By Alinda Boyd, Naturopath.
Men’s health is an oft overlooked area of health care that doesn’t fill the headlines or garner the attention it deserves as often as it should. With 1 in 2 Aussie men experiencing a chronic disease including cardiovascular disease, arthritis, diabetes and mental health issues, it’s important that men get talking about their health. Initiatives such as Movember help us shine a light on men’s health, and below you’ll find some easy to adopt ways to support men’s health.
Startlingly, 7 out of 10 Australian men are overweight or obese, which increases their risk factors for other health conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and osteoarthritis, just to name a few. Dietary changes are key – speak to our qualified in store naturopaths and nutritionists for advice regarding weight loss. Movement, is also essential and while gyms, boot camps and team sports suit some…free and low cost activities are also provided by some local councils. Parkrun, a free weekly run, walk or jog, caters for all fitness levels with locations Australia-wide and is a fantastic community-based event to kick-start your fitness journey.
Talk it out
Nearly 1 in 2 Aussie males have experienced a mental health problem during their lifetime, with anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse and depression common among men. The stigma attached to mental health is beginning to lift thanks to organisations such as Beyond Blue, Lifeline and Livin who remind us that #itaintweaktospeak. As men are less likely to utilise mental health services such as GPs, psychologists, psychiatrists and allied mental health services, it’s important to spread the word that these organisations exist and are just a phone call away in providing mental health support.
Minerals for men
For men, the standout minerals to support male health are selenium and zinc. Both selenium and zinc are essential for male hormone production, prostate health, fertility and immunity. Selenium rich foods can be found in Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, fish, meat and eggs. While you’ll find zinc in pumpkin, hemp and sunflower seeds, nuts, meat and shellfish (including oysters).
Specific herbal medicines can support male health and help with stress support, energy levels, and also support male physiology. These herbs include saw palmetto, maca, sarsaparilla, tribulus, damiana and Korean ginseng. Our naturopaths and herbalists can provide advice on which herbs are best suited for maximizing men’s health.
Love your liver
We know it’s involved in detoxification, but its actions are largely unsung, with little attention paid to it until things go wrong…we’re talking about the liver of course! Obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, too much alcohol, and sugar can all contribute to liver dysfunction and disease. Lifestyle changes and liver support in the form of herbal medicines, nutrients and dietary changes can help give your liver a little love – visit us in store for advice.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. The health of Australia’s males, 2011. Canberra: AIHW, Jun 2011.