Where Do Men Fall Short Nutritionally?
According to studies by the United States Department of Agriculture, men age 30 to 50 should eat 350% more dark green vegetables every day and 150% more fruit per day in order to meet their nutritional needs. In fact, it is fairly common for even well-fed men to have some dietary deficiencies, though usually not severe enough to cause disease. Many men make up for this by taking dietary supplements.
Harvard Medical School conducted a health study of male doctors over 10 years to evaluate levels of vitamins C and E, beta carotene, and other vitamins. Though this study was inconclusive on the need for the average man to take vitamin and mineral supplements, it did conclude that beta carotene supplements can be beneficial to the brain if taken regularly for several years.
Another somewhat surprising finding is that many men do not get enough vitamin D and calcium. There has been so much emphasis on the importance of these for women of all ages that people sometimes forget that men need to get sufficient calcium and vitamin D as well. Osteoporosis is rarer in men than in women, but men can get the disease too. Men who avoid dairy products due to lactose intolerance or attempts to restrict calories could be missing out. Dietary supplements containing calcium can help.
Ensuring the Best Diet Comes First
Most doctors and nutritionists say that getting the recommended vitamins and minerals from foods is the healthiest option because getting the full benefit of these nutrients may depend on interactions between the various components that make up the foods. For example, strawberries are rich not only in vitamin C, but also in other micronutrients that help the vitamin C be absorbed and utilized better.
Because men tend to consume enough in the way of meat to ensure that they get enough iron, and because men do not have the problem of losing iron every month as women of childbearing age do, men usually consume more than adequate amounts of iron to ensure that they do not become anemic. Anemia in men is often caused by problems other than inadequate iron intake.
Supplementation is Sometimes Necessary
Men who have a difficult time having a balanced diet can improve their body’s functioning through dietary supplements, though they should not be thought of as a substitute for having a healthy diet. Men’s supplements should not contain iron, however, because most men get plenty. A daily multivitamin can be a good backstop program for the man who wants to eat well but knows that he sometimes falls short.