By Dietitian Anthony Glanville
“Pass me the man salad”. The words dropped out of his mouth as my friend pointed towards the bowl of thick cut potato chips. I was blown away by his attitude, but it turns out my friend was very representative of his gender. Men have a very different attitude towards eating versus women, and as such puts them at risk of many health issues.
Various studies have shown that when compared to women, men have; poorer attitudes towards food, seek less nutrition advice/counselling, eat less fruits and vegetables, eat less whole grain products, and also consume more red meat, sausages, eggs, high sugar foods, and alcohol. These differences in attitudes and behaviours really hit home when evidence shows men, compared to women, have higher rates of cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, diabetes, obesity, and depression. That combined with the rates of prostate cancer and low testosterone in the male population, and that men are much less likely to speak with a health professional (reducing rates of early intervention) mean we have got a big issue on our hands.
Good nutrition is the foundation of reducing your risk of these diseases. It creates a framework for your body to act appropriately, fight disease, and increase muscle mass. That’s right, just by eating wholegrains and veggies your body will be in a better position to increase its muscle mass. Nutrients that are good for the heart improve circulation to all parts of the body, and these same nutrients provide a layer of protection against cancer and other chronic diseases.
So what are the first steps towards improving your health? Firstly, make sure your waist circumference is appropriate. Go get a tape measure, if it’s less than 94cm, were doing well. If it’s more than 94cm you have an increased risk of various metabolic diseases and it’s likely time to make some changes. Focus on increasing your vegetable intake, make half your plate vegetables from lunch and dinner. Switch to wholemeal/wholegrain types of carbohydrates. Look at your alcohol intake and think about reducing it. These are the first steps towards a well-rounded, modern male attitude, by being responsible for your health and wellbeing. Now pass me the man salad, the one with all the veges.