When it comes to deciding on the best diet, counting calories and carbs is only one angle. If you’re a man, your body may need different things from your diet than if you’re a woman. Aligning your nutritional needs can help you achieve peak health and fitness.
What men need nutritionally
Men typically need more calories than women do, because their bodies are typically larger, and they burn calories faster at rest and when active than women do. This is due to higher levels of testosterone, which results in more muscle and less fat. Muscle burns calories more slowly than fat does.
Men tend to eat more protein than women do, which can help control weight gain. However, too much protein can increase chances of kidney stones. Most men need to increase their intake of fiber, which can help reduce the risk of dying from colon cancer by as much as 20%.
Eating healthy fats can benefit men as well. Fish oils have been correlated with better prostate health in men, thanks to their beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids. Selenium, found in some nuts and whole grains as well as in garlic, mushrooms, and eggs, to name a few foods, has also been linked to lower incidence of prostate cancer.
What women need nutritionally
Women may need fewer calories than a man at the same age and activity level, because she is statistically more likely to be smaller, and her body doesn’t burn calories as efficiently as a man’s due to lower testosterone and levels and muscle mass.
Women need protein from multiple sources, and specifically need red meat that is high in iron during and after the menstrual cycle. However, too much protein in women’s diets can cause loss of calcium. Women need extra calcium in their diets to help minimize bone loss and prevent osteoporosis.
Women tend to store more fat on their bodies, so it’s important to focus on healthy fat consumption. Vegetable-based omega-3, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Olive oil has ALA, and canola oil has almost twice as much as olive oil. Folic acid is also important for women, especially women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
Adapting your diet to account for everything that makes your physiology unique, from your age to your gender to your activity levels, can help you achieve your target weight and fitness levels, and stay healthy long term.
Dr. Tela can help you develop your nutritional and wellness plan to keep you feeling and looking great. Call our office at 301-200-1305, schedule an appointment online, or request a telehealth appointment today.