Nutrition for Men's Health
Men face a number of health challenges, including increased risk of heart disease, liver disease and poor mental health compared to their more active counterparts.
Good news though! Diet can play a huge part in improving both men's physical and mental wellbeing.
Our Meraki Nutritionist, Tahlia has provided us with some great information on common nutrient deficiencies she sees in men that can easily be improved on.
The following is a list of nutrients that men may be missing from their diet. While this list won’t apply to all men, these areas are deficiency concerns that I see in many men that present in clinic.
Adequate Quality Protein Intake
Protein is imperative for healthy hormone function, muscle maintenance, energy production and good mental wellbeing.
Adequate quality protein intake differs between men and women, you also need to take into account activity levels. But, as a general guide, recommended protein intakes are as follows:
- Inactive person = 1 gram per kg of body weight per day.
- Athletes/those undertaking a lot of training or sport = 1.5 - 1.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight daily.
When trying to increase muscle mass, protein intake can go as high as 2.0 grams per kg of body weight per day.
Many males focus on getting their protein from animal sources, but i like to encourage variety wherever possible. Some of my favourite plant-based alternatives include:
Another common nutrient deficiency we see in men is dietary fibre. This is essential for digestive health, but also a key factor in maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding many health issues.
Males should generally be aiming for 38grams of fibre per day. To give you an example, a pear with skin on will give you 5.5grams of fibre (so you’d still have a fair bit more to fit in your day. Other great sources of fibre include:
- Lentils (you can mix these through a salad or in the Meraki Immune Boosting soup can help to supercharge your intake)
- Chia seeds (plenty of these in our chia puddings)
- Fruit and veg (broccoli, beans, avocado, berries)
Potassium is required for normal cell function. Maintaining healthy potassium levels may help reduce hypertension and overall heart health as well as promoting healthy digestion. Evidence has shown that men with insufficient potassium have increased risk for elevated blood pressure, kidney stones, and other health issues.
Many foods contain high levels of potassium, including:
- Dried apricots
- Kidney beans.
Not one you hear of often, but lycopene plays a role in supporting men’s prostate and sexual health, in addition to cardiovascular health. It is an antioxidant that helps blood vessels to relax, enhancing circulation and blood flow.
Foods like tomatoes are naturally high in lycopene, as well as watermelon and guava.
Last but not least, we have zinc. We’d say it’s actually pretty important actually as zinc is the most valuable nutrient for male reproductive health. It’s required for the production of sperm as well as for healthy sperm mobility. Several studies show that even short-term zinc deficiencies can reduce semen volume and testosterone levels.
Taking a decent dose of zinc will help to boost testosterone and sex drive, great food sources of zinc include oysters and pumpkin seeds.