Showing posts with label male health issues. Show all posts
Showing posts with label male health issues. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Guide to the Best Foods to Boost Male Health

CDC stats tell us that, on average, women live 5 years longer than men. However, many foods are scientifically proven to support male health. Let’s take a look at the health issues that target men as they get older, and which foods you can add to your family’s diet to improve the health of the men in your family.

Health problems unique to aging in men

According to the St. Louis University Health Sciences Center, there are certain health conditions that target men as they age. These include:
  • Androgen deficiency syndrome – a deficiency of important male hormones such as testosterone.
  • Impotence/erectile dysfunction (ED) – the inability to achieve or maintain an erection during intercourse. ED can be caused by certain medications, but is more commonly caused by atherosclerosis, diabetes, prostate-related treatments, vascular or neurological disease,  or surgeries, according to Harvard Medical School and other sources. 
  • Benign prostatic hypertrophy – an age-related prostate gland enlargement that results in urination difficulty.
  • Prostate cancer – the most common cancer for men.  The prostate, a walnut-sized gland behind the penis, is statistically more prone to problems with age.
  • Baldness – Baldness occurs when hairs don’t grow back, or shed rapidly. Common causes include genetics, medications, stress, heavy dandruff, hormone issues, fast weight loss, and poor scalp circulation.
  • Gynecomastia – When hormone imbalance causes swollen breast tissue in men.
Other health issues more common to men than women include strokes (the second leading cause of death worldwide), respiratory diseasesheart disease (men die at twice the rate of women from cardiovascular health conditions), alcohol consumption, depression/suicide (the 8th leading cause of death in men, who are four times more likely than women to commit suicide), diabetes (which can lower testosterone levels and increase your risk for sexual impotence), lung disease (the leading deadly cancer in men) and skin cancer (men over 50 have twice the rate as women).

Foods to overcome or avoid male health issues

Many of these medical conditions require the influence of health professionals to treat or cure. But there are steps you can take to avoid these health issues in the first place, or to support your doctor’s efforts to improve your male health. Here are five:
1: Diet solutions to erectile dysfunction
A Male Aging Study found that a diet low in red meat, processed meat, and refined grains, plus high in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and fish lowers your risk of ED.  Also consider supplementing with vitamin B12. A deficiency of it can contribute to ED.
2: Dietary support in fighting prostate cancer
According to The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, men increase their risk of prostate cancer if they don’t get enough plant-based foods (vegetables, fruits) and get too much red meat and dairy. The latter, and a lack of the former, just about guarantees that your diet has little fiber and lots of fat, both of which contribute to testosterone health risks.

A plant-based diet also enriches your immune system with antioxidants – your ticket to a strong defense against free radicals. Look specifically for lycopene-rich foods, such as pink grapefruit, tomatoes, and watermelon, shown to fight cancer.

Read the research on fighting prostate cancer with diet.
3: Reducing cardiovascular disease and stroke risk with diet
Perhaps you’re noticing a pattern here? Once again, research shows that a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fats protects you from many health issues, including strokes and heart disease/heart attacks.

Investigate the Mediterranean diet, which research indicates may specifically reduce your risk of stroke.  The Mediterranean diet is comprised of lots of plant-based foods, olive oil, poultry, and fish – with very little red meat.
4: Dietary solutions to testosterone deficiency
While you can rely on testosterone replacement drugs, a combination of the right foods and exercise can naturally increase your testosterone levels.  Some specific foods to add to your diet include:
  • Cheese
  • Fortified milk
  • Egg yolks
  • Mushrooms
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Oysters
  • Sardines
  • Beef liver
  • Beans (white, kidney, or black)
The reason: these are all foods high in Vitamin D, which this 2012 study shows can boost testosterone levels.
5: Fighting benign prostatic hypertrophy with diet
According to The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, eating meat every day triples your prostate enlargement risk. Changing your diet can help prevent prostate issues from arising. The short story – employ the same dietary changes noted above, eat less meat and dairy, and add more vegetables to your diet. Specifically:
  • Supplement your diet with vitamins E and B6, plus saw palmetto (an herb), zinc, and cold-pressed flaxseed oil. For a natural source of zinc, chow down on sesame seeds.
  • Some research also suggests that vitamin C specifically from vegetables (i.e., not from a pill) can reduce enlarged prostate risks. The best sources of vegetable-based C include peppers, broccoli, kale, and cauliflower.
  • Other research advises that you should boost your natural lycopene intake with foods such as pink grapefruit, tomatoes, and watermelon.
Summary – add plants to your diet!
While some specific diet recommendations vary slightly among common male health conditions (such as upping your intake of vitamin C, zinc, copper, beta-carotene, and silica for baldness), there is a common theme: a plant-based diet, a reduction in red meat, and an intake of healthy fats will go far in improving male health, and likely increase health and longevity.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Men's Health at Risk! What You Should Know

There are many health issues unique to men. For example: 
  • Men average half as many visits to a doctor as do women.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tells us that women are 100 percent more likely than men to visit the doctor for annual exams or prevention care. Even when you remove pregnancy-related visits that women make, women are still 56 percent more likely to visit the doctor in the broad age bracket of 15 to 44.
  • Men live an average of five years less than women.  Statistics show that, in spite of the fact that males outnumber females at birth 105 to 100, by the time they reach age 65 – 74, there are fewer than 80 men for every 100 women.
  • Men die more than women from many major diseasesCDC statistics tell us that men are much more likely than are women to die of cancer (1.4 times more likely), heart disease (1.7 times more likely), HIV (2.5 times more likely) and diabetes (1.4 times more likely).
  • Men have a harder time reaching childhood age. According to the Men's Health Network, 25 percent more males than females die as newborns, and that's if they are lucky enough to survive birth; the male fetus is more likely than is the female fetus to die from miscarriage or stillbirth. Male babies are also three out of five times more likely to become SIDS victims.  Let's say they survive childhood. Things are still rough; 15 to 19-year-old boys are are a whopping four times more likely to commit suicide than their female counterparts. Among 20 to 24-year-old males, it's even scarier: males in that age range are six times more likely to commit suicide.
Group of men

Men's Health Month – Increasing awareness, education, and prevention

Building awareness of these uniquely male health issues, and using education to aid in prevention of male-dominated illnesses, are key reasons for the creation of the annual June event Men's Health Month.  By heightening awareness of preventable health problems, earlier detection and treatment of disease among men and boys is a realistic outcome.

Making June an opportunity for health care providers, public policy makers, the media, and individuals to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury can potentially save lives and increase overall mental health and life quality.

Make a difference in men’s health this month

Now that you are aware and have begun your education in correcting men’s health issues, here are some steps you can take to increase awareness of, and education for, men's health issues among your family, friends, and coworkers.

Man speaking with doctor
  • Wear blue. To show solidarity and generate conversation, wear blue this month.  You can do this yourself, or create a Wear Blue Day event – any day this month that works for your group, family, or team. Learn more at Wear Blue Day
  • Raise funds. If you choose to create a Wear Blue Day event, consider also setting a goal amount and raising funds to aid Men’s Health Network (MHN) prostate cancer outreach efforts, or another charitable foundation focused on men's health issues.   To raise money, consider a 5K walk, donation jars at local eateries, or a bake sale.
  • Women: Take a stand! Now might be the right time for you to consider joining Women Against Prostate Cancer – a national organization that unites the voices of women and their families who have been affected by prostate cancer. Women Against Prostate Cancer advocates prostate cancer education, public awareness, screenings, legislation and treatment options.
  • Make a public statement for men's health. There are many ways you can increase awareness of men's issues. For example, download, print, and post this Men’s Health Month awareness poster,  or a printable poster of men's health facts, either of which could go on your refrigerator, a workplace refrigerator, cubicle wall, or bulletin board, or the community announcements bulletin board found in many restaurants or coffee houses.

Get smarter about men's health issues

Whether you are male or female, this month would be a great time to start increasing your knowledge about common men's health issues. Knowledge is power, and this kind of knowledge could help save the life of someone you care about. To get started, check out the Prostate Health Guide, the Men's Health Library. Or purchase the book Your Head: An Owner's Manual, written to help men understand and overcome depression, anxiety, and stress. And men: take your cue from the opposite sex; get better about doctor visits and preventative care to hedge your bets for a healthier and longer life.

Men running and exercising

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer