Some men want to avoid visiting the doctor’s office at all costs. If something doesn’t feel right, they give it a few extra days to resolve on its own. Checkups are pretty much out of the question.
The problem with this “don’t look for trouble” approach is that trouble ultimately finds them. More importantly, the delay in seeking care can allow a health condition to worsen, turning a routine issue into something more serious.
On the other hand, taking smart measures to stay out of the doctor’s office is a worthy goal. By combining a healthy diet, exercise, stress reduction, natural supplements and, yes, regular checkups, we can fine-tune health and avoid disease.
Health is heavily influenced by diet. Think lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, particularly the green leafy variety. But there are specific foods that can supercharge immunity, prevent heart disease and support overall health.
Here are my top ten recommendations:
- Blueberries: Blueberries are rich in phytonutrients, natural chemicals that promote good health. High in antioxidants and low in calories, they are also full of fiber and vitamin C.
- Yogurt: High in protein, calcium, potassium and vitamin B, yogurt also contains abundant beneficial bacteria (probiotics). These microbes are vital for digestion, cancer prevention and even maintaining a positive mood.
- Coconut oil: In moderation, coconut oil boosts metabolism, supports immunity, brain health and increases good cholesterol.
- Tempeh: Made from fermented soy, tempeh is highly nutritious and easy to prepare. It can improve cholesterol and help control blood sugar. It also contains a compound that lowers the risk of prostate cancer.
- Sauerkraut: Fermented foods like sauerkraut provide a wealth of health benefits. A great probiotic food, sauerkraut is rich in fiber, vitamins A and C and phytonutrients. In addition, natural chemicals produced in the fermentation process have been found to fight cancer.
- Cruciferous Vegetables: Dense in vitamin A and C, this group of vegetables includes cabbage, broccoli, kale and cauliflower. They produce a compound called DIM that reduces inflammation, boosts immunity and optimizes hormone metabolism.
- Chia Seeds: High in antioxidants, nutrients and protein, chia seeds also contain omega-3 fatty acids. They support healthy glucose metabolism and immunity.
- Grass-Fed Beef: Lower in fat than the grain-fed variety, grass-fed beef is higher in both omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.
- Pumpkin Seeds: More than a healthy snack, pumpkin seeds are loaded with zinc, a critical mineral for immune health.
- Sweet Potatoes: High in vitamin B6, sweet potatoes are also a rich source for vitamins C and A, as well as iron and magnesium.
Sometimes food doesn’t give us everything we need. Nutritional supplements supply necessary vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other compounds that help the body thrive.
Some of the most important supplements include:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: The body doesn’t manufacture omega-3s, so we have to get them through diet or supplements. Omega-3s lower triglycerides and inflammation, support immunity and may also help with mood.
- Vitamin D: By supporting calcium balance, vitamin D can prevent arthritis and osteoporosis. It also helps reduce blood pressure, boost immunity, fight cancer and provide numerous additional health benefits.
- L-Carnitine: In addition to increasing fat burning, L-Carnitine boosts heart health and supports immunity.
- Quercetin: A powerful antioxidant found in many fruits and vegetables, quercetin helps protect DNA and has been found to fight cancer.
- Magnesium: In addition to benefiting cardiovascular health, magnesium improves blood pressure, regulates blood sugar and helps detoxify the body.
- Resveratrol: Another antioxidant, resveratrol protects against age-associated diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
- Modified Citrus Pectin: In addition to being an exceptional detoxifier, modified citrus pectin controls a protein called galectin-3 that is associated with inflammation, heart disease and cancer.
- Maitake Mushrooms: A powerful medicinal mushroom, maitake supports immunity, digestion and healthy blood sugar.
- Green Tea: Compounds found in green tea boost immunity, reduce inflammation, fight cancer and protect long-term health.
- Garlic Extract: Garlic benefits cardiovascular health, has antimicrobial properties and supports the immune system.
- Men’s Essentials Plus: A unique men’s multinutrient formula designed to support hormone balance, detoxification, cardiovascular health and the unique nutritional needs of men.
While a healthy diet is a great start, our bodies need regular exercise. Even small changes can have big results. Walk around the block; take a bike ride with the kids; climb the stairs instead of riding the elevator. Aerobic exercise combined with light resistance training is the first order of business, but I also recommend incorporating meditative, mind-body approaches. For example, yoga and Tai Chi tone the body, calm the mind and are shown to offer numerous protective health benefits.
Research from the University of California San Francisco and Harvard has shown walking can dramatically improve prostate health. Their study found that regular, brisk walking, three hours or more per week, slowed down prostate cancer in 57 percent of patients. This is not an isolated finding. Exercise saves lives.
Pay Attention To Symptoms
Men have a tendency to suffer quietly when faced with minor discomforts. However, small problems may be the body’s way of signaling there’s something more serious going on.
For example, constipation can indicate serious digestive problems or even colon cancer. If bowel problems persist for more than a couple of weeks, tell your doctor.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) may be the proverbial canary in the coal mine signaling heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol or other conditions. It’s fine to get a prescription for ED, but you also need to address its cause.
Another condition that deserves attention is acid reflux, which can lead to ulcers and even cancer. Avoid processed and acidic foods, caffeine, alcohol, sugar and trans fats. Again, if the problem persists, a doctor’s visit is in order.
The bottom line is: Don’t be passive. Mindfully manage diet, supplements, exercise and annual checkups. Find a system that works and stick with it — your body will reward you with good health and greater energy over the long term.