Supporting menís health
With raised awareness around mens health in MOvember it’s the perfect time to look at a few ways to support the health of the men in our lives.
Weight gain, elevated blood pressure and cholesterol, prostate health, low energy levels, poor sleep and digestion are all concerns I am regularly asked about regarding men.
By age 30, men have reached their physiological peak, the chief hormone testosterone begins to decline. Metabolism decreases so weight is gained more easily, it’s more challenging for the liver to detoxify alcohol and poor quality fats.
As you can see, it’s pretty crucial men are aware as early as possible how important it is to look after themselves.
Statistics show cardiovascular disease is the main cause of death for our men.
So what do men need – or rather not need? What we eat and drink impacts how much energy we have, how we feel, function, sleep and fight infection.
Is it time to change some old habits?
Reduce or cut alcohol intake. Give it a go for a month and see how you feel. Alcohol not only places a huge burden on the liver and heart, it also increases estrogen. Estrogen is the female hormone but men produce it in smaller amounts. Excess estrogen can cause weight gain.
Choose water every time and love your liver. Water helps flush toxic waste from the body. Avoid switching alcohol for fizzy drinks or low cal – high amounts of sugar or artificial sweeteners place more burden on the body.
Resist reaching for fast foods, loaded with additives, poor quality fats and energy drinks loaded with sugar, caffeine and sweeteners.
Our body operates optimally when each meal and snack includes an appropriate portion of healthy, lean protein, great quality carbohydrate (and soluble fibre) AND top quality fat to maintain satiety and blood glucose.
Zinc is a standout mineral for male health as it has a crucial role in the production of testosterone, healthy sperm and prostate. A few signs of deficiency are loss of taste and smell, acne, eczema, poor hair growth, poor immunity and wound healing.
Antioxidants A,C,E (found in fresh, coloured fruit and veg, raw nuts and seeds) assist heart health, along with B Vitamins. B’s are best taken in a complex as they work in unison.
Exercise 30-40 minutes three to four times a week - or every day if you like. A brisk beach walk, bike ride, choose something enjoyable for you. Exercise is vital for reducing stress and increasing circulation.
Reduce coffee. Limit to one cup a day and drink more water. Coffee is dehydrating, interrupts the production of healthy stomach acid needed to break down food, it’s also taxing on the liver and increases the production of cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands that can encourage weight gain.
Take time out, pursue a hobby, schedule a trip away with the lads. Social time is important. Catch up with a buddy for a bike ride, a water and a chat (rather than a beer!), a beach walk with the lady. If you work in an especially physical job, book a regular massage or some form of relaxing physical treatment therapy.
n Jan van der Lee is a Clinical Nutritionist based at Waipu Natural Health, phone 09 432 1325, or visit waipunaturalhealth.co.nz