MEN’S HEALTH MATTERS
Like women, men are also prone to nutritional deficiencies and also go through mid-life crisis and therefore, have lower longevity as compared to women
"A man's health can be judged by which he takes two at a time - pills or stairs." -Joan Welsh
Over the last many years, the attention to women’s health has been a lot more as compared to men. On an anthropometric level, men have higher percentage of body water, less fat percentage and more muscle mass as compared to women, hence their metabolism is higher. Like women, men are also prone to nutritional deficiencies and also go through mid-life crisis and therefore, have lower longevity as compared to women. Added factors like work stress, running the house and vices like smoking and drinking take the toll on health to another level over years.
Besides ensuring a well-balanced diet that includes wholegrains, pulses & legumes as plant protein, lean meat, dairy, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds, one must try to include the vital nutrients and superfoods according to different life-stages to ensure optimal wellness.
- Healthy Heart: Since men have an elevated risk to cardiac issues, (women tend to have a lower risk as their sex hormone, estrogen is cardio-protective), it would be a great idea to include heart-healthy nutrients like:
Omega-3 and Zinc (nuts and seeds like flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds etc); adequate fiber, both soluble and insoluble as generous portions of fresh fruit and vegetables, steel cut oats, wholegrains etc.) besides healthy protein(pulses, legumes, lean meats, dairy).
Magnesium (found in nuts, seeds, dark chocolate) is important for improved heart health, stable blood pressure and strong bones.
Potassium is another electrolyte that can contribute to lower incidence of kidney stones, reduced risk of hypertension and boost overall heart health. Food sources include banana, dried apricots, lentils, prunes, kidney beans and potatoes.
Vit D can help lower the inflammation in arteries besides carrying calcium to bones and strengthening them. Not many of us would know Vit D boosts immunity & fertility and may be cancer-protective as well. While we know that our body synthesizes Vit D upon exposure to sun’s rays, food sources include fatty fish, Ghee, meat , eggs and dairy.
Co Q 10 is an antioxidant that is used for growth and maintenance by the body. It decreases with age and is generally lower in heart patients. Food sources are wholegrains, meat and fish. Dietary supplements are also available.
Alcohol consumption is best pegged at not more than 2 drinks a day.
- Fertility: Male infertility is equally common as in females nowadays. Zinc can play an important role in enhancing male fertility. It can be included both as food sources and supplements. Ashwagandha & Ginseng are beneficial herbs that can help improve sperm count and motility.
- While we talk of andropause or male menopause we need to understand that while men may experience a dip in testosterone levels, their reproductive capacity does not get exhausted. Symptoms may include loss of libido & muscle strength, fatigue, dip in moods.
Neurological issues can be managed better by ensuring adequate levels of Vit B 12. Food sources include meats, eggs, fish, seafood, dairy. Vegans should do a supplement course bi-annually to avoid deficiency. It would be wise to get one’s vitals checked every year after turning 35 and include the required supplements under professional guidance.
Prostate : The recent few years have seen a dramatic rise in cases of prostate cancer during silver years worldwide. Foods rich in zinc(yes, zinc again- sunflower & pumpkin seeds, nuts), Sulphur(onions, garlic, almonds), Omega-3s(Flaxseeds, salmon, Evening primrose oil) can be effective in protecting against cancer as well as prostate enlargement & inflammation. Apple Cider vinegar is excellent for prostate health.
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