Quick Facts for Men: Keep Yourself Tuned Up with Good Nutrition (FN1428, Revised Aug. 2016)

Your body and your vehicle have one very important thing in common: They both need to be maintained. This publication will show you the best way to keep your body running smoothly.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist

Lucy Chermak, Former Dietetic Intern

Availability: Web only

 Working on engine

Tune Up: Do You Know Your Numbers?

Just as a car needs a regular tuneup, your body requires the same attention. A routine doctor’s appointment can help maintain performance and extend your life. Can you fill in the blanks with your numbers?

Blood pressure: A blood pressure reading consists of two numbers. The top number (systolic) represents the heart’s contracting pressure while the bottom number (diastolic) represents the heart’s relaxing pressure.

Systolic:  Less than 120 is optimal

Diastolic:  Less than 80 is optimal

Cholesterol: The four important numbers to know are total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

Total cholesterol:  Less than 200mg/dL is desirable

HDL (good cholesterol): 60 mg/dL or higher gives some protection to the heart

LDL (bad cholesterol):  Less than 100 mg/dL is optimal

Triglycerides: Less than 150 mg/dL is normal

Check with your health-care provider for more information.

Your body and your vehicle have one very important thing in common: They both need to be maintained. What’s the best way to keep your body running smoothly? Fill it with premium fuel, such as whole grains, lean protein, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are essential in the diet for many reasons. They provide vitamins, minerals and fiber, which can protect you from chronic diseases, such as heart disease and certain cancers.

Many people don’t eat, or even know, the amount of fruits and vegetables they need to eat daily.

Fruit and Vegetables

Heart Disease

The engine is the heart of your car. Because an engine has many parts, many things can go wrong.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women in the United States. Heart disease occurs in many forms, but the most common is coronary heart disease, which can lead to heart attack and other serious conditions.

Risk factors for heart disease include:

high cholesterol
high blood pressure
physical inactivity

The best prevention is to stop smoking, control cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and maintain a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

High Cholesterol

Excess cholesterol in your body is much like a clogged fuel filter. The fuel filter sends clean fuel into the engine to keep it running. If it were to get clogged, much like how cholesterol can build up in an artery, this would cause restriction in fuel flow.

Cholesterol is necessary in the diet, although consuming too much of it can be dangerous. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that can build up in the arteries. When buildup occurs, pumping blood throughout the body becomes difficult, causing strain on the heart.

Obesity, poor diet, smoking, lack of exercise, high blood pressure, diabetes and family history are all risk factors. Having high cholesterol increases your risk of developing heart disease.

The best ways to prevent high cholesterol are:

  • Limit saturated fat and trans fat intake. Read Nutrition Facts labels to learn about your choices.
  • Increase fiber by consuming more fruits, vegetables, beans (such as pinto, navy, kidney) and other plant foods.
  • Eat lean meats and healthy vegetable oils.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure: In cars, fuel pumps use pressure to pull or push fuel into the carburetor through the fuel line. In us, blood is pumped from our heart through blood vessels. If the fuel line is constricted, your fuel pump won’t be able to keep your body moving. Clogged arteries constrict blood flow, leading to the buildup of pressure on the vessel wall.

High blood pressure increases your risk of stroke, heart failure, heart attack and kidney failure. Some risk factors, such as race, heredity and age, can’t be controlled. Other risk factors include stress, lack of physical activity, eating too much salt, drinking too much alcohol and obesity.

One in three adults has high blood pressure, but because there are no symptoms, many don’t even know it.

Know your blood pressure. If your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher, you should talk with your health-care provider about the steps needed to safely lower your numbers. Eating less saturated fat, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol consumption and adding foods high in potassium to your diet may help manage your blood pressure.

Fruits and vegetables are low in sodium, and many contain the potassium needed to maintain your blood pressure. When you’re grocery shopping, be sure to pick fruits and vegetables such as these:

Lists of fruits and veggies


Colorectal Cancer

In cars, the exhaust system guides exhaust fumes away from the engine. Our exhaust system works much the same way, but sometimes it can get “rusty.” Colon cancer begins with the growth of small polyps in the colon or rectum. If detected early, these polyps can be removed to prevent the development of cancer.

The best ways to protect yourself against colorectal cancer are:

  • Stop smoking: Smoking increases your chance of colorectal cancers as well as lung and other types of cancers.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Overweight or obesity are linked to a greater risk for colorectal cancer.
  • Limit alcohol intake: Colorectal cancer risk increases when alcohol intake is greater than two drinks daily.
  • Exercise: Health experts recommend 30 to 45 minutes of moderate activity at least five days a week.
  • Regular screening: After the age of 50, men and women should undergo a colonoscopy.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in North Dakota and the third leading cause of cancer death nationwide.

Health Mntc Goal

For more information, visit these Web sites:

NDSU Extension Service Food and Nutrition

Produce for Better health Foundation

American Heart Association

Revised August 2016

Filed under: food, human-health
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