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Posted June 21, 2010 | comments Leave a comment

Men's nutritional health: strong hearts, strong bodies

The leading cause of death for men might come as a surprise - it has nothing to do with his favorite activities or workplace dangers. It has to do with his heart. Heart disease is the largest killer for men than any other disease. Heart disease is caused by living an unhealthy lifestyle by smoking, being overweight/obese, being inactive and eating foods that are high in fat and cholesterol.

Here are some unhealthy cholesterol guidelines for men:

  • High LDL cholesterol (BAD kind) (greater than100 mg/dL)

  • High triglycerides (greater than 150 mg/dL)

  • Low HDL cholesterol (GOOD kind) (less than 60 mg/dL)

Source: http://www.eatright.org

Men want to aim for their good cholesterol (HDL) to be more than 60 mg/dl to help keep their other bad levels down. This can be accomplished by eating less saturated and trans fat, cholesterol foods like red meats, fried foods, butter, bacon and hydrogenated oils, while eating more fruits and vegetables, poultry, fish and whole grains.

What about your waistline? Take a look in the mirror, if your body type is like the shape of an apple, then more of your body fat is stored around your mid-section (which is where your major organs are located) and your risk for heart disease is greater. Your waistline should also be less than 40 inches around.

Is weight loss safe on the heart? If your waist is larger than 40 inches, you have a high level of bad LDL cholesterol and you have or are at risk for type 2 diabetes, heart attack or stroke. Bringing your body weight down can be beneficial on the heart. However, fluctuating weight and losing a large amount of weight fast can be dangerous for the heart. Try eating 500 calories less than you typically do to slowly and safely lose weight. This can be done by not having dessert after meals, drinking diet instead of regular beverages and eating smaller portions.

Getting 30 - 60 minutes of exercise every day will also help keep your heart strong. The good news is that it does not all have to be done at one time unless your schedule permits. You can break this exercise up into 10 or 15 minute segments throughout the day.

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