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Weekly Diet News Digest

 
by John McGran, Columnist

 
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About 1.6 million Americans undergo heart bypass surgery, angioplasty or stent procedures annually. The good news: With medications and lifestyle changes, the vast majority of patients with heart disease can reduce the risk of a future heart attack by up to 80% - without undergoing expensive and risky procedures.

So says Dr. Michael D. Ozner, MD, FACC, FAHA, recipient of the 2008 American Heart Association Humanitarian Award. Dr. Ozner, who has been recognized by the Consumer Council of America as one of the top physicians in America, wants us to eat better and live longer.

"I always urge my patients to follow a Mediterranean-style diet," Dr. Ozner says. "Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes… olive oil instead of butter or margarine… several servings of fish weekly… and no more than a few weekly servings of lean meats.

"The landmark Lyon Diet Heart Study, which followed more than 600 participants for almost four years, showed that people who ate a Mediterranean diet instead of a typical American diet had a 50% to 70% reduction in recurrent cardiovascular disease."

In this Diet.com exclusive, Dr. Ozner pinpoints the foods that men should be eating in their 30s, 40s and 50s to avoid heart and other medical issues.

1) What ingredients/foods should men be eating in their 30s to meet changing nutritional needs?

Men in their 30s generally burn more calories and have more rigorous lifestyles (such as sports and weight training) than their older counterparts. The 30s are also the multi-tasking years -- when men are starting careers and families, buying and fixing up their first house, socializing hard and working hard.

Bottom line: They may need high quality protein, fat and carbohydrates. Choose lean protein such as skinless chicken or turkey breast, shellfish, or seafood. Enjoy a whey protein smoothie for a snack or desert. Limit red meat and fatty meat, as these can make diseases like heart disease more likely as you age. Select healthy carbohydrates such as brown rice, oats, barley, and whole-grain pastas as they are healthy and satisfying.

These are building-block years for the body, so lots of different-colored fruits and vegetables will ensure that you are keeping your tissues and cells in good working order, to avoid disease-causing and age-accelerating inflammation and oxidation. Oranges, for vitamin C; tomatoes for lycopene; carrots for beta-carotene; blueberries for anthocyanins; spinach for lutein and zeaxanthin; purple grapes for resveratrol.

2) What ingredients/foods should men be eating in their 40s to meet changing nutritional needs?

Like the 30s, this is a time of high energy -- mental as well as physical. Men of this age, however, may start to notice a decrease in flexibility, energy, and function. Make sure your fiber intake is adequate during your 40s.

The best way to keep your detoxification organs humming is to avoid toxic foods (such as chemical-laden junk foods and processed foods) and increase your consumption of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, such as apples, raw salad veggies, and beans.

It's important also to get plenty of omega-3 during your midlife years, as this will have a protective effect on your heart, among other organs. The best sources are fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, shad, flounder, trout, and pollock.

Two recent Harvard studies found that men who consumed the most alpha-linolenic acid (the vegetable source of omega-3), in the form of canola oil and flaxseed oil, were 3.4 times more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. So get your omega-3 mainly from cold water fatty fish.

3) What ingredients/foods should men be eating in their 50s to meet changing nutritional needs?

Men of this age can benefit from daily doses of berries, as they are high in fiber and important vitamins that are very heart-protective and good for reducing cholesterol. Blueberries are also good for memory function so keep a supply of these frozen berries on hand to enjoy year round.

Also, a glass of red wine with dinner is beneficial to the heart. Green tea is also good for men in their 50s, as they provide healthy antioxidants that serve to neutralize dangerous free radicals.

Non-food ways to live healthier include:

--Relax with yoga, meditation, exercise, etc.

--Exercise daily for 30 to 45 minutes.

--Get your cholesterol checked â€" and take cholesterol-lowering medication if necessary.

--Take a baby aspirin daily.

--See your dentist twice a year.

--Get more omega-3s.


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@ 7:49pm ET on February 18, 2009
I would love to know if there is a book like this for Women. They are probably similar but I can imagine there are things women's bodies need that men don't especially with menopause.

Interesting read.
Leslie


@ 7:50am ET on November 7, 2009
Wow, my girlfriend would find that list so offensive, and she’s incredibly… Girly. I don’t think the list really represents what women should be… Nor what men should be… The list more or less represents someones idea of what they think women should be in their world. It’s not like that, haha.

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