Men’s Health Week - Staying Strong
Men's Health Week runs from 15th to 21st June this year. Led by the Men's Health Forum, the purpose of Men’s Health Week is to raise awareness of preventable health issues and encourage men and boys to seek professional advice for health related problems.
The Men’s Health Forum says men are less likely than women to lead a healthy lifestyle. They are more likely to smoke, drink alcohol to hazardous levels and be overweight or obese. These lifestyles can lead into serious diseases such as cancer, heart diseases and strokes, the risk of which can be reduced by leading a healthy lifestyle.
So courtesy of Sue Davis, our Resident Lifehouse Naturopath, here are some top tips for how men can stay strong and healthy.
The pH of our body can affect the way we perform and the Western diet is often the culprit. A common routine is to wake with tea, coffee, sugar and milk all of which are acidic. Next comes orange juice and a bacon roll for breakfast followed by copious mugs of coffee. Lunch is usually sandwiches and a diet coke with dinner comprising some type of pasta dish finished off with a few beers or glasses of wine. If this sounds familiar and you are starting to notice niggling aches and pains and inflammation then this classic pattern of eating may be the reason.
Our body performs at optimal levels when we are slightly alkaline with a pH of 7.36. Paradoxically one of the best ways to start the morning is to drink a mug of warm water with the juice of half a fresh lemon as this will set you on the right footing pH wise. If stocking up with fresh lemons is too much like hard work then buy a bottle of pressed organic Sicilian lemon juice from M&S and use a tablespoon every morning and store in the fridge.
To continue good habits throughout the day try swapping out some of the teas and coffee for green tea which is not only alkalising but excellent for reducing blood pressure. Since all proteins are acidic and it is impossible to have a completely alkaline diet work on a ratio of 1 part acid to 2 parts alkaline. This would translate to steak and salad for dinner or salmon with roasted vegetables so not too much of a hardship. Additionally aim to have starchy carbs only once a day especially if you want to lose weight.
Carb Deficit Training
Research is showing time and time again that the best time to exercise is first thing in the morning (after the lemon water) but before breakfast. Olympian athletes find that the body strips fat off more effectively without any fuel lurking around in the stomach. It takes 20 minutes to fat burn so a HIIT (high intensity interval training) session could be just the job. Eat breakfast within half an hour of training ensuring you include a protein source to build lean muscle mass. A protein smoothie or some eggs would be perfect.
Looking After Your Ticker
Smokers tend to have thicker, stickier blood which makes it harder for the heart to circulate it around the body. So stopping is a good start. Natural blood thinners include fish oil from oily fish such as mackerel, sardines and salmon or from capsules. Ensure the manufacturer has screened for heavy metals and take 1000mg with each meal. Garlic, ginger and chilli are all good for blood circulation as is green tea. Magnesium is the number one mineral for heart health. A good way to get it into the system is through an adequate intake of leafy greens such as kale, spinach or wheatgrass. Wheatgrass shots are a great way to get your greens intake in one hit and are reported to contain nutrients equivalent to eating 1kg of leafy greens. Otherwise look at magnesium supplementation. Co-Q-10 is another supplement that supports heart health and the mitochondria of cells, rather like duracell batteries, providing energy. Regular exercise will also strengthen the heart and if just starting out then research shows a brisk 20 minute walk daily is highly beneficial.
Stress is the villain in many health issues and is particularly destructive to sleep patterns making the working day much harder to deal with. Often someone may be mentally exhausted but not physically tired which can leave them tossing and turning in the middle of the night with a busy head full of things to do. Apart from exercise which helps to burn off stress hormones consider attending a yoga class which really helps with the unwinding process or try a relaxing meditation CD or APP before going to sleep.
Additionally the constant production of stress hormones messes with our digestive system leading to diagnosis of conditions such as IBS and is also responsible for laying down fat around the middle creating the dreaded middle age spread.
Around the age of 50, hormonal changes in men can affect the prostate gland causing it to enlarge in some instances. This can impact on the bladder, which is in close proximity and some of you may find you are getting up more often in the night to go to the loo. If this seems familiar then have a check up with your doctor who will check your PSA levels (prostate specific antigen) via a simple blood test. Most enlargements are benign so best to get this checked as soon as possible.
Natural ways to keep your prostate healthy is to eat a handful of pumpkin seeds daily, they are packed full of zinc which is a great mineral for male fertility and libido. Stress and acidic type foods can make the prostate gland enlarge so see earlier tips. The herb Saw Palmetto is indicated for prostate health and it is usually mixed with other minerals and herbs such as zinc and nettle. Your local Holland & Barrett will stock these supplements.
Sue Davis, Resident Naturopath at Lifehouse, offers Life Balance Consultations which can cover any of the following:
Nutritional Tune-up, Weight Loss, Vital Energy, Bones & Joints, Digestive Health, Immune boost, Diabetes, Blood Pressure & Cholesterol, Fertility Enhancement, Prostate Health.
To find out more, you can phone Sue on 01255 863444.