Staying healthy, active, and up to date with checkups is important for men and women, the elderly, the young—everyone. However, studies have shown that men are less likely to seek medical and nutritional care, and that some men may feel a certain sense of weakness disclosing their illnesses or injuries to healthcare providers, specifically male physicians. It is understood where this feeling may come from, the feeling to never show weakness, to be a strong figure for the family, etc. However, this is a big problem for the health of men. If the healthcare provider does not know everything that is going on with his/her patient, he/she cannot construct an efficient treatment plan, therefore the patient is denying him/herself and his/her families the benefits of treatment and recovery. This is why the stigma of the “manly man” needs to be dropped, especially in a healthcare atmosphere. It is important to not delay treatment for fear of exposing weakness.
Image via Everyday Health
Some very important tests recommended for men are prostate cancer and heart health screening. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 190,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. The good news is if you keep up on your exams and your health, you have a good chance of preventing that statistic for yourself. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, with over 610,000 deaths in 2015. Half of the men in the U.S. don’t get regular checkups and therefore do not know their risk factors. It is important to understand that even a little bit of awareness on the issue, and doing something about the risk factors that you have, will help tremendously in preventing the disease. So let’s get to it!
Some good recommendations for prostate health are:
- Keep a healthy weight: ask a nutritionist what your ideal weight is. It is different for everyone! It is important to know your body fat vs. muscle mass composition as well.
- Exercise regularly: any movement is an improvement from being sedentary! The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans suggests at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity a week.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables: antioxidants are important for reducing your risk factors for prostate cancer. Tomatoes, watermelons, grapefruits, papaya, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale are great choices!
- Get tested annually and let your physician know if your family has a history of prostate cancer, as this more than doubles your risk of developing the disease.
Some good recommendations for heart health are:
- Get regular checkups: high blood pressure and diabetes are both known as “silent killers”because they give no clues early on. Express any health concerns with your doctor, as they may be early indicators for the disease.
- Reduce your stress: chronic stress is a risk factor for heart disease. Great stress-reducing techniques are things like deep breathing, walking in nature, meditation, and massage.
- Exercise often: as stated above, 150 minutes (minimum) a week, doing something like running, walking, swimming, biking, and weight training.
- Work on your diet: focus on less processed foods and instead include antioxidant foods, anti-inflammatory foods, and healthy fats. Instead of using excess salt, switch to fresh herbs to liven up your dishes, and always use a high mineral content sea salt (our favorite is Baja Gold).
- Antioxidant foods: all berries, artichokes, kidney beans, cilantro, grapes, garlic, oranges, spinach, etc.
- Anti-inflammatory: green leafy veggies, celery, broccoli, blueberries, pineapple, turmeric, ginger, etc.
- Healthy fats: tuna, salmon, trout, avocado, ghee, olive oil, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, etc.
A little bit of prevention can help men stay healthier longer and catch things early.
A few simple choices can make a big difference. AND diet makes a huge difference in both cases. The nutritionists at Starkel Nutrition are qualified to help prevent common men’s health issues from starting, and to help support and improve once conditions have already started. Contact us for an appointment.
Yours in Health,
Bastyr University Student Intern