For most of us, our dads are our heroes. They’re the ones we go to for advice, for a shoulder to lean on, or whenever we just need the world to feel a little more safe and secure. Dad’s are the best, and with Father’s Day around the corner, we thought it was a great opportunity to talk about men’s health and in particular, nutrition.
Men tend to be blessed with fast metabolisms, especially in their 20s and 30s. Whether they’re working in physically active jobs, or playing sports on the weekends, or maybe even just a desk dweller who hits the gym once in awhile, most men don’t have to think too much about what they’re eating day to day.
However, despite what that testosterone might tell them, men are not immortal. As they get older, most men find that their bodies become less tolerant of bad food choices, and they need to make more informed decisions on nutrition to better keep their body healthy and mind sharp for the many years to come.
Here are some of the key nutrients older men need to be getting:
Calcium and Vitamin D
For: strong and healthy bones
Older adults need three servings of calcium and vitamin D every day. Calcium can be found in many foods, some of the best sources include dairy (milk, cheese and yoghurt), fortified cereals and fruit juices, dark green leafy vegetables and canned fish with soft bones. Vitamin D comes from the sun and is one nutrient many of us struggle to get enough of, especially during winter. We recommend talking to a health professional about the different ways you can increase your Vitamin D, or kill two birds with one stone and opt for a combined calcium and Vitamin D supplement.
For: digestive and heart health
We know you’re probably sick of hearing us harping on about fibre, but it really is nutritional gold! Not only does it help keep your digestive tract healthy, it keeps you feeling fuller for longer which is great for healthy weight management. It’s recommended that men older than 50 get 30g of fibre in their diet each day, so make sure Dad’s eating plenty of wholegrains, fruits, vegetables and chia (of course!). Chia is the highest combined plant source of fibre, protein and omega-3, so it’s an easy way to make sure Dad’s getting a solid hit of nutrition. Handy hint: get Dad onto this delicious and fibre-packed Tuscan White Bean, Kale and Chia bowl.
For: lowering blood pressure
Potassium helps to prevent high blood pressure by balancing the negative effects of high-sodium diets and supporting kidney function. But, put the supplements down – there is such a thing of too much potassium so instead, simply add more potassium-rich foods into your daily diet, like avocados, spinach, sweet potatoes and coconut water.
For: energy, brain and heart health
Healthy fats are a crucial part of everyone’s diet, and have a particularly important role in providing energy, and keeping our brains and hearts healthy. Unsaturated fat is generally considered the healthiest, so encourage Dad to fill his plate with avocados, nuts, oily fish and olive oil. For healthy older men, it’s recommended that saturated fat (the kind that comes from meat and dairy) be limited to 10 percent of their total fat calories, while those who do have high cholesterol or heart disease should try and keep it even lower.