We don’t talk enough about men’s health, and we really should. Did you know the health outcomes for men are worse than those for women? The statistics around men’s health in Canada are quite surprising. Compared to women, for example, men are 70% more likely to die from heart disease and 50% more likely to die from diabetic complications. Why? Explanations may include a lack of awareness, discussion, and understanding of men’s health issues, along with reluctance by men to seek medical care. Despite this, 70% of men’s health conditions are preventable with healthy living strategies. Without a doubt, increased recognition and knowledge are key steps toward supporting common conditions faced by men such as heart disease, diabetes, prostate concerns, anxiety, and hormonal imbalance.
A movement toward healthy aging and prevention of disease requires all men to follow some very important steps, such as incorporating regular checkups and screening tests for early disease detection, consuming a nutritious diet, engaging in fitness activities, supplementing with key nutrients, eliminating or minimizing smoking and alcohol use, and integrating stress reduction techniques.
Super Healthy Eating for Men
Put down the junk food! Supporting optimal health requires eating whole, real foods that are fresh and local whenever possible. Every meal should include protein, healthy fats, and fibre, while reducing the intake of inflammatory foods (such as dairy, gluten, and sugar) and drinking sufficient amounts of water throughout the day.
Protein is a key macronutrient that supports energy, bone strength, blood sugar, food cravings, brain function, hormones, and metabolism. Adults need around 0.8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, while more active individuals, such as athletes, may need a higher intake of 1.4–2 g of protein per kilogram of body weight. When it comes to protein, you can choose animal and/or plant-based protein. However, increased consumption of plant-based protein offers significant personal health and environmental benefits. Try incorporating food sources such as chia, quinoa, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds, and a plant-based protein powder into your super healthy eating plan.
Vital Nutrients for Men
Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients that support your body every day. Multivitamin and mineral supplements geared for men contain a specific combination of nutrients to address men’s unique health needs. They are often age-specific, commonly available for men under or over the age of 50. Nutrients found in these supplements help prevent deficiencies and maintain good health, and depending on the specific nutrient, they support specific body systems such as the cardiovascular, nervous, and digestive systems.
Zinc, for example, is an essential mineral that supports many functions in the body, including metabolism, immune function, and a healthy reproductive system. After the age of 35, men often experience a decline in testosterone levels, leading to changes in energy, performance, muscle mass and fat distribution, hair growth, and even emotional and cognitive well-being. Research shows that zinc supplementation may help increase testosterone levels in older men with marginal zinc deficiency.  Zinc supplementation has also been shown to improve sperm count and motility, along with the physical characteristics of sperm.  This key mineral protects men against an enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hypertrophy (or BPH), and may do this by inhibiting 5-alpha-reductase – the enzyme that converts testosterone to dihydro-testosterone (or DHT).  High levels of 5-alpha-reductase are associated with obesity, insulin resistance, male pattern baldness, and BPH.
Multivitamin and mineral supplements provide additional nutrients such as vitamin C and selenium to help protect against oxidative stress, as well as calcium, magnesium, and vitamins D3 and K2 for bone support. When it comes to multivitamins, choose a non-GMO and whole-food daily formula to help prevent nutrient deficiencies and maintain good health and energy.
One very popular natural health product that men often turn to for prostate support is saw palmetto. This extract is derived from the berries of a palm tree that grows in the southeastern United States. It has been used for centuries to alleviate the symptoms of BPH such as frequent urination, weak stream, inadequate bladder emptying, and excessive nighttime urination. Similar to zinc, saw palmetto extract seems to inhibit the action of DHT to help support prostate health and function.
Saw palmetto is also known for its anti-inflammatory effects.  One study found that taking saw palmetto extract continuously at a daily dose of 320 mg for 15 years was an effective and safe way to prevent the progression of BPH. 
Stress is not a stranger to any of us, and prolonged stress will negatively impact energy, mood, and sexual health. Maca is an adaptogenic herb that has been used for thousands of years throughout the Andean mountains to improve the body’s resistance to mental and physical stress. Maca has a dense nutritional profile, including significant levels of protein, essential amino acids, free fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Clinical trials have shown that maca improves the emotional aspects of sexual health in men and women. In one trial, men ages 21–56 were supplemented with either 1.5 g or 3 g of maca per day.  After eight weeks of supplementation, the men’s self-perception of sexual desire was found to improve significantly and independently of their hormone levels. An additional study discovered that male cyclists who took 2 g of maca per day for two weeks experienced increased feelings of sexual desire compared to baseline and placebo.  Look for a high-quality maca supplement that is ethically farmed, sun dried to preserve vital nutrients, and gelatinized to make it more bioavailable and easier to digest.
Lycopene, one of many carotenoids that produce plant pigments, is responsible for the red to pink colours seen in tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelon, and papaya.  As a potent antioxidant, lycopene protects against free radical damage in the body and has been shown to support cardiovascular health. In one meta-analysis, higher tomato intake was associated with blood pressure improvements, lower LDL cholesterol, and improved blood vessel function.  Lycopene accumulates in the prostate gland and has been shown to help reduce urinary tract symptoms and inhibit BPH progression.  Other research has shown that higher lycopene consumption is associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer. 
Healthy eating, key supplements, and being physically active are a few key ways in which men can take a more active role in their health and lead to better health outcomes throughout life.
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