Men – listen up, it is time to get healthy!
According to NZ health statistics, at birth males already have a life expectancy of around 4 years fewer than females. But what causes this inequality? Sadly, research shows that men have higher mortality rates as a result of heart disease, melanoma, prostate cancer, and diabetes.
What you eat makes a real difference when it comes to your health!
Guys, it might be no surprise that you fall well short when it comes to the amount of fruit and veggies you have, but you may not be aware that another issue is that you are prone to store excess fat around your stomach. This is called visceral fat and high levels of this type of fat are a risk factor in many diseases including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Along with these chronic diseases, depression and infertility are also a reality for many men.
The good news is that these diseases and conditions are largely preventable or treatable with healthy lifestyle habits and appropriate screening and recognition.
So what can you do? – here goes…
1) Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables
The current recommendations are at least 2 fruit and 3 veggie servings (or handfuls) each day and this should be considered an absolute minimum, particularly for the vegetables. Salads for lunch, extra veggies at dinner (and not just potatoes please!). Choose a range of seasonal fresh produce, with different colours to ensure a wide range of valuable nutrients.
2) Chose lean cuts of unprocessed meat, and be aware of portion size
A palm sized serving is a good guide, about 150g.
3) Ensure that you are incorporating foods which are packed with zinc and selenium every day. These minerals have important functions in the body such as providing antioxidants, reducing infertility, and regulating the blood sugar.
Good sources of zinc are brazil nuts and seafood.
Good sources of selenium are red meat from grass fed animals, eggs, fish, nuts and seeds (especially pumpkin seeds and walnuts), and ginger.
4) Be active
Each and EVERY day– partaking in physical activity each day is one of the best things you can do for your health. Join a gym, head out for a walk in your lunch break, take the stairs rather than the lift or join a social sports team.
5) Cut back on the booze
One beer here and there is not the problem, but when you are drinking every day and having more than a couple of drinks at a time it can be a problem! For men 3 standard drinks per day and no more than 15 per week is the upper limit advised by the Ministry of Health.
6) Get to the GP
We know that you guys aren’t as good at going to the GP as the ladies which means that you are less likely to get health issues picked up early. If you feel that you might have any of the problems mentioned above, perhaps it is time for a health check!
Good luck guys, look after yourselves!