No matter what our age, it’s important to be on it – our health. With research saying that we take too long to seek help and advice, it’s time to take the bull by the horns and sort out the health niggles that we’ve been trying to ignore.
Lockdown has been a time to take a look at the way we’re living. Many of us are sending out a health SOS, and are seeking accurate and up to date information.
Are there things that you need to sort out?
The pump: Your biggest body pump – your heart. Make the most of it by:
Watching your alcohol: Binge drinking, can not only increase your risk of heart disease but could tax the liver as well and add unnecessary calories into your diet. Don’t drink to excess and always try and eat some protein alongside to help slow down the release of sugars into the bloodstream. Long-term excess alcohol intakes can deplete the body of essential nutrients including B vitamins.
A healthycare practitioner can talk with you about safe ways to cut alcohol in your diet. There is plenty of health advice out there, but sometimes it makes all the difference to have someone professional alongside.
Stump out cigarrettes: Another risk for heart disease is smoking. If you smoke it’s worth considering additional antioxidant support for your overall health and wellbeing. Vitamin C has been noted as one nutrient that can be depleted in smokers. Long term, you might choose an all-round multi-vitamin and minerals formula designed with men in mind. L-arginine is a popular supplement – an amino acid which can help support the arteries. The B vitamins especially B12, folate and B6 have been found in studies to help maintain healthy body levels of homocysteine, which, when high, has been linked to a greater risk of heart disease. It’s also worth considering taking an essential omega supplement containing omega 3 fats EPA and DHA as these might help to maintain a healthy heart too. This is the basis of health recommendations around eating fish for a healthy heart.
As we get older (approaching our 50s), problems with our prostate become more common, and it’s the time to read up on conditions such as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). This is a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate resulting in urination problems such as pain, increased frequency, dribbling and bladder infections. Often due to hormonal changes it can also be linked to low zinc and essential fats in the diet. Eat plenty of zinc rich seeds, wholegrains, nuts, shellfish, lean red meat and beans and pulses and oily fish (sardines, mackerel, salmon, trout) for their omega 3 content. Saw palmetto, available as a herbal supplement has been found useful for urinary health. Research has also highlighted the importance of nutritional sources of antioxidants for maintenance prostate health, such as zinc, vitamin E, selenium and lycopene.
How’s your sex life? You might be having the best sex you’ve ever had. You might not. With sex forming such a huge part of how society view men, with their sexual health needs, it’s not hard to see why men with physiological or psychological problems around sex often find it hard to talk about it.
The truth is, fertility issues and erectile dysfunction are not uncommon. If you are planning a family, take a look at your lifestyle and improve the quality of your diet – lots of wholefoods, fruit, vegetables, lean protein, and cut out the sugary fast foods and takeaways. Ditch the alcohol and cigarettes and consider seeking help from a nutritionist who can assess your current nutritional status.
When we’re older, it can be hard to keep ‘him’ standing tall. An erection can be a problem especially as we head into our 40s. Be mindful of your stress levels, since the hormones involved in the stress response are closely linked to testosterone. For millennia, men have turned to plant remedies to help with sexual health, and this is the basis for many products aimed at sexual health. It’s really important that you do your research on formulations, and make sure that you’re choosing products that have good levels of the active components that have been shown in research to help. Your health store will stock reputable brands, with herbal preparations that have been thoroughly tested for levels of key components. Go to our HealthyDoesHerbs section to read all about it: Keeping your herbals high quality.
Stress is a real health stealer, and, as men, we face a lot of it. At times, we feel over-burdened by the pressure of work and family, financial pressures. In fact, the stark truth is that the rate of suicide in young men is something that we should all stand up and take notice of. Thankfully, social media has highlighted the need for us men to talk and get mental health help. Here are a few self-help steps that you can take to help you manage stress on a daily basis:
- Your diet. If you need to eat on the go, choose healthy grabs such as wholefood nuts and seeds, dried fruits etc. If you don’t want to eat them from a dainty plastic pot, keep a bag in your car or in the office. Grab and handful and shove them in your mouth. Better to eat them than avoid them. They’ll increase your intakes of essential vitamins and minerals, and will provide fibre too. Protein. Lean meats, beans and pulses. Do something different – check out ten new vegetarian recipes, and if you’re a meat eater, add to these. These dishes are packed full of health-helping phytonutrients and fibre to keep your whole body and your bowels healthy.
- You time. Not just for the girls. OK, so you though that essential oils are only for the ladies who want candle-lit baths before they coat themselves in all kinds of creams and lotions. As your health store staff about essential oils which smell more like nature made them for me. There’s no getting around it, we’re pre-conditioned into thinking that certain fragrances are more suitable for men, and there aren’t many who would feel happy walking round town smelling of lavender or rose. So work with it. Sandalwood is well-known to help with feelings of stress, anxiety, and is often used for nerve health. Deep, ‘heavy’ oils are often really rich and woody, and for lighter oils, fresh doesn’t have to make you smell like a lemon. Pine is just one example of how your senses (and your mood) can be lifted. Stick them on an air freshener card in your car, or on a diffuser in the shower. An aromatherapist will be able to
- Supplements: Research has shown that B vitamins are really important for people who don’t have time to plan or prepare foods, as grabbing on the go can lead to foods with poor levels (such as refined foods based on white flour). As well as taking time to increase intakes of wholefoods – which is really easy (as in store about the switch from refined to wholefood), you can choose a supplement of B vitamins, as a single supplement, or look for a high potency multinutrient which has good levels of B vitamins in there. You might consider adaptogenic herbs, such as ginseng (do ask about suitability and mention any medications that you might be on), and if you have trouble sleeping, there are herbal remedies that have been designed specifically for this.
Lockdown has been hard for many and we’re all trying our best to get through the next few weeks. If you’re feeling less than your best, reach out. Pick up the phone. Send that message. Join that meet up group. Play your music. Take time out. Enjoy that walk. Pump that iron. But most of all… if you’re feeling less than your best, reach out. Health stores have always been a hub of health information, a community focal point. Take a look at our feature in HealthyDoesHealthStore: 1 Visionary, 100 years and 4000 health stores.