This week, it’s all about men in honor of National Men’s Health Week! And my, how I have learned from you guys over the years. I don’t want to generalize too much, but here are a couple of things I’ve noticed.
- You are fact finders. The “why’s” behind my recommendations both interest and motivate you. I love that because it keeps me on my toes.
- You are doers. You like a plan and when you are motivated there is no stopping you. (When you are unmotivated that is a whole different story and we will get to that later in the week!)
Today, I’m taking advantage of these great traits and giving you the rundown of what I see as the top 3 health issues facing men today. Now listen, remember and run with it!
(I’m also offering a men’s health bundle at $16 off the regular price. It includes 4 supplements that protect your heart, prostate and colon health!)
1. Your Heart
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in American men. In fact 1 of 4 will lose their lives due to heart disease. This is partly a silent epidemic as half of all men who die suddenly from cardiac arrest did not notice any previous symptoms.1
It is inflammation, rather than cholesterol that is at the root of heart disease. Risk factors include a family history, diabetes, chronic stress, being overweight, a sedentary lifestyle and poor diet choices.
What can you do?
- Practice stress management techniques. Take a moment to close your eyes and clear your mind throughout the day – even if it’s just a minute or two. Let this build upon itself and before you know it you’ll have a little meditation practice. You deserve to live a life not consumed with stress!
- Eat an anti-inflammatory diet that is low in gluten and dairy (especially if you are sensitive to these foods). Focus on fresh fruits and vegetables, quality meats including low-mercury fish such as wild salmon 2-3 times a week, and a variety of whole grains eaten in modest portions.
- Turmeric (a root that looks much like ginger) is highly anti-inflammatory. Add it in its raw form to meals or juices or sprinkle the ground spice over foods. I also sell a turmeric supplement for those who prefer it.
2. Your Prostate
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located between the bladder and the penis. As men age, the prostate gets larger. By the age of 60, half of men have an enlarged prostate (benign prostate hyperplasia or BPH) and it climbs to 90% when they turn 85. Enlargement is definitely a side effect of aging, as is hair loss and difficulty hearing but a healthy lifestyle makes a big impact on how much it will affect you. The most common prostate problem, BPH leads to very annoying sudden urges to urinate, frequent pit stops and night wakings as well as a weak urine stream. These are the most noticeable signs that something is wrong.2
Then there is the very serious issue of prostate cancer. Besides skin cancer this is the most common cancer in American men. One in 7 men will receive a prostate cancer diagnosis in their lifetime and 1 in 36 will die from it.3 Prevention and early detection are key to reducing the risks.
What can you do?
- Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables particularly those rich in lycopene: tomatoes (the most concentrated source), watermelon, guava, papaya, pink grapefruit and apricots.4 Evidence shows that lycopene offers some protection against prostate cancer. Cooked tomatoes such as sauce and salsa have a slightly more protective effect than raw. One study showed that the link between lycopene and prostate cancer depends on other antioxidants and a variation in a gene known as XRCC1, meaning some men may benefit more than others.5
- Limit your alcohol intake. I recommend no more than 6-7 standard-sized alcoholic beverages per week for men.
- Dropping belly weight may help with an enlarged prostate. So get moving! Take a brisk walk and get your arms swinging, give kettlebells a try (more on this great form of exercise coming soon to the blog) or have a vigorous air guitar session in your living room. Anything that keeps you happy and motivated!
3. Your Colon
Your colon, which is part of the large intestine, is in charge of the final stages of digestion. Colon cancer, which is slightly more prevalent in men than in women, is highly preventable with healthy lifestyle choices and early detection. That is the silver lining. The gray cloud is that it is still the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths for men and women in the U.S.6
What can you do?
- Once you are 50, it’s time to start screening! Make an appointment with your doctor and get a plan into place. If there is a family history, start screening 10 years before the age at which your relative was diagnosed.
- Be sure to include a good amount of fiber in the diet, particularly plant fiber found in carrots, apples and leafy greens. The beneficial bacteria in the colon feed on this fiber and maintain the colon’s health and integrity. You’ll find many more great diet tips for colon cancer prevention in this post!
- Exercise regularly. Find something you like to do and stick with it! This is a sure way to lower your risk since up to 12-14% of colon cancer cases are attributed to a lack of frequent vigorous physical activity.7