Globally, men die on average 5 years earlier than women, and for reasons that are largely preventable. From the physical aspects of health, such as prostate cancer, to the mental and emotional aspects of health, men have been fighting battles on multiple fronts. Which is why this article is dedicated to all the men who are currently fighting any battles; whether it be known or silent, you are doing great!
In terms of physical health, about 1 man in 8 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, according to cancer.org. Furthermore, heart disease has been found to be the number one killer of men in the United States. However, we firmly believe that prevention is much better than a cure so here are some tips that you can implement to ensure that your physical health is in optimum condition!
Exercise: although it sounds very obvious, regular exercise can do wonders in disease prevention. Being physically active regularly boosts HDL Cholesterol, also known as the "good" cholesterol as well as decreasing unhealthy triglycerides. This combination keeps blood flowing smoothly, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Exercise can also help in preventing and managing other diseases such as: stroke, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes. Exercise is a no brainer really; however, Rome wasn't built in a day! If you've suddenly got a burst of motivation to go to the gym and hit the weights heavy or run five laps around your local park...it's a trap! Starting small and then gradually progressing onto more challenging and strenuous activities will help to maintain motivation and create consistency.
Diet: again, it's the obvious answer but if we delve deeper, eating healthily can tremendously boost our propensity to prevent certain diseases. In the spirit of Movember, a number of foods have been proven to boost prostate health. Tomatoes are packed with an antioxidant called Lycopene, which may help to reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Also, broccoli contains many complex compounds that may help to protect against cancer. Researchers propose that broccoli sprouts contain a phytochemical called sulforaphane which solely attacks cancer cells whilst leaving healthy prostate cells as they are. Again, small changes are far more viable than huge, radical change. Why not chuck in a few pieces of broccoli in your noodle dishes or even a few slices of tomatoes in your lunchtime sandwiches?
"Real men don't cry". Well, this statement has done tremendous harm and absolutely no good when we consider that suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 45, according to ben.org. Society often pressures men to appear strong and not show any signs of weakness and this is only reinforced by the phrase above. But what is the shame in crying? In fact, research has found that shedding emotional tears releases oxytocin and endorphins, hormones that help us to feel good. The emotional health of men has been neglected for far too long so here are some tips to improve your emotional health!
Diet: Here at the Good Mood Company, we love a bit of gut health! But when we consider that 95% of serotonin (the happy hormone) is produced in the gut, taking care of out diets will impact our emotional health for the better. Foods such as almonds and dark chocolate are rich in polyphenols which help to reduce any inflammation in the gut.
Meditation: there's great power in breath and more and more studies have validated the immense benefits of meditation. Meditation enables us to be more mindful, thereby reducing the likelihood to ruminate on anxious thoughts that can lead to depression. Meditation has also shown to reduce the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) within our bodies, allowing us to be more calm and better respond to everyday situations. Setting aside 10 minutes everyday to engage in meditation can go a long way to help clear the clouds in our heads!
Finding a Hobby: Whether that be knitting or cycling or drawing, spending time doing meaningful activities will lead to more fulfilment in our lives. What's more, The Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology have found that engaging in social leisure activity slashed depression and psychological distress. For example, team sport activities is the perfect amalgamation of team building and exercise.
Fundamentally, it's okay not to be okay. It doesn't rain forever and clouds always pass away. So let's take the time to appreciate the men in our lives, for we are all in this together!
Written by Harin VInumon