Eat to improve your health and prevent disease, not just to fill your stomach
Food not only feeds your body–it can help you:
- maintain muscle mass
- prevent prostate cancer
- lose weight
- have a healthy heart
- boost your immune system
- prevent bone loss
- prevent heart disease and cancer, the #1 and #2 killers for men over 35
But eating well isn’t the only thing that will keep you healthy. You need to have an overall healthy lifestyle, which means:
- not smoking
- getting consistent exercise
- seeing your doctor regularly
10 foods that can actually improve your health:
1. Oysters. Just a few oysters each day will give you a full day’s supply of the antioxidant mineral zinc. Zinc is involved in hundreds of body processes, from producing DNA to repairing cells to improved sexual functioning. It’s not wise to eat raw oysters. People with liver disease, heavy alcohol use, and chronic illnesses such as diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, and chronic renal failure are at increased risk of an infection called Vibrio vulnificus.
2. Bananas. Bananas are a great source of quick energy and are rich in potassium, which is needed to regulate nerves, heartbeat and blood pressure. Diets rich in potassium and magnesium (also found in bananas) can reduce the risk of stroke, strengthen your immune system, help form red blood cells, support your nervous system and help protein metabolism. Orange juice, milk, tomato products and beans are other good sources of potassium.
3. Fatty Fish. Omega-3 fatty acids (polyunsaturated fats) benefit your heart, circulation and immune system and reduce the risk of prostate cancer, among other things. They can help lower triglyceride (blood fat) levels, reduce aches and pains, and relieve certain kinds of arthritis. Fatty fish are also a good source of vitamin D which can help prevent cancer, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and bone disease. Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, herring) are the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids. You can also get omega-3s in plant-based foods like flaxseed, walnuts, soy, canola oil, and eggs.
4. Broccoli. Broccoli helps prevent heart disease and cancer. It's loaded with vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium, and a phytochemical called sulphoraphane, which may have anticancer (prostate and colon) properties. It may also help lower levels of homocycteine, an amino acid associated with increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Other healthy choices are cabbage, bok choy, shredded broccoli slaw, cabbage, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts.
5. Brazil nuts. These large nuts from Brazil are packed with magnesium and selenium, powerful antioxidants that may help prevent heart disease and cancer and protect prostate health. Selenium also helps lower LDL or "bad" cholesterol and reduces the risk of blood clots and heart disease.
6. Whole Grains. Most men get enough carbs in their diets, but they tend to be the wrong kind. A diet rich in whole grains provides fiber, vitamins and minerals for heart health, building muscles, and keeping your weight down. Oatmeal and barley are rich in soluble fiber, full of B vitamins that can help lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol, and are also good for the prostate. Other sources of soluble fiber are apples, pears, and beans. To avoid digestive problems, increase your fiber intake gradually, and don't forget to drink plenty of water.
7. Plant Stanols. Stanols are naturally occurring substances in fruits and vegetables that have been shown to lower elevated blood cholesterol levels. Stanols are added to a variety of products including orange juice, margarine, dark chocolate, granola bars, cheese, bread and soy products.
8. Soybeans. Soy is rich in isoflavones, which protect prostate health and have been shown to lower prostate cancer risk and decrease cholesterol, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Eat a few servings a day of soy products, such as soy nuts, soy milk, soy cheese, veggie burgers, tofu or edamame.
9. Berries and Cherries. Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries and cherries contain over 4,000 different compounds that have antioxidant properties so make sure you eat at least 5 servings of them a day. Adding berries to your diet may even help slow the decline in brain function that can occur with aging.
10. Red-Orange Vegetables. Vitamin C and beta-carotene are antioxidants that help preserve healthy skin cells and prevent oxidation from the sun. You can get these nutrients from red bell peppers, carrots, pumpkin or sweet potatoes. And dark, leafy greens and any nutrient-rich vegetable can help reduce the risk of enlarged prostates.
Hurley Health and Fitness Center (HHFC)
As well as eating a healthy diet, a big part of getting and staying healthy is getting regular exercise. The area’s only medically-based health and fitness facility, Hurley Health and Fitness Center offers advanced exercise technology, an experienced team of fitness professionals, and most importantly, access to specialists from Hurley’s full range of medical practices, including cardiology, orthopedics, and rehabilitation sciences.
To help you get fit and lose weight, over 60 group exercise classes a week are available, as well as one-on-one sessions with a personal trainer, one-on-one Nutrition Consults, and Corporate Wellness Lectures in the workplace. The Olympic-size pool is also an excellent way to tone and strengthen your body as well as lose weight.
For more information, call (810) 262-2200 or visit the Hurley Health and Fitness Center website.