The Natural approach to Men's health
• Alcohol and Your Health
• Sexual Health
• Heart Health
• Sports and Immune Health
DID YOU KNOW?
1 According to the World Health Organisation, the average male life expectancy in the UK is 79.5 years – for women it’s 82.5 years.
2 Excess abdominal fat or being ‘apple shaped’ is more of a health risk factor than just carrying excess weight all over.
3 Regular exercise has been shown to increase mood-elevating substances known as endorphins as well as strengthening heart function, boosting the immune system and increasing the ability to handle stress.
4 According to The British Heart Foundation, nearly one in six men die from coronary heart disease. Learning how to look after your heart is therefore an important part of looking after your overall health.
Alcohol and Your Health
Health campaigners often warn of the negative effects that alcohol has upon your health. The liver is the organ that deals with the processing of alcohol, but can also be damaged by alcohol. Poor liver function is associated with many health disorders including skin problems such as psoriasis, poor digestive function and obesity.
Nutrition plays a key role in liver health. Pay special attention to your diet if you are a regular drinker and adopt the following principles:
• Eat unprocessed foods.
• Limit your sugar intake.
• Avoid refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and white rice.
• Avoid fried foods hydrogenated fats – found in some processed foods and margarines.
Foods that support a healthy liver include:
• Fresh fruits.
• Vegetables – especially cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, caulifl ower and Brussels sprouts.
• Organic eggs (not fried).
• Protein-rich foods.
• Onions and garlic.
Many liver-supporting foods, such as eggs, are rich in the ‘B-group vitamin’ choline which has been shown to help with the functioning of the liver. This nutrient can also be supplemented and is frequently found in B-complex and multivitamin formulas.
Sexual Health It is often said that oysters are the ultimate food for male sexual health. Well, there is some truth to this. Oysters are one of the richest sources of the mineral zinc, which is involved in the maintenance of fertility and reproduction. Other good sources of zinc include pumpkin seeds, poultry, meat, nuts and wholegrains.
Testosterone is a hormone produced mainly in the testicles. It is involved in many aspects of health including sex drive, sperm production, muscle strength, muscle mass and bone strength. Levels of testosterone peak during adolescence and young adulthood then decline at a rate of about 1% per year after the age of 30. This is once again an area where zinc can help as this mineral has been shown to help maintain normal blood levels of testosterone.
A healthy prostate gland is about the size of a walnut and is involved in the manufacturing of semen and the maintenance of sperm health. There are several common health disorders involving the prostate gland. Prostatitis causes inflammation and infection of the gland and commonly affects men aged 25-45. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is the most common prostate disorder seen in men over the age of 45. In BPH, the gland slowly enlarges and results in symptoms such as difficulty in starting to urinate, frequent urination during the night and difficulty in emptying the bladder completely.
Thankfully, there are many dietary measures that you can take in order to boost the health of this important gland. Research has shown that soya beans and soya products, such as tofu, soya milk and tempeh, have beneficial properties in relation to prostate health.
Consumption of lycopene-rich foods such as pink grapefruit, watermelon, tomatoes and tomato-based products can all contribute to the health of the prostate. Salmon, mackerel, sardines and other fatty fish, which are good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, have also been shown to help maintain prostate health.
The Government recommends that we eat at least two portions of oily fish a week for good health. This is because the Omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish (such as salmon and mackerel) help to support the functioning of the heart. Omega-3 fatty acids are also available in supplemental form. DHA and EPA, which are found in oily fish, help maintain normal blood pressure as does consuming sufficient amounts of potassium, found in bananas and dried fruits.
Magnesium contributes to normal muscle function, including the heart, and therefore plays a central role in the support of the cardiovascular system. This may be due to magnesium’s part in the production of energy that takes place within each cell. Another cardio-protective nutrient is folate which has been coined the ‘Queen B’ due to its importance in key body processes. Research highlights the importance of maintaining a healthy intake of this vitamin, to help keep risk factors, such as elevated homocysteine levels, in check. Folate is now available as calcium-l-methylfolate (a body-ready form of folate). The defence against homocysteine can also be supported by ensuring an adequate intake of vitamins B6 (pyridoxine) and B12 which likewise support normal homocysteine metabolism.
Sports and Immune Health
From playing football to working out in the gym, many men engage in some form of sport which we know is beneficial to overall health. However, did you know that you also need to look after your immune system when exercising as your chances of catching an infection are increased after exercise? Supplementing with vitamin C will help manage your immune function both during and after exercise. In addition, if your regime is high-intensity, such as interval training, the amino acid creatine can help boost physical performance.
1. WHO Global Health Observatory Data Repository. http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.688?lang=en. Viewed 30 April 2014.
2. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/loseweight/Pages/Appleorpear.aspx. Viewed 30 April 2014.
3. Murray MT, Pizzorno J. The Encyclopedia of Naturla Medicine, 3rd Edition, New York: Atria; 2012.
4. Choline contributes to the maintenance of normal liver function.
5. Zinc contributes to normal fertility and reproduction.
6. Zinc contributes to normal metabolism of fatty acids and the maintenance of normal testosterone levels in the blood.
7. Mahmoud AM, Yang W, Bosland MC. Soy isofl avones and prostate cancer: a review of molecular mechanisms. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2014;140:116-32.
8. EPA and DHA contribute to the maintenance of normal cardiac function, blood pressure and triglyceride levels.
9. Potassium contributes to the maintenance of normal blood pressure.
10. Magnesium contributes to normal muscle function.
11. Vitamins B6 (pyridoxine), B12 and folate all contribute to normal homocysteine metabolism.
12. Vitamin C contributes to maintaining the normal function of the immune system during and after intense physical exercise.
13. Creatine increases physical performance in successive bursts of short-term, high intensity exercise.
*Article sourced from Solgar