Health Tips > Nutrition Bites > Men's Optimal Nutrition Through The Decades

Men's Optimal Nutrition Through The Decades

View All Section Pages

Man preparing vegetables for a meal

As you age, your nutritional needs can change. What your body needs in your 20s and 30s may not be as essential as in your 50s and 60s. Gender can also play an important role.

Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services team shares nutrition tips for men in all decades of life. These recommendations can help reduce the risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and cancer.

20s and 30s:

1. Prevent hypertension (high blood pressure). High blood pressure is often called the “silent killer” as many people don’t experience symptoms. High blood pressure can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. To reduce your risk for hypertension:

  • Eat more plant-based foods by filling half of your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables. 
  • Limit sodium intake to no more than 2,300 mg daily.
  • Reduce intake of “bad” saturated fats by choosing leaner meats and non-fat or low-fat dairy foods.

2. Up your fiber. Men in their 20s and 30s should consume approximately 38 grams of fiber each day. Foods high in fiber can help protect against high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. High-fiber foods also tend to contain cancer-fighting chemicals. Good fiber sources (2-3 g fiber/serving) include:

  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Oats
  • Black beans
  • Soy nuts
  • Chia seeds

3. Control alcohol. Cooper Clinic recommends men limit alcoholic beverages to no more than 10 servings per week. Serving sizes are:

  • 12 oz. light beer
  • 5 oz. wine
  • 1.5 oz. hard liquor

40s and 50s:

1. Assess your diabetes risk. If you are overweight, losing 5-7 percent of your body weight can decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Cooper Clinic recommends exercising 30 minutes a day (collective or sustained), five days a week or 150 minutes total throughout the week. Research shows this can be as effective as taking Metformin, a diabetes medication. 

2. Choose your protein wisely. Reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer by choosing leaner meats and plant-based proteins. Try swapping out processed meats (lunch meat, bacon and sausage) and red meat (beef, lamb and pork) for turkey, chicken or fish. 

60s and older:

1. Consume more plant-based protein. You lose lean muscle mass as you age, but dietary protein can prevent that from occurring. Consume your protein throughout the day for better absorption. On top of choosing lean animal-based protein, reach for the following plant-based options:

  • Beans/legumes
  • Hemp and chia seeds
  • Soy beans
  • Edamame
  • Quinoa
  • Nuts 
  • Peanut butter

2. Consider your calcium. Calcium is important for men and women alike. After age 70, men should consume 1,200 mg of calcium a day for optimal bone health. Abundant sources of calcium include:

  • Non-fat or low-fat dairy products
  • Fortified milk alternatives (soy and almond milk)
  • Cooked collard or turnip greens
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Tofu 
  • Chia seeds

At Cooper Clinic, prevention is key. Take charge of your lifestyle today to prevent and control chronic conditions so you can live a long and healthy life.

To schedule a one-on-one consultation or learn more about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit or call 972.560.2655.

Article provided by Elana Paddock, RDN, LD, CDE, and Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.