The bad news is that life expectancy numbers have dropped for the first time since 1993. The good news is that you can change your personal story to one of health and vitality. Living a healthy life often means making some adjustments in diet, exercise, and weight control. It can also mean working to reduce stress and getting more sleep.
We’ve rounded up six of the top questions men have about men’s health. Hopefully, the answers will further spark a strong motivation to take control of your health and beat the averages.
Is the Paleo Diet Good for Me?
Eating like a caveman has been a thing for a while now, and men, in particular, have jumped on the Paleo wagon by the hundreds of thousands.
Paleo shuns refined flours and sugars and emphasizes eating lots of plants—vegetables, fruits, roots, nuts, and seeds—along with protein from meat sources (ideally free-range and grass-fed). Strict Paleo eliminates all grains, dairy, legumes, salt, alcohol, and coffee, as well, as these are foods found in agrarian societies where crops and herds are cultivated.
While the scientific jury’s still out on the benefits of avoiding all grains, dairy, and legumes, the emphasis on eating plants and organic meat while shutting out refined sugars, refined flours, refined fats, and junk foods means a person can’t help but find they feel better, most likely lose weight from unhealthy fat deposits, and gain more energy. Whether you want to go 100% caveman or make it more of an 80/20 option, you can’t go wrong when you regularly load your plate with a variety of vegetables and fruits. Adding a quality nutritional drink mix that boosts your plant intake may also be a great idea.
With heart attack and stroke representing the first and second leading causes of death in both men and women worldwide, we need to talk about the implications of heart disease.
Men tend to suffer from cardiovascular disease at a younger age than women, receiving diagnoses in their 50s and 60s compared to women in their 70s and 80s. This is one of the main reasons men tend to have shorter lifespans than women.
What can you do about it? Plenty! Incorporate lots of plants into your diet, get more heart-healthy omega 3s through diet and supplements, participate in an exercise program on a daily basis, and avoid trans fats and refined foods. Lifestyle plays a leading role in whether or not you develop cardiovascular disease, so you have a great deal of control here.
Women are encouraged to talk about their emotions, but men frequently feel they need to suffer in silence in order to maintain their manly status. Because of this, stress can do worse things to men over time. Stressed-out guys tend to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs more frequently, commit suicide more often, develop heart disease after major negative life-changing events, and develop type 2 diabetes as a result of consuming stress-related unhealthy diets.
Fortunately, you can deal with stress in a healthy way: good diet, regular exercise, meditation, resolving the source of your stress, and learning when to let go, among other things (read more about dealing with stress in this excellent article from Everyday Health), are all habits you can cultivate. In addition, specific supplements can assist you in naturally curbing anxiety or stress and helping you to relax mentally and physically.
How Much Sleep Do I Really Need?
Studies show that adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. While women are more vulnerable to sleep disorders and sleep disruptions and are more often lighter sleepers than men, men have a more difficult time functioning under the influence of sleep deprivation. If you are waking up feeling rested, energized, and ready to go, you’re getting enough sleep.
You can improve your quality of sleep by doing a few key things:
- Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning
- Exercise outside in order to get sunlight and get your circadian rhythm on track
- Restrict napping
- Ask your doctor about getting checked for possible sleep disorders such as sleep apnea
If you have difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep, natural sleep aids can work wonders.
What Do I Need to Know About Prostate Health?
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that sits on top of your bladder and is part of your reproductive system. Its position on the bladder allows it to surround part of the urethra, the tube through which urine flows to the penis for evacuation. When the prostate enlarges, it can constrict the urethra, causing trouble when urinating. As men age, it’s very common that the prostate enlarges. An enlarged prostrate may not cause any symptoms or it might become very troublesome.
While some prostate problems require medication or surgery, there is a lot you can do to prevent prostate issues in the first place. Eating lots of plants (vegetables and fruits)—especially those high in selenium—avoiding smoking, alcohol, and caffeine, taking top quality supplements to support men’s health, and getting a yearly prostate exam when you reach 50 are all helpful for maintaining prostate health.