When it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, men of all ages often find themselves torn between eating nutritious food and wanting to indulge in less healthy snacks, beverages, and tasty food at summer barbeques. While men may do a good job at eating enough calories, their diets often lack essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and fatty acids commonly found in fruits, vegetables, and whole foods.
For men who may not be ready to make sudden dietary changes, incorporating supplements can serve as a good first step toward helping support their diet. By doing so, men can stay healthy and work on improving their eating habits. Let’s take a look at three common nutrient gaps that if taken, can make helpful improvements to men’s well-being: fiber, omega-3 fats, and magnesium.
Eating enough dietary fiber can help improve digestive health and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, certain digestive disorders, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. However, studies reveal that only around 5 percent of men meet the recommendation of 30 to 40 grams of fiber per day. Thankfully, fiber supplements are available in tablets, capsules, or powdered forms, which can help men increase their daily fiber. To learn more about fiber, visit the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Library of Medicine.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men in the United States and claims the lives of nearly one in four males. To promote heart health, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that adults consume two servings of cold-water fatty fish per week – like salmon and tuna - as these fish are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which include eicosatetraenoic (eye-koh-sah-tet-ray-noh-ik) acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (doh-koh-sah-hek-say-noh-ik) acid (DHA). Two servings per week provide approximately 500 mg of EPA and DHA. For men with existing heart disease, the AHA advises taking 1,000 mg of combined EPA and DHA. Fish oil supplements include omega-3 fatty acids and can help men include this important nutrient in their diet. For vegetarians, flax seed oil can be a good alternative source of omega-3s. To learn more about omega-3 fatty acids, check out this online resource from the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements.
Magnesium plays a valuable role in the body, including forming protein and bones, and regulating blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and muscle and nerve function. Studies show that individuals who exercise on a regular basis require even higher levels of magnesium. Men should aim for a daily intake of 400 to 420 mg of magnesium, but the reality is that many men do not get enough magnesium solely from dietary sources. The good news is there are magnesium supplements available that can help men add it to their diets. Visit the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements to learn more.
Before starting a new daily dietary supplement routine, men should talk with their doctor or pharmacist to learn more about which supplements are the safest and most effective options for them. Adding appropriate dietary supplements can be a practical and effective way to ensure there are enough nutrients in their diet. Remember, prioritizing one’s health is an ongoing journey, so making informed choices today can lead to a healthier tomorrow.