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Man-aging health for Men - laying the foundations

Monday November 15, 2021
Man-aging health for Men - laying the foundations

Introduction

Men are increasingly recognising the importance of looking after their own health with male millennials and Gen Z show a higher percentage of following healthy food habits and taking part in regular physical activity, however some men are finding it more challenging to engage in healthy habits.


For those who have the added responsibility of families, the shift in the role of the modern-day dad has meant fatherhood has brought another dimension of juggling (flexible) work as well as taking care of their children. Assisting with the school run, cooking family meals, and carrying out household duties has now become the norm.


Finding time to accommodate everything can be challenging and result in diet and health getting pushed down the priority list in favour of convenience.


Long term reliance on convenience food and inactivity can cause issues for men like weight gain, cardiovascular disorders and type 2 diabetes and reproductive problems.


The good news is by adapting positive lifestyle and diet changes and keeping active, there can be benefits in men’s long-term health.


Men’s Health – the key focus areas and how to enjoy happier health


Heart Health

Keep heart healthy. Of the key concerns is cardiovascular health with high blood pressure being present in 1 in 3 adults in the UK (31% men and 26% females) according to Blood Pressure UK. High blood pressure can go undetected for many years and in England alone there are over 5 million people undiagnosed.


Men are also more likely to undertake one or more habits that can increase risk factor e.g. smoking, poor activity level or high alcohol consumption, leading to a higher risk than women of developing a cardiovascular disease which can lead on to developing metabolic syndrome, a combination of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.


Prostate Health

Testosterone is an essential hormone in male development. The decline in testosterone is a natural part of the ageing process as is seen at around 1% loss per year after the age of 40. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a type of male hormone and converted from testosterone.


As men age their testosterone declines but this does not correlate with a reduction in DHT which can lead to elevated levels in the prostate and to the enlargement of the prostate and associated complications. According to the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases, by 50, half of men will be affected by enlarged prostate symptoms such as increased urinary frequency and urgency and urinary tract infection, impacting the quality of day-to-day life.


A healthy diet and making lifestyle modifications can help reduce the associated risk of these health issues arising in later life.


Creating a foundation of good health

 

Vitamins and minerals are essential to keeping our bodies healthy and functioning optimally and the best way of obtaining nutrients is to eat a varied diet. The nutritional demand on the body also changes as men age and approach various stages of life.

 

Nutrition for Teenage Boys - Viridian Nutrition

 

Teenage years

Good health starts early. Testosterone plays a vital role in male development during puberty and is responsible characteristic such as hair growth, bodyweight, and height. Research has shown that nutritional deficiencies can impact the timing of puberty. A teenage boy will need all the essential nutrients for growth, and development in the form of zinc, iron, calcium, iodine, and a higher demand for macronutrients (fats, protein, and carbohydrate).


Other crucial nutrients for adolescents are vitamin A for eye and reproductive health, vitamin C to support the immune system, muscles and joint health and wound healing and vitamin D to help with the immune system and bone health. So, eating foods which are nutrient rich alongside wholefoods like yellow, red, orange, and green vegetables can provide beta carotene a form of provitamin A that is converted in the body as well as vitamin C, zinc, iron, and calcium.

 


Nutrition for men 20s 30s and 40s - Viridian Nutrition

 

20 to 49

Men have a higher demand for energy and therefore a higher requirement for vitamins and minerals. B vitamins support the breakdown of energy for all the cells in the body and provide the functional components of neurotransmitters and co-enzymes. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble nutrient with antioxidant capacity. Subsequently, it is primarily involved in skin health, macular health and reproduction as a supporting nutrient in the production of sperm.


One of the most fundamental nutrients is protein which is essential for repairing the body and is involved in many chemical reactions. This includes helping to maintain physiological function and allows the body to grow, develop and maintain itself. Protein rich foods include eggs and dairy as well as plant sources like nuts, seeds, and beans. Protein sources such as above are also an essential source for certain nutrients like zinc and selenium where both can help with the production of testosterone, supports male fertility, and even enhance immune function.


Omega 3 essential fatty acids are nutrients that must be provided by the diet as the body cannot make them and essential for the healthy structure of cells.

 


Nutrition for men in their 50s and beyond - Viridian Nutrition

 

50+

At the other end of the spectrum, after the age of 40 men start to see a natural decline in the male hormone testosterone, which if not managed can lead to health issues in later in life such as cardiovascular disease, libido decline and prostate complications. Other risk factors that influence prostate health is being overweight or obese.


Maintaining good zinc intake and using herbs that can naturally promote prostate health such as saw palmetto, maca, Pygeum africanum, nettle leaf can improve the long-term health outlook of men. For heart health, ensuring the recommended intake of the mineral potassium and magnesium, vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids can help manage complications associated with cardiovascular conditions like high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.


Author: Phil Beard, MSc, BSc (Hons), is a Technical Educator at Viridian Nutrition. He holds a MSc in Nutritional Science and Health and BSc in Sports Science and Conditioning.



References:

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  • The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.

     

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