Archive for June, 2011

Just in time for Father’s Day, here’s some great advice from the AMERICAN DIETETIC ASSOCIATION on how to encourage the men in your life to take ownership of their health and nutrition.

When was the last time your father, brother, husband or partner cooked a meal, asked for a second helping of vegetables or did the grocery shopping? If recent trends are a guide, it happened recently, according to the American Dietetic Association.

“More than ever, men are playing a role in buying and preparing the food that is eaten in their household,” says registered dietitian Martin M. Yadrick, past president of the American Dietetic Association. “Not only is budgeting finances important, but men are also realizing the need for healthy calorie budgeting, too.

“Think of eating in terms of contributing to your 401k. Doing the right thing over time will make a huge difference down the road,” Yadrick says. “My advice is: Guys, take ownership of all your personal health needs.”

Registered dietitians say men’s questions, interests and needs regarding food and nutrition tend to focus on such areas as being healthier; looking good; performing at their best; having more energy; recovering from injuries and
learning how they can excel through healthy eating and activity habits.

For men of all ages and all stages of life, eating right and being physically active are as important to health as annual physical exams and visits to the dentist, Yadrick says.

“For men as well as women, good nutrition is vital, but a man’s nutrient needs are unique due to higher muscle mass, larger body size and hormonal differences.”

Men can serve as an example of healthful eating – at work or at home – by making smart foods choices when they’re around colleagues, children and spouses.

“Cut down on meat portions and fill up the extra space with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds,” Yadrick says. By including these foods on your plate every day, men can benefit their health and potentially stave off obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and dementia.

“You can stay healthy and active longer – and that includes your sex life and fertility – if you make good choices when you eat,” says Yadrick.

With research showing that making small dietary and lifestyle changes every day goes a long way toward improving your overall health picture for life, Yadrick encourages all men to jump aboard the eating right bandwagon.

“Adding nutrient-rich foods like fresh fruits and vegetables at every meal is a great step in the right direction. Cutting down on portion sizes can make a huge difference in your overall calorie intake,” Yadrick says.

“It’s the results that matter to men, and our taste buds and health can provide the proof that eating right pays off.”

To find a registered dietitian in your area and to learn more about men’s health and nutrition, visit http://www.eatright.org/menshealth/.

The Slice Is Right

America has a love affair with pizza. We consume about 100 acres of it daily, 350 slices per second, and every man, woman and child eats about 23 pounds of pizza yearly.

Jeff Ruby, Chicago Magazine senior editor, deputy dining editor and co-author of the book Everyone Loves Pizza, says, “There’s something about pizza that transcends age and race and sex and all borders. Apart from some pockets of Naples, we’re more nuts about it than anyone on earth.” Andrea Giancoli, RD, MPH, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, agrees. “Soft dough, pizza sauce, a cornucopia of flavors and toppings, and that unique mouth feel — there’s no other food quite like it,” she says.

But pizza has gotten a bad rap. Thought to be fattening because of carb-laden dough, fatty meats and cheeses, and portion sizes (who can eat just one slice?), nutritious is not a word often associated with pizza. However, the basics of pizza are healthy. Tomato sauce is rich in the heart disease and cancer-fighting plant chemical, lycopene. Pizza is also one of the few dishes that incorporate all of the major food groups: dairy, grain, meat, veggies and fruit (tomatoes are fruits!). The truth is that pizza can fit into your diet without wrecking your waistline (it’s included on the new plate icon just released by the USDA). Follow these five sound strategies to make your next slice more nutritious and diet-friendly.

Eat Less

It’s best to stick to one or two slices (as difficult as that may be). If you order an entire pie, make it into several meals, Giancoli suggests. Better yet, have a salad on the side to help fill you up.

Skim Off the Top

Instead of making meats and cheeses the main attractions, ask for sparse toppings. Also, you’ll save hundreds of calories if you ask for 50 percent less mozzarella. Or swap mozzarella for a very flavorful cheese, such as feta, and you won’t need as much, Giancoli suggests.

Skim Off the Bottom

If you want to fill up without filling out, choose a thin, wafer-like crust and moderately-sized slices. Stay away from deep dish or cheese-filled crusts. For example, a slice equivalent to 1/8 of a 12-inch thin crust pizza contains about 164 calories in the crust alone. A thick crust slice bumps you up to 203 calories for the same size. Whole wheat dough is a healthier option because it provides fiber and other nutrients only found in whole grains. But it doesn’t necessarily translate into being lower in calories. Portion size still rules here.

Choose Skinny Proteins

Try adding grilled chicken, shrimp or Canadian bacon to your pie, which are lower in calories and saturated fat than pepperoni and sausage. But if you must have your pepperoni, ask for half the usual portion.

Veg Out

Stack your pie with extra tomatoes, mushrooms, green peppers, spinach, broccoli and eggplant for a nutritious hit, loads of flavor and belly-filling fiber. You just had your pie and ate it, too. Bada bing!

Author David Grotto is a FitStudio advisory board member, registered dietitian and the founder and president of Nutrition Housecall. He is the author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life and 101 Optimal Life Foods. He served as a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association for more than six years.

10 Best Superfoods for Men

You’ve heard that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach — so is the way to a healthier body. In light of June being Men’s Health Month, here’s a list of 10 superfoods he should eat daily.

1. Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, and the plant substance known as lycopene — great for heart and prostate health.

2. Broccoli is rich in natural cancer-fighting chemicals and loaded with heart-healthy, immunity-building nutrients such as vitamins A, C and folate — a B vitamin found to protect against heart disease. Preparation tip: Steam broccoli to help preserve vital antioxidants.

3. Salmon — whether smoked, canned, fresh-caught or frozen — is an excellent source of omega-3 fats, which help reduce inflammation and improve cholesterol.

4. Berries are “berry” good sources of nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium and anthocyanins, which are known to fight heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Rich in fiber and low in calories, berries taste great in salads or over breakfast cereal. Pick a color, any color!

5. Soy may boost prostate and bone health, research reveals. The Food and Drug Administration has also approved a claim that products made from soybeans, including meat substitutes and beverages, help improve heart health.

6. Olive oil is rich in oleic acid, a type of monounsaturated fatty acid that boosts heart health. It also enhances the absorption of lycopene (found in tomatoes), which may be helpful in reducing the risk of heart disease and prostate cancer.

7. Nuts contain fiber, healthy fats and plant nutrients called phytosterols, which are known to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. In a study featured in the medical journal Circulation, researchers found that eating a handful of almonds (about 1 ounce) daily reduced LDL by about three percent.

8. Green tea packs a group of antioxidants called polyphenols. These compounds may decrease plaque formation in the arteries and help fight prostate cancer cells.

9. Red wine contains a super antioxidant called resveratrol, found in the skins and seeds of grapes. Experts claim resveratrol assists in reducing LDL cholesterol and also helps in keeping the inside lining of the arteries that feed the heart more resistant to atherosclerosis, a.k.a. hardening of the arteries. Enjoy up to two 5-ounce servings a day, the American Heart Association suggests.

10. Whole grains, such as brown rice, oats, whole-grain breads and cereals may enhance immunity, reduce cholesterol and protect against a variety of cancers. The 2010 dietary guidelines recommend adult men consume six to eight one-ounce servings daily, with at least half of the grains being whole.

Food should be your primary source of nutrients, but most guys don’t eat an optimal diet every day. Your backup plan: take a multivitamin. Choose one designed for men’s needs. It should pack eleven milligrams of zinc and 600 IUs of vitamin D, two important players in prostate health. Since guys don’t menstruate, don’t worry about iron.

For more tailored advice on proper diet and supplementation, see a registered dietitian. All men may not be created equal — but they all have the potential to be super!

Author David Grotto is a FitStudio advisory board member, registered dietitian and the founder and president of Nutrition Housecall. He is the author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life and 101 Optimal Life Foods. He served as a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association for more than six years.

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