When push comes to shove, many men eat what they fancy or what’s on offer in the supermarket or work canteen.
And in this day and age it’s usually stodgy, beige and a slow but steady route to heart disease.
But there a few simple tricks that can make a massive difference to your diet – and overall heath.
Here, Rob Hobson, head of nutrition at Healthspan and author of The Detox Kitchen Bible, reveals what every man needs in his diet…
HEALTH BENEFITS: HEART, ERECTILE FUNCTION, FERTILITY, MOOD/DEPRESSION
Oily fish such as fresh salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel, trout, sardines and canned salmon all contain omega-3 fatty acids.
These fatty acids must be obtained from the diet, which is why they are referred to as being essential.
Intake in the UK is well below the recommended intake of one serving per week, with many men not eating any oily fish at all.
Omega-3 fats are most commonly associated with reducing the risk of heart disease.
This is because they increase levels of good (HDL) cholesterol and produce compounds known as prostaglandins that help to reduce inflammation in the body.
Long-term inflammation can damage healthy cells and weaken the immune system and this is thought to be a contributory factor for many diseases including those of the heart and also cancer.
Heart disease is the leading cause of premature death in the UK affecting more men than women.
And one of the earliest warning signs of heart disease is erectile dysfunction – because the body needs a good blood supply for an erection.
That’s because the penile arteries are smaller than coronary ones, so become furred up faster.
According to the Sexual Advice Association, a man in his 40s with erectile dysfunction has a 50-fold greater risk of having a heart attack over the next ten years.
So one great reason to look after the health of your heart!
Even if you are able to rise to the occasion, low intake of omega-3 fatty acids may impact on fertility.
This is because as semen is rich in compounds called prostaglandins.
Studies have shown that men with a low sperm count, poor sperm motility (movement) or abnormal sperm may have low levels of them.
TIP: Try eating one or two servings of oily fish each week either as grilled fillets or even dips such as smoked mackerel pate.
Some research suggests omega-3 and vitamin D may help relieve the symptoms of depression.
However this is more likely from a supplement than oily fish as the concentration of essential fatty acids is much higher, so it could be worth taking a good quality omega-3 and Vitamin D3 supplement – especially vitamin D during the winter months.
While you can get a little vitamin D from foods such as oily fish, eggs and fortified foods I recommend taking Healthspan vitamin D3 (£11.95 for 240 tablets) during the winter months to keep you levels topped up.