Men’s health is quite often sidelined. We assume that they are tough and resilient, the stronger sex, and in some ways they are. But like women, with their unique makeup, they face health trials and worries.
Sadly suicide remains as the most common cause of death in men between the ages of 20-49 in the UK. A horrifying statistic clearly indicating a need for men to be both seen and heard.
Maintaining physical and mental well-being will go some way to hopefully reducing these statistics.
As with the female sex, nutrition, sleep, exercise, emotions and surrounding environment have a huge impact on emotional and physical health.
It is apparent that taking responsibility for one’s own health is paramount. With the discovery of epigenetics we know we can influence our genes on a daily basis by everything we do, for better or worse.
A few simple tweaks and the adoption of healthier habits can make all the difference, to life and longevity.
SIX WAYS TO LIVE BETTER
- Sleep – it just might be the first pillar of health. It is clear that broken sleep leads to a decline in physical and mental health. Coping mechanisms reduce, whilst cognitive function declines. Sleeplessness in men is associated with erectile dysfunction, sleep apnea, coronary heart disease, lower urinary tract symptoms, male infertility, depression and low testosterone. Studies show that men with sleep disorders are more prone to prostate cancer. Having less than 6 hours a night in middle age is also linked to the development of dementia. During the hours of sleep the brain literally rids itself of waste, (associated with Alzheimer’s) via the glymphatic clearing system. Sleep must be a priority, with support put in place to remedy any issues.
- Nutrition – Avoid Omega 6 seed oils which promote oxidative stress, chronic low-grade inflammation, atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Consume butter from grass-fed cattle, olive oil and coconut oil instead. Ensure the inclusion of berries and bright coloured fruit. Eggs are ideal for supporting eye health. They are a superfood in their own right, only lacking Vitamin C. They have been demonised in the past but are a significant source of carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect against cataracts and macular degeneration. Consume meat from pasture-raised animals and a good variety of organic fruit and vegetables. Don’t forget the huge benefits from herbs and spices. If you are concerned about cholesterol I recommend reading The Great Cholesterol Con by Dr Malcolm Kendrick.
- Heart – Poor sleep, stress and inflammation can have a devastating effect on heart health. Adopt a healthy exercise routine. It was found over a 20 year period that men who engaged in physically active leisure activities were up to 21% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease or to die of any cause during the study period. Removing inflammatory foods that drive heart disease, ie vegetable oils and margarine is of great importance. It is important to note that magnesium is depleted through stress, alcohol consumption and exercise. Replenishment is necessary considering magnesium is essential for maintaining a steady heartbeat and normal blood pressure. It keeps bones strong, muscles working properly and can help anxiety and depression.
- Prostate – An adequate dietary intake of zinc is essential for men over 50. Studies show that maintaining zinc status helps prevent prostate disease from developing or progressing further. Interestingly vegetarians may have a 50% greater need for zinc due to the high level of phytates in beans and pulses, which reduce zinc absorption. Similarly a commonly prescribed drug, Omeprazole for lowering stomach acid, has a detrimental effect on zinc absorption. In patients taking omeprazole there was a marked increase of zinc deficiency (from 16 to 50% within 2 months) upon beginning treatment with the drug. Red meat, shellfish and pumpkin seeds are good sources of zinc.
- Gut – Researchers have found that the gut microbiome of men and women differs significantly. This is more than likely due to the hormonal influence of oestrogen in women and testosterone in men. Poor gut health effects mental health. And poor mental health has a detrimental effect on the gut. The vagus nerve sends signals up and down, brain to gut and gut to brain. A healthy gut microbiome is vital for a healthy immune system and mental resilence. Read more here on ways to a healthy gut.
- Get it off your chest – it’s not only good to talk, it could be life saving. I am encouraged that I now meet men seeking help for anxiety disorders. Work pressure, troubled relationships, money concerns and low self esteem can all lead to feelings of despair. And yet the adage ‘”a problem shared is a problem halved” is true and off-loading burdensome worries and voicing them is the beginning of recovery.
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Man 50+ Prostate complex to support prostate health
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Tags: Erectile dysfunction, Libido, Men's health, Prostate health, Testosterone