On average, women live five to ten years longer than men. Why the disproportion? One reason may be that men are 33 percent less likely to go to the doctor (CDC). Other reasons suggest that more men smoke and drink than women and males generally have weaker social connections. Men also may not be as involved as women in grocery shopping or making household meal decisions.
The news doesn’t have to be all bad. There are tips guys can follow to reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases, including heart attacks and stroke) disease, high blood pressure, and lung cancer.
Heart disease (includes heart attacks and stroke) – 2.5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity each week is recommended to help prevent heart disease. In the 2014 National Health Interview survey, only 50 percent of men met these guidelines. Increasing the intake of omega-3 fatty acids by eating more salmon, sardines, tuna, nuts and seeds is also beneficial. Don’t forget fiber consumption through plant-based foods including oatmeal, berries, beans, and vegetables.
High blood pressure – according to the CDC almost one out of three men over the age of 20 has high blood pressure (hypertension). Most sodium in the average American diet comes from restaurant meals, approximately 25%. The rest of the sodium in the diet comes from processed foods, including canned soups, meal mixes (helpers), breads, cereals, lunchmeat, pizza, and sandwiches. Filling your plate by eating more fruits and vegetables (which are a good source of potassium and magnesium) can help you focus on reducing your intake of high-sodium processed foods. Add more beans to salads or eat hummus as a vegetable dip. Beans are a great source of potassium, magnesium, and calcium, helping reduce blood pressure. They are also an excellent source of fiber.
Lung cancer – lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer deaths in men, yet one out of five young men continue to start smoking. Select foods that are high in vitamin C, magnesium and carotenoids, such as broccoli, cantaloupe, apples, avocados, carrots and citrus fruits. These foods contain nutrients that support lung health. If you would like to quit smoking find support by contacting 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
Sources: Lung Health & Diseases, American Lung Association, www.lung.org
National Health Interview Survey, National Center for Health and Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov
Shafer, J.; Man on a Mission, Delicious Living, June 2016, www.delicousliving.com
Written by: Jennifer Even, Family and Consumer Sciences/EFNEP Extension Educator, Hamilton County, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewed by: Cheryl Barber Spires, RD, LD, Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension, email@example.com