Fri | Jun 18, 2021

Eating like a man

Published:Wednesday | June 6, 2012 | 12:00 AM

The components of a man's diet may determine his ability to father a child. Men who make unhealthy food choices are either too fat or too slim, drink alcoholic beverages, smoke or use illegal drugs and are at risk of having poor nutritional status and may have difficulty fathering a child.

Good nutrition is important for males at all ages and stages for growth, sexual maturation or fertility, development of muscles, for strong bones as well as for the prevention of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and certain types of cancer.

Men, like women, need to eat a variety of foods from the six Caribbean food groups in moderate amounts based on their height, weight, age, activity level and disease state. Men need energy from carbohydrate-rich foods and fat. Carbohydrate-rich foods, preferably, unrefined types, include yams, potatoes, rice, wheat flour and old fashioned oats. These foods also provide fibre to prevent and treat constipation, lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar, lower blood cholesterol levels and aid in the feeling of fullness, decreasing hunger and promoting weight loss.

Unsaturated fat

Fat, a secondary source of energy is recommended in limited amounts in the healthy form, that is, unsaturated or from plant sources such as nuts, corn, olive or soybean oils, avocado and ackee. Fat in the form of cholesterol is necessary for the making of hormones such as testosterone.

Protein is essential for making enzymes for digestion and absorption, making of hormones, tissue repair, in the low-fat or lean form. Men by nature are more muscular than women, but there's no need for doubling the amount of meat in a man's diet as the excess protein is stored as fat, increases the excretion of calcium from bones, thus increasing the risk of osteoporosis and increases the workload of the kidneys to excrete the extra protein.

Eat more vitamins

Vitamins are important in a man's diet to aid in the utilisation of carbohydrates, fat and protein by the cells. Vitamins are abundant in fruits, vegetables, peas, beans, milk, chicken, fish and unrefined foods. Minerals such as iron, calcium, sodium and potassium are also important components of a man's diet.

Iron is necessary to transport oxygen in the blood and calcium is needed for strong bones. Sodium is needed for the muscles to contract. Black men are at high risk of developing high blood pressure and therefore it's recommended that no more than one teaspoon of salt be used daily.

Potassium is also necessary for muscle contraction and regulation of the heart beat. Good sources of potassium include peas, beans, ackee, avocado, fruits and vegetables. Potassium also helps to regulate blood pressure. Water, a major component of the body is needed to maintain the correct amount of blood in the body and regulate body temperature.

Marsha N. Woolery is a registered dietitian/nutritionist in private practice and adjunct lecturer at Northern Caribbean University; email: yourhealth@gleanerjm.com.