If you've spent your 20s and 30s neglecting your health, you might want to rethink that strategy when you hit age 40. Dr. Harry Lodge told "Woman's Day" that this is when men start to see a significant increase in weight gain, as well as diseases such such diabetes and high blood pressure. With a little bit of foresight and some smart choices, however, a 40-year-old man can make his diet a priority for better health for years to come.
When you were younger, a diet of hot dogs, pizza and beer might not have done much to your physique, but your metabolism decreases when you get older, according to the University of Texas. The spare tire that's inflating around your midsection might indicate metabolic syndrome, a group of factors that increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke, so you want to keep your waist size below 40 inches. Start by keeping your calorie consumption in check; according to "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010," a 40-year-old man should eat between 2,200 and 3,000 calories a day, depending on how active he is.
Nutritious Food Choices
It's time to make the switch to healthier food and skip the processed foods that are high in fat, calories and added sugar. "Men's Fitness" names turkey breast, quinoa, eggs, beef and salmon as some of the protein "super foods" that should be in every man's diet. Protein should make up 10 percent to 35 percent of your daily diet, while carbohydrates should make up 45 percent to 65 percent. Quinoa has a hefty dose of this macronutrient, too, while oatmeal and sweet potatoes are healthy choices, too. The remainder of your calories should come from healthy fat sources such as olive oil and nuts.
Nutrients You Need (and Don't Need)
Until age 45, men are more likely than women to have high blood pressure, says the American Heart Association. Decrease your risk by decreasing your sodium consumption while boosting your potassium levels -- bananas are one way to increase potassium consumption. Rather than use sodium in your cooking, try out flavorful spices and herbs such as chili powder, cumin, turmeric and basil. Registered dietitian Helen Rasmussen also tells Fox News Magazine that middle-aged people should increase their consumption of lutein, found in green leafy vegetables, egg yolks and fruits such as grapes and oranges, to decrease risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts later in life.
Alcohol in Moderation
Your 40s are a time of a stressful career and a busy family life, and a cocktail or two might seem like a good way to unwind. But Dr. Jahangir Rahman tells "Woman's Day" that men in their 40s should be careful because not only can alcohol make you more impatient and irritable, but heavy drinking can also lead to problems such as liver and heart disease -- not to mention the unnecessary calories it provides. Limit yourself to moderate drinking, which is defined as up to two drinks per day for a man. One drink means 12 ounces of a beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.
- University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center: Men: Health Tips for Your 40s
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010; Balancing Calories to Manage Weight
- Woman's Day: A Woman’s Guide to Men’s Health
- Fox News Magazine: What to Eat in Your 30s, 40s, 50s and Beyond
- American Heart Association: High Blood Pressure
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Frequently Asked Questions
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: What Is Metabolic Syndrome?
- Men's Fitness: 20 Essential Superfoods for Every Man's Diet