Men and women are built differently which means that they have different needs in terms of nutrition throughout their lives.
Good nutrition for men is even more crucial as they get older, since a man has more than double the risk to getting a heart attack or stroke between the ages of 55 and 74 than a woman of the same age. Once women reach the menopause they are also at greater risk than in their earlier years.
Eating For A Healthy Heart
A balanced diet including wholesome fresh foods can reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke in both men and women. Increasing the amount of fibre - particularly soluble fibre that comes from oats, beans, apples, bananas, citrus fruits, pears and root vegetables - is a great way to start.
Vitamin C is important as it reduces the risk of blood clots, so eat plenty of red, green and yellow peppers, kiwi fruit, oranges and blackcurrants. Garlic, ginger beans and liver help reduce cholesterol.
Fresh fruit, carrots and dark green leafy vegetables will increase the amount of nutrients that protect your body against heart disease and keep your veins and arteries in good condition.
Throw out the salt and all foods that contain it ! Salt is a silent killer. Reducing your salt intake will help reduce blood pressure. The American Heart Association advises a maximum daily consumption of 6g, which is just over a teaspoon.
An average person in the UK consumes about 12g a day. This largely due to salts hidden in processed and ready made foods.
Most cardiologists now recommend limiting the amount of table salt to 4g a day. Healthier salt options are Celtic salt and Pink himalayan salt which are rich in minerals.
A reasonable amount of exercise, such as a twenty-minute walk three times a week, sensible alcohol consumption (2 - 3 glasses a week), together with a regular intake of raw garlic, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil and oily fish will help to keep your heart young and healthy !
Nutrition For Men: Eating For A Longer Life
At any age, men have a greater requirement for some nutrients than women. Men need more calories, protein, magnesium, zinc, selenium, thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6) and vitamin A. The diet of the average western man is almost always deficient in betacarotene, vitamins C, D and E, and many minerals, particularly zinc and selenium.
Make sure to choose plenty of the foods mentioned below:
Brazil nuts: Three brazil nuts a day provide 70mcg of selenium essential for heart health and protection against prostate cancer.
Garlic: Protects against heart disease, cholesterol, high blood pressure and blood clots. It also has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. If you would like to avoid the bad breath from garlic you may substitute ginger or take garlic capsules.
Globe artichokes: Eating at least two artichokes a week does wonders for the liver and gall bladder. Cynarin found in artichokes stimulates the production of bile and liver function. Good for men with a long history of alcohol consumption or a tendency to gallstones.
Yoghurt / Kefir (Airani) : Choose sheep's and goat's yogurt / kefir over dairy. It improves digestion and boosts the immune system, those with Bifidobacterium bifidum or Lactobacillus acidophilus are beneficial.
Red Meat: from grassfed animals can be useful in small quantities for its iron and B vitamins, particularly vitamin B12. Muscle strength declines with age in men and the easily absorbed protein and iron in lean red meat helps to maintain healthy blood and strong muscle tissue.
Wild Caught Salmon: Essential fatty acids help protect against heart disease.
Shellfish: Good source of zinc
Watercress: Vital for smokers or ex-smokers, contains the chemical phenyl isothiocyanate, which appears to inhibit the proliferation of lung cancer cells. Also a good source or iron, vitamin C and chlorophyll to boost the immune system. Choose organic to avoid chemical pollution from the water in commercial watercress beds.
Nutrition For Women : Easing Menopause Symptoms
There is no real reason to dread the onset of menopause. Symptoms of menopause can be unpleasant and distressing. Simply changing your eating and lifestyle habits may be enough to control them.
Hot flushes, headaches, skin problems and sexual problems at this age, are caused by a reduction in the levels of the hormone oestrogen. Vitamin E helps relieve these symptoms. Good sources are olive oil, sunflower oil, almonds, nuts and seeds. Soya beans are rich in plant estrogens, which help to relieve most menopausal symptoms.
After hot flushes, depression is the most common menopausal symptom. Minerals such as calcium, magnesium and the amino acid tryptophan may help. They are found in organic dairy, goat's and sheep's milk products, spinach, sesame seeds, almonds, cashew nuts, wholemeal flour, brown rice, chickpeas, fermented, non GMO soya bean products (mi so, nat to, temp eh) bananas, dried fruits and seafood. B vitamins are vital, from liver, oily fish, wholegrain cereals, eggs, spinach and yeast extracts. Try to eat two of these each day.
To build strong bones and keep them strong even after menopause has begun you can begin by taking in more calcium, magnesium, zinc and vitamin D.
Eat nuts and seeds for their mineral content, as well as sardines, goat's and sheep's yogurt and cheese for vitamin D together with sensible sunlight exposure. Make sure to also add in some form of weight-bearing exercise.
Foods For The Menopause
Beetroot: has folic acid (B9) which is essential in postmenopausal women, as it improves endothelial function and cures hot flushes. Vitamin B9 is able to improve the metabolism of insulin and lipids, which leads to a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases and breast cancer. The leaves may also be eaten raw or lightly steamed with some lemon juice and olive oil.
Chickpeas: Good source of protein, some B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, magnesium and phosphorous.
Nuts: Almonds and hazelnuts are a good source of vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc.
Oats: Have easily digested protein, soluble fibre, B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium and silicon.
Peppers: Excellent source of vitamin C, the red and yellow ones also provide a good supply of beta carotene.
Seeds: (sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, poppy). Good source of protein, iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium and potassium, sunflower seeds and pine kernels are also excellent sources of vitamin E.
Fermented Soya bean foods: Nat to, mi so paste, temp eh, tofu. Rich in fibre, protein, phyto-estrogens and probiotics
Spring Greens: A real life-saver during the menopause, containing potassium, calcium and iron, and a rich source of beta carotene, vitamin C and folic acid.
Vegetable Oils: Olive, walnut and wheat germ oil are high in Vitamin E and unsaturated fatty acids.
If you are aware of any health problem which may compromise your general health, it is important to seek treatment. A Health and Wellness Counselor may help you, to bring you back in balance and to good health through, detoxing, healthy eating and living, create a proper diet suited for your condition, advise natural remedies, herbs, wholefood supplements and organic cosmetics.
Barbara is a qualified nutritionist offering Health, Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling. She gives Healthy weight loss advice and promotes the Mediterranean diet. She is the author of the Med Life Diet - creating healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life !