By Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen
Typically, men think about their health at one time -- during a crisis. But the problem with that wait-and-treat approach is that men are constantly responding to health emergencies rather than preventing them.
So what's the prescription for better men's health? Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen say there are 11 things a man should eat every day --or nearly every day --to keep things running smoothly.
1. Fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals that will keep your body healthy. Foods rich in magnesium like beets, raisins, dates and soybeans are especially important because they'll keep your bowels moving regularly. Dr. Roizen says a man should eat about five handfuls of fruits and vegetables a day.
2. A man should shoot to get about 25 grams of fiber in his diet every day. You can reach this goal through foods like artichokes, lima beans, soybeans, grapefruit, certain berries and whole grains.
Dr. Oz says that eating whole grains isn't just the latest craze -- they offer multiple benefits to health, including achieving proper poop. But first you need to read the label. When you're buying bread, make sure it says "100 percent whole grain" or "100 percent whole wheat." If the label says something else --like "7-grain" or "multigrain" -- it may not be whole grain.
One of Oprah's favorite whole grain choices is steel cut oatmeal for its crunchy texture. To reach your goal for fiber, the USDA recommends eating at least three servings of whole grains a day.
3. Dr. Oz says you can significantly reduce your chances of getting cancer by eating foods rich in folate -- you should get about 800 milligrams a day. If you don't take it as a supplement, you can find folate in orange juice, spinach and other leafy green vegetables.
"Folate decreases arterial aging, decreases blood pressure and decreases cancer rate," Dr. Roizen says. On labels, look for the words "folate" or "folic," he says.
4. As well as being good for the heart, tomatoes decrease risk of arterial aging, heart disease, stroke, memory loss, impotence and wrinkling of the skin, Dr. Roizen says. And tomato-based products contain lycopene, which has been shown to fight cancer.
But to really reap the benefits, you can't just put a few slices of an heirloom tomato in your salad. The best way to get the positive effects is by eating 10 tablespoons of tomato sauce a week. "It takes 165 raw tomatoes to equal 10 tablespoons of tomato sauce," Dr. Roizen says. "So it's much easier to have tomato sauce."
Dr. Roizen adds that it doesn't matter what kind of tomato sauce you have, "as long as it's cooked, and you eat it with a little olive oil and a little healthy fat because it's much better absorbed with it."
5. Dr. Roizen says walnuts and almonds are excellent for health. And not only are walnuts and hazelnuts excellent sources of heart-healthy omega-3s, but if you eat nuts before sugars (in dishes like pasta or corn on the cob), the fat in the nuts will slow your stomach and help your body most effectively process that sugar. One thing to remember is to keep nuts refrigerated so they don't oxidize.
6. If there's a true magic pill, Dr. Oz says it could be baby aspirin. "It's cheap and easy to take aspirin," he says. "Aspirin has many, many helping elements. It helps your skin, it helps about anything you can imagine. It has some potential risks if people have sensitive stomachs. But for cancer, you've got to be on it."
A man over 35 should take two baby aspirin --or 162.5 milligrams --every day. It can reduce his rise of arterial aging by 36 percent.
7. In recent years, there has been a lot of conflicting information about eating fish. On the one hand, fish is consistently regarded as a terrific source of low-fat protein. On the other hand, there are persistent concerns about mercury and other environmental impurities.
Dr. Roizen says you just have to remember a few great fish -- tilapia, salmon, flounder, cod and mahi-mahi --especially if they are wild caught. And not only is salmon a great source of protein, it has the added health bonus of being full of omega-3s, which are important for a healthy heart. According to Dr. Roizen, you should eat a serving of these fish three times a week.
8. Dr. Roizen says that it is important to drink eight glasses -- or about 64 ounces -- of fluid every day. "It helps move the poop and gives you better hydration. It actually cuts down on wrinkles, too, because you hydrate your skin when you take it internally."
9. "Red wine has a chemical in it called rezveritrol, which is a very strong antioxidant that's also been shown to be heart-healthy," Dr. Oz says.
Why red and not white? "Red wine has the material from the skins of the grapes [which provides the rezveritrol]. The white wine has that skin stripped away. So if you're going to drink wine and you're going to take the hit on calories, drink red wine."
10. Men will stand up and cheer for this next Dr. Oz tidbit --coffee is actually good for you in reasonable amounts.
Coffee actually has been shown to reduce liver cancer and to be effective with -- or with symptoms of -- Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, Dr. Oz says. "So there are a bunch of different places where coffee can play a role. The reason it got a bad name is because it does have side effects, for example, migraine headaches and heart palpitations. But if you're not having them, coffee is reasonable."
Did we mention, it's good for those bowel movements, too? Dr. Oz suggests 24 ounces of coffee a day is a rational amount for one person.
11. The calcium in milk is obviously good for bones -- any man with a mother has heard that one. But the other important ingredient is vitamin D, which is a cancer-fighting agent. While your body can actually get this vital nutrient from the sun, if you live north of Los Angeles or Atlanta, you won't get enough vitamin D in winter and you'll need to supplement it. A glass of milk or fortified orange juice a day should do the trick.