Men’s health: eating right for gender

Is it a myth or do men lose weight faster than women?

Men and women have different nutritional needs. On average men live five to seven years less than women. They tend to gain weight more slowly – usually around the midsection – which increases their risk for major health issues.

For many reasons, men do lose weight faster than women. One of these reasons lies in our different food preferences. Men love to eat meat, while women tend to favor carbohydrate-rich foods like breads and sweets. Compared to meat, carbs are much easier to overeat. Women also have the tendency to eat for emotional reasons which can make losing weight an even greater challenge.

Men have a greater advantage over faster weight loss because they are genetically programmed this way. Because they have more testosterone, men naturally have more muscle mass which enables them to burn more calories during the day, even at rest.

Although men lose weight faster, the excess weight they do gain over the years tends to develop around the mid-section of the body. Although it is easier to lose abdominal fat than the weight around the hips and thighs it is a more dangerous area to be carrying fat. The accumulation of belly fat can increase risks for heart attack and type-2 diabetes.

There are certain foods with specific nutrients that can help lower health risks for conditions that are unique to men. These are the top five super foods for keeping men healthy:

Tomatoes: As a great source of lycopene, tomatoes are linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer in men. Research suggests a daily dose of 6 to 12 milligrams to reap the protective benefits – one glass of tomato juice supplies 22 milligrams of lycopene! While fresh tomatoes contain lycopene, the best sources of this antioxidant are heat processed because they are more available to the body. Tomato juice, tomato sauce, tomato paste, canned tomatoes, and even ketchup are great sources of lycopene. So, skip the diet coke or coffee and start enjoying a glass of tomato juice with lunch.

Oysters: Just three oysters deliver more than a full day’s supply of zinc, a mineral critical for the normal functioning of the male reproductive system. Studies suggest that if you don’t get enough zinc and you’re deficient in this mineral that it can lead to lower testosterone levels and a lower sperm count.

Brazil Nuts. As an exceptional source of selenium, Brazil nuts are linked to maintaining a healthy prostate. Men need 55 micrograms of selenium each day and this amount is found in only one-half of a Brazil nut!

Broccoli: While there is plenty of evidence linking a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables to a lower cancer risk, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli may offer great protection from not only prostate cancer but colon cancer as well. Just a few more portions of broccoli each week may protect men and keep cancer risks low. Other cruciferous vegetables include cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy and kale.

Ground Flaxseed: Studies suggest that one to two tablespoons per day may reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer and also slows the progression of the disease. Researchers attribute these benefits to the natural compounds (omega-3 fatty acids and lignans) found in flaxseed. Here’s the catch…you must grind flaxseeds to release the natural compounds! Add ground flaxseed to hot cereals, smoothies, and yogurt.

The bottom line is that you don’t need to completely change your diet to reap the disease-protecting benefits of these foods. Just a few added portions a week can make a difference to your health!

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