevent cell damage, fruits and vegetables also contain fibre which keep the gut healthy and reduces bad cholesterol. In case you hate veggies like gourds, cabbage, brinjal disguise their taste and texture by pureeing, grating, adding them in parathas, curries, stuffing etc.
Serve yourself small portions of high calorie foods and large portions of healthy foods like vegetables, salads and soups. High calorie foods like pastries, burgers, samosas, mithais are loaded with sugar, fats and salt. Regular consumption can lead to weight gain. Hence, if you wish to eat them, take small portions.
Snack healthy with sprouts, nuts, boiled chana, mung, makhanas, roasted peanuts etc. A healthy snack in between the main meals helps to keep you going long hours and restricts you from hogging at lunch or dinner. These snacks provide a good amount of energy and proteins as well.
Reduce salt intake
Keep your salt intake to less than 5 grams per day. Processed, packaged foods and bakery foods contain a lot of sodium which can raise the blood pressure and lead to heart diseases.
Milk and milk products
Add flavour to your milk and dairy (lassi, smoothies, milkshakes, etc.) if you hate milk but wish to have strong bones and teeth. Include at least 300 ml of milk or its products everyday eg. curd, raita, lassi, buttermilk, paneer etc.
“To conclude, I would recommend having a balanced meal which includes all food groups in the right portions so that you get all essential nutrients. Also remember, listen to your body, eat mindfully and exercise regularly,” says Dr Pasi.