With Father’s Day just around the corner, I thought I’d take this annual opportunity to talk specifically about men’s health.
If you are a dad, Happy Father’s Day! If you aren’t a dad, or just have a dad you’d like to continue making happy memories with, I invite you to share this with him this Father’s Day.
After all, it is health that allows a dad to keep on doing all of the things we love the most about them. From heart health, mental health, and hormonal health, we’ve got the leading angles covered.
Though I have a special interest in Women’s health, I see many men in my practice. Some of the main concerns that they have are around diminishing testosterone.
This is becoming more prevalent in today's world, as well as with increasingly younger men. Studies have shown that the average man’s testosterone in today’s society is nearly 25 percent lower than in the 1980s.
Testosterone, a hormone produced primarily by the testicles plays a large role in male sexuality and reproduction, impacting such factors as sexual and reproductive function, muscle mass, and hair growth. Testosterone is also important for maintaining bone density, levels of red blood cells and a sense of well-being and vitality.
A few main things to help improve or maintain healthy testosterone levels are:
- Maintain a Healthy Weight- Overweight men are more likely to have low testosterone levels to begin with due to the fact that the adipose tissue (fat tissue) contains an enzyme called aromatase that converts testosterone into estrogen. So, if you want healthy testosterone levels, drop the body fat.
- Minimize the BPA- BPA may be a large culprit to the declining levels of testosterone in modern times. Studies have shown that when exposed to BPA, it resulted in lower levels of testosterone in men. Avoid drinking from plastic bottles or storing food in plastic and use glass or stainless steel whenever possible.
- Reduce Stress- When you are under a lot of stress, your body releases high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone actually blocks the effects of testosterone, which suppresses libido and healthy competitive drive.
- Try Hormone Supportive Supplements- Vitamin D helps to support healthy levels of testosterone, which may boost libido. The mineral zinc is important for testosterone production. Maca root helps to boost libido and has hormone-balancing properties. Tongkat Ali, also known as Malaysian ginseng, has well documented aphrodisiac and testosterone enhancing effects.
More men die of heart disease than any other cause of death. They are also more likely to develop it at a younger age than women.
Maintaining a healthy heart rests on healthy foundational habits:
- Eat a Heart Healthy Diet- Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is the key to your overall health and is especially important for heart health. Dark, leafy greens, berries, healthy fats, nuts and seeds, fish, and legumes and dark chocolate are rich in flavonoids and antioxidants that help to reduce inflammation and decrease the risk of developing heart disease. Inflammation is a major factor in the development of many diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, allergies, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Minimize inflammatory foods such as sugar, red meat, processed food, dairy, gluten, caffeine, and alcohol.
- Get Moving- Aim to get at least 30 mins of moderate to vigorous physical activity 3-4 times per week to keep your heart in optimal condition. The average North American sits for around 12 hours/ day. Sitting is detrimental to your health even if you are a physically active person. Find ways to get up regularly throughout your day such as frequent stretch breaks, walking meetings, or a walking desk. Heck, have a mini dance party every few hours, whatever it takes to decrease your sedentary time.
- Butt Out- Cigarettes are one of the top risk factors in heart disease in North America. Even being exposed to second-hand smoke increases your risk of heart disease by 25-30 percent. Chemicals in cigarettes promote a build-up of plaque in the arteries. There is so much research out there on this if you are a smoker, it is definitely time to quit. If you are not a smoker, be firm in your boundaries with your smoker friends or loved ones around environmental smoke.
- Heart Supporting Supplements- There are a few powerful supplements that can go a long way in supporting your heart health. High-Quality fish oil and vitamin C can help support a healthy heart. CoQ10 and Magnesium are popular heart supportive supplements that are not to be forgotten and are fundamentals for the prevention of heart disease.
Stress and mental health concerns can have a profound effect on men’s physical health as well, being a leading factor in low testosterone, heart disease, diabetes, as well as higher suicide rates amongst men.
Cultivating healthy living habits such as good diet, exercise, and good quality sleep go a long way in maintaining good mental health.
A few more tips for good mental health include:
- Talk to Someone - Men are much more likely to suffer in silence. Opening up about what you’re experiencing to a trusted individual, practitioner, or group is one of the most powerful things you can do to support your mental wellbeing. Not only is there a release in the process of letting it all out, but it also helps to dispel shame and cultivate feelings of interconnectedness. We are all in this together and you are not alone.
- Get Out in Nature - Getting out in nature, or even viewing images of nature reduces anger, fear, and stress and uplift your mood. Research has found that even having a plant in the room can reduce stress and anxiety.
- Meditation - Meditating actually changes the brain and the way the body responds to stress. Start with as little as 5 minutes per day and try to meditate first thing in the morning to set the tone for the day.
Happy Father’s Day!