While women’s health is often discussed, possibly because of the more marked life stages a woman goes through, men’s health frequently goes under the radar. We think it’s time to change this! In this blog, we hope to shed a little light on the most common male health issues, and offer some ideas to support men’s health at all life stages.
Some facts about men’s health
The main health concerns affecting men in the UK include:
- Prostate health: whether Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), prostate cancer and/or prostatitis, prostate issues are a common concern. As many as 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime
- Mental health: suicide remains the biggest killer of men under the age of 45, claiming four times more men than women
- Colon or bowel cancer: the most common cancer amongst men over the age of 60
- Heart disease: the leading cause of male deaths over the age of 50
- Type 2 diabetes: affects 1 in 10 men, with numbers growing each year
- Testicular cancer: the most common cancer amongst younger men, aged between 20 and 35. 2000 new cases are diagnosed each year
While these numbers are shocking, it is thought that men’s reluctance to talk about their symptoms could be a contributing factor. This may be a case of not wanting to take time off work to consult a GP, or a reluctance to discuss poor mental health or unwanted symptoms with friends and family. Events like Movember and this week’s International Men’s Day are helping to turn this situation around and highlight the importance of putting men’s health in the spotlight. By doing so, and discussing conditions and symptoms more openly, it is hoped that any stigma or embarrassment may be reduced. In turn this may lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment.
Ways to support men’s health
Here there is no difference between men and women, the same nutrition and lifestyle recommendations apply to both.
Being overweight or having a high BMI has been shown to be linked to many of the above conditions, so gently losing any extra weight could be beneficial. Crash diets have poor long-term outcomes for weight loss. Instead follow the advice below, increasing nutrient-rich foods and reducing processed options, for a slow but sustainable loss.
1. Eat a diet full of brightly-coloured vegetables. The phytonutrients they contain have been shown to be beneficial to health. Aim for at least 10 different varieties – ideally different colours – per day.
2. Balance meals – have a palm-sized portion of protein with each meal, some healthy fats (extra virgin olive oil, oily fish, avocados, nuts and seeds) and cover one third to a half of the plate with vegetables.
3. Minimise sugar and processed foods in the diet. These can lead to blood sugar imbalances which in turn can cause weight gain and low mood.
4. Keep an eye on alcohol content, ideally not exceeding the Government’s recommendation of 14 units per week, and with a couple of alcohol-free days each week. While alcohol can make us feel good at the time, it has a detrimental effect on sleep and mood in the long term.
5. Exercise for 30 minutes each day, outside if possible. This has been shown to have a positive effect on mood, especially if you can catch some early morning light.
6. Get a good night’s sleep – aim for 7-8 hours each night.
7. And perhaps most importantly, talk. Talk to colleagues, friends and family, or see a health professional if that feels more comfortable. Make an appointment with your GP if you notice any new symptoms and discuss them openly. The more this happens, the more we can do in the fight to improve men’s health.
Find out more about men’s health issues:
10 health risks all men should know – Net Doctor
Five surprising – and shocking – facts about men’s health – Men’s Health Forum
Want to know more?
ProVen Probiotics aim to provide the best support for both you and your health. If you wish to know more about gut health please do not hesitate to call us on 01639 825107 or alternatively, learn more via our blogs or in-depth ProVen research.