Healthy Choices for Dad on Father’s Day

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We all want to make dad a delicious dinner for “his” day and often rich foods come to mind: bacon and eggs for breakfast, spare ribs or his favorite Reuben with homemade fries for dinner. Well, I have some great ideas of ways you can “treat” dad and not worry about giving him a heart attack in the process.

For his breakfast

Swap out the bacon for Canadian ham; it has way less fat than bacon and packs in 11 grams of protein. It’s berry season and few foods are as delicious as berry pancakes. Look for a whole grain pancake mix and sneak in a couple tablespoons of ground flaxseed for extra fiber and healthy omega-3 fats. Use coconut oil on the griddle instead of butter and reap the benefits that the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil boast, resulting in a perk to dad’s metabolism.

For his lunch

So maybe dad really wants a Reuben; no problem! You can make him a healthy rendition. The Thousand Island dressing in a Reuben is much of an assault on your health as the corned beef. And don’t think a fat-free Thousand Island dressing is your answer. Do you know how many chemicals are in that? Instead, look for a yogurt-based Thousand Island dressing.  Find a low-sodium turkey and use Alpine Lace Swiss, which is low in fat, for the cheese. And the remaining three ingredients are sauerkraut, mustard and rye bread. Try to find a hearty rye from a bakery for more fiber. And be generous with the sauerkraut; it is fermented and will boost those healthy bacteria in dad’s gut!

For his dinner

Guess what? Dad can still have steak for dinner, just look for a leaner cut! The Mayo Clinic has a great diagram, which shows the leanest cuts of beef, such as sirloin or flank steak. Steam up some asparagus on the side with a sprinkling of sea salt and a teaspoon of lemon juice for a delicious veggie side.

We hope your dad has a happy and healthy father’s day. Keep in mind that most days, a mostly plant-based diet is the best route to optimal health, but on days like Father’s Day, give the man what he wants, with healthy substitutions.

 

Top-Five Nutrition Tips for Men’s Hearts

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As part of Men’s Health Month, I’ll be writing several blogs related to men’s health. Earlier this week, I wrote about prostate health. This entry gets to the heart of the matter when it comes to men’s health; after all, heart-disease is the top killer of men! Men, of all ages, please take your heart health seriously. Here are five easy nutrition tips to apply to protect your precious, beating heart.

Tip #1: Say Goodbye to Fast Food, MOST of the time!

According to a recent Gallop Poll, men ages 18-49 eat fast food at least weekly; try to cut that down guys! Fast food is high in salt and both hydrogenated and saturated fat, all of which are bad news when it comes to heart health. If you must eat out, opt for a sandwich shop where you can get a lean meat such as turkey.

Tip #2: Fill up on Fruits and Veggies

Potassium is super protective for your heart; two cups of fruit and two and a half cup of veggies today will assure you are getting a powerful amount of potassium to keep your heart healthy. The best picks are tomatoes, leafy greens, potatoes, bananas and squash.

Tip #3: Once again, Load up on Omega-3s instead of Fatty Meats

Sorry guys, but you really should exchange your steak for fish!

Fish is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association (AHA) states, “Omega-3 fatty acids benefit the heart of healthy people, and those at high risk of — or who have — cardiovascular disease. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids decrease risk of arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats), which can lead to sudden death.  Omega-3 fatty acids also decrease triglyceride levels, slow growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque, and lower blood pressure.” The AHA recommends at least two servings of fish a week. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines and albacore tuna are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Tip #4: Choose Red Wine over Beer

Red wine contains heart-protecting flavonoids. If you’d like an alcoholic beverage, red wine is the best choice for your heart!

Tip #5: Address Stress  

This isn’t necessarily nutrition advice, but it’s sound life advice. Managing stress is imperative when it comes to heart health. Studies show that chronic stress, especially the kind that creates feelings of fear or anger, is a risk factor for heart disease. Explore stress-reducing techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, relaxation exercises, meditation, and massage.

Guys, a healthy life requires a healthy heart. Apply these tips and eat your way to a healthy heart!

Guys, Please Protect your Prostate!

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Because June is Men’s Health Month, I have decided to dedicate some blogs to men’s health concerns. Today’s entry is about nutritional approaches men can take to protect their prostate. The prostate is about the size of a walnut; it is a gland that is part of the male reproductive system. As a man ages, it is very important for him to protect his prostate and be sure that it doesn’t enlarge; if it enlarges, the risk of prostate cancer increases exponentially. The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be over 180,000 cases of prostate cancer diagnosed this year; prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in men in the United States.

While it is the season of delicious, yet meat-heavy barbecues, men must make sure to consume some health-boosting (mostly) plant-based foods to protect their prostate. Here are some suggestions guys:

  • Love your Lycopene

Lycopene is a carotenoid found in red fruits and veggies, most notably tomatoes. Studies have found that lycopene can lower your risk of developing prostate cancer. Not a lover of fresh tomatoes? Tomato sauce has just as much lycopene!

  • Get Zany over Zinc

Several studies have found that men with enlarges prostates or prostate cancer have low levels of zinc in their blood; therefore, research indicates that zinc has a protective effect. Men, increase your zinc with these excellent options: sesame seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds, or adzuki beans.

  • Achieve Victory with Vitamin C from Veggies

Research is finding that vitamin-C has a protective role against an enlarged prostate; interestingly, it is only vitamin-C from veggies (not fruit) that has this protective effect. Reach for bell peppers, which have more vitamin C than any other veggie. If bell peppers aren’t your thing guys, consider broccoli, kale, or Brussels sprouts.

  • OMG is Omega-3 Amazing

Although experts tend to recommend reducing meat consumption for prostate health, fish is the exception to the rule. A recent study showed that omega-3s can prevent prostate cancer tumor growth due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Great fish choices with high omega-3s include: wild-caught salmon, freshwater trout, anchovies, and sardines.

  • Boost your Health with Beta-Sitoserol

 Beta-what? Beta-sitosrol is a plant sterol found in avocados, pumpkin seeds, and pecans; this plant sterol has been found to reduce the risk of an enlarged prostate. What a great excuse for guacamole!

While most men I know don’t deliberately make food choices to protect their prostate, I ask that you do because a healthy prostate is very important, especially as you age and your risk of prostate cancer increases.