This post was sponsored by Planters.
Nicole Johnson speaks with Dave Grotto about the importance of male heart health.
In the United States, Ischaemic heart disease is the leading cause of death in men. According to the World Health Organization, Ischaemic heart disease is the leading cause of death for men around the world who live in middle income and high income countries. Given these staggering statistics, I’m confused as to why men are not more conscientious about their health. What will it take for men to start taking their health more seriously? Will the death of a friend or family member be a catalyst, or will a personal health scare be a wake-up call?
After learning about this data, I became concerned about my husband’s health. Rob is 44 years old and falls into a couple of risk categories. Aside from Rob’s health risks, he loves to eat; he also likes his libations and is not fond of exercising. Hence, I did what any loving, responsible wife would do. I went through my Rolodex and contacted Registered Dietician, Dave Grotto. Dave has been a Registered Dietician for 30 years and is the author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life. I wanted Dave to advise me on the best diet and nutrition information for men, and how men can live a heart-healthy lifestyle.
I felt a great sense of comfort (and hope) after speaking with Dave.
Ischaemic heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States. What can men do to prevent heart disease?
The intervention for heart disease is a four legged stool: proper diet, physical activity, routine medical care, and lifestyle factors. The important factors in the lifestyle category is proper amount of sleep, amount of stress, level of happiness, and the use of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.
If a man’s father died of heart disease, what is his genetic predisposition to develop heart disease?
That’s a great question. Yes, there is a genetic predisposition toward heart disease. It is based on how that gene is expressed; you can have the gene for heart disease but not have it be expressed in the body. If you maintain a heart-healthy diet, exercise daily, and maintain a healthy lifestyle, the gene can stay suppressed. Genetics play a role in heart disease, but not as important of a role as the modifiable risk factors I just mentioned.
The Food and Drug Administration has labeled certain nuts as heart-healthy. What type of nuts does this include?
Heart-healthy nuts include peanuts as well as the following: almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans, and walnuts. Planters brand has an outstanding variety to choose from.
Scientific evidence suggests that eating 1.5 ounces per day of heart-healthy nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol (and not resulting in an increased caloric intake) may reduce the risk of heart disease. Another benefit of nuts is that they do not contain cholesterol.
Why is nut fat considered to be “good fat”?
Nut fats are heart-healthy because they contain mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats have been linked to reducing LDL cholesterol. (High levels of LDL cholesterol damages coronary arteries.) Nuts also contain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, fiber, and antioxidants know as polyphenols. Polyphenols have been proven to reduce inflammation in arteries.
How does a man’s diet affect his sex life?
My favorite saying is if it’s good for the heart it’s good for every other part of the body. Therefore, it stands to reason that if the arties that feed the heart get blocked up, it’s conceivable that arties that feed other parts of the body can get blocked up too. Men need to understand that risk factors for heart disease are tied to risk factors for Erectile Dysfunction.
What advice would you give to men who love to eat but hate to diet and exercise?
I’m so glad you asked that question, because it describes me to a “T.”
A heart-healthy diet consists of foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol. But men don’t have to give up their favorite foods when changing their nutrition plan. It comes down to food choices and portion control. The adjustment can be as simple as changing the cut of meat and the size of that meat. The goal is to build a plate that is half fruits and vegetables, a quarter protein, and a quarter starch.
When it comes to physical activity, it can mean standing versus sitting, walking the dog, or going for a bike ride. Exercise doesn’t have to mean working out at the gym; do a physical activity that is achievable to your preference and time allotment.
What is the ideal meal plan for a man in one day?
The meal plan should follow the USDA My Plate model. Here’s an example for one day:
Breakfast: A bowl of oatmeal with fruit on top with one ounce of nuts mixed in. As a reminder, a morning cup of coffee or tea can reduce inflammation in arteries.
Lunch: A bowl of chili with lean meat (lean beef or turkey) corn chips and a piece of fruit.
Snack: One ounce of nuts and a piece of fruit. It’s important to note the benefits of nuts for a snack: not only are nuts heart-healthy, but they are proven to leave you satiated longer. This prevents cravings for additional calories.
Dinner: Protein of choice: a lean cut of meat, chicken, or fish (3 – 3.5 portion), a salad or favorite green vegetable, and a baked potato with skin (50% of the nutrition is in the skin).
* Keep in mind, the American Heart Association states that men should have no more than two alcoholic beverages per day. Red wine is a good choice because it is high in polyphenols.
Men often complain that women push them to go to the doctor’s. How often should men be visiting a doctor for routine care?
Women are typically more proactive about their health versus men. With that said, a man tends to take the lead for doctor’s visits from his significant other. A man should visit his doctor once a year or whatever prevention schedule his doctor decides upon.
It’s important to note that men like being good providers; we can’t do that if we don’t feel well.