Men have been increasingly worrying about their health and well-being year after year. With the stressful, fast-paced lives we live today, there is less time to eat properly, rest properly or exercise, and ironically, there is more pressure than ever for them to look good and be fit. Stress itself is an important risk factor for many diseases.

Men have a higher protein intake need than women; it is generally believed that their protein requirements should be higher, but this really depends on the individual’s frame, activity level and dietary goals. It is very easy to consume the recommended amount of protein each day, so unless you are exercising heavily and keeping a balanced diet, there is no need to supplement.

In fact there are higher risk factors of heart disease when consuming large amounts of red meat, so you need to alternate the type of animal protein you eat and control portion size. It is equally important to always eat lean meats to reduce the animal fat ingested.

Fruits and salads have long stopped being women’s foods. The reality is that men eat more, and adding fiber to the diet is key to proper digestion and to maintain the balance of nutrients in the body for it to function properly.

Exercise is crucial. When young, the male body is very grateful, but after your 30s it is not as easy to keep the mid-section from growing and the metabolism as high as in your 20s. Portions need to be reduced and movement needs to be increased. Without such adjustments, obesity is lurking in your future, which can lead to various diseases and health problems including diabetes, heart problems, and high cholesterol and triglycerides, among others.

Exercising also helps reduce stress, so make the time to do it, even if it is half an hour a day or an hour three times a week. Stress causes anxiety. Anxiety makes you eat more. And before long, it turns into that vicious cycle that you need to avoid. It can be difficult to take the time to exercise when you work long hours, but you will be compensated with increased energy levels and a sense of well-being that will positively affect your days.

One thing that businessmen forget is to set aside time to eat a good meal. Many men eat on the go or in front of your computers. As important as the food you are eating is the way you eat it: take a short break to focus on your food—it will make you more conscious about what their eat—and avoid the drive-thrus when possible. Those 10 minutes you save every day will cost you in the future.

Alcohol and cigarettes are very popular among executives, especially among those with stressful jobs. A social drink may do no harm, but keep in mind that alcohol has a lot of calories, some cocktails even more than a full meal, so limit its consumption. Consider that smoking will not allow you to make progress with your physical activities, not to mention the risks of lung diseases that it may cause and that we are all aware of.

Have a good day’s rest. It is the only way you will be able to keep up with everything you need to do because it will keep you focused and energized. We all need different amounts of sleep to feel rested. Find out which is yours and respect it.

Balance your plate, your day and your activities. Make room for healthier foods and healthier habits that can fit into your lifestyle. It is not about dramatic changes, but about taking small steps to have a longer life.

Carolina Martinez

Certified Health Coach, Institute for Integrative Nutrition

cmartinez@healthyvalleyonline.com