In recognition of Men’s Health Week – June 15 to 21 – we’re looking at the easy habits blokes can adopt to better their health. From hitting their daily nutritional requirements to good sleep hygiene – here are some simple health tips for men.
Eating a healthy diet can cut your risk of chronic diseases such as, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers. The health benefits of good nutrition aren’t just physical but mental too – a range of research has found a link between food and mood. In fact, a randomised controlled trial on young adults showed that improving your diet for just three weeks reduces depression symptoms and could provide long-term improvements in mental health.
Many of the dietary recommendations are the same for both men and women such as eating a variety of foods from the five food groups, plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, dairy, whole grains and healthy fats. As well as limiting processed foods and foods that are high in saturated fat, sugar and salt, drinking plenty of water and limiting alcohol.
However there are some slight differences when it comes to recommended daily intakes and some nutrient requirements. Here are the daily nutritional requirements for men:
Recommended daily intake – 19-50 years
- Vegetables: 6 serves (1 extra serve)
- Lean meat: 3 serves (0.5 extra serve)
- Additional/Discretionary: 0-3 serves (0.5 extra serve)
Recommended daily intake – 51-70 years
- Vegetables: 5.5 serves (0.5 extra serve)
- Grains: 6 serves (2 extra serves)
- Lean meat: 2.5 serves (0.5 extra serve)
- Milk & cheese: 2.5 serves (1.5 serves less)
Nutrient Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI):
- Calcium: 1300mg/day (300mg less) 51-70 years
- Zinc: 14mg/day (6mg more)
- Iron: 8mg/day (10mg less) 19-50 years
- Vitamin A: 900 mg/day (200mg more)
- Fibre: 30mg/day (5g more)
- Protein: 0.84g/kg (0.09g/kg more)
*These are compared to women of the same age. Not all nutrients with differing RDIs are listed.
2. Mental health
On average, 1 in 5 Australian men will experience anxiety and 1 in 8 men will experience depression in their lifetime. Although more people are speaking up about their mental health, men are much less likely to seek help for these concerns.
Eating well, exercise, sleep, spending time with family, relaxing and talking about how you feel are all important steps to looking after your mental wellbeing
Lack of sleep increases the likelihood of reaching for more processed foods such as high sugar snacks for a quick energy hit. Other effects may include poor mental health, poor concentration and with chronic lack of sleep, lowered testosterone and possible fertility issues.
Ensuring that you get your 8 hours each night is extremely important, try going to bed 30 minutes earlier tonight, your body will thank you for it!
Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol is harmful to our health and may increase the risk of stroke, dementia, high blood pressure, liver damage, stomach cancer and infertility due to a reduction of testosterone.
Aim for 2 alcohol free days per week and consume no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day
Regular physical is another extremely important activity that reduces the risk of many chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease and some cancers as well as improving mental health and cardiovascular health.
Aim for 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise on most days and break up long periods of sitting. If you don’t like doing exercise try finding something that you do enjoy like riding your bike with the kids, bush walking or swimming in the ocean.