By Katherine Jones and Liz Friedman, MS
Across the globe, men have shorter life expectancies than women, due to many factors including risk taking, stressful occupations, unhealthy eating, and higher rates of smoking and heavy drinking. As a result, they face a higher risk of accidents and disease. In the United States alone, more than 350,000 men lose their lives to heart disease each year! Diabetes and cancer deaths (prostate and colon) follow closely behind.
While death itself is not preventable, it’s important to know that there are five small changes that men can make that will pay a big dividend in improving the quality and quantity of life:
1) Schedule an annual doctor appointment. In a study from the Cleveland Clinic in 2019, it was reported that 72% of men would rather do household chores than check up on their own health. A 2016 survey by Orlando Healthfound that fear was the main reason men were skipping these vital appointments.
As many issues and illnesses can be reversed if caught at an early stage, avoiding the doctor can be a costly mistake. Early screening, detection and treatment greatly improves survival rates and greatly reduces the overall cost of treatment by 2-4x.
To overcome fear, take some time to review this list of what to expect at an office visit. If the anxiety is specific to the awkwardness of a prostate exam, you can practice deep breathing, and remind yourself that the exam lasts no longer than 20 seconds. As another option, discuss with your doctor whether an MRI of the prostate makes sense.
2) Reduce stress. While short term stress can be helpful in some cases, chronic stress can lead to a variety of diseases, including heart disease and high blood pressure. When stressed, the mind and body may turn to unhealthy eating habits and coping mechanisms.
One of the best ways to destress and help your body’s overall health is to practice mindfulness and meditation. Mindfulness activities include gardening, hiking, and art. While participating, note what is around you and focus on your tasks. Mindfulness-based treatments, such as meditation or simple optimism, have been shown to reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, and improve sleep.
3) Hydrate. Forty-three percent of all Americans do not drink enough water. Adequate hydration is necessary for good health in that every system of the body depends on water to function, including the kidneys, heart, brain and other organs. Drinking at least 8 glasses of mineral-rich water a day can help with brain performance (memory/mood/concentration), energy, weight management, temperature regulation, detoxification, digestive issues, and much more. If eight glasses seem like a lot, start slowly. Replace one sugary beverage with mineral water or herbal tea, and add one additional glass of water, slowly building to 8 glasses. Add muddled fruit for flavor and fun!
4) Eat well. An unhealthy diet is a leading cause of disability and death in the U.S. The standard American diet lacks adequate fruits, vegetables, whole grains, calcium and fiber and instead is filled with empty calories, saturated fats, and added salt and sugar. Choosing these low quality, low-nutritional value foods can lead to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and other illness.
It is always best to choose a wide variety of fresh high quality whole foods – organic and biodynamic whenever possible. Also be sure that your food choices are not negatively impacting your immune system. Sometimes, common foods, chemicals, and medications can overstress the immune system, making it hard to defend and repair as it should. Ingesting these hidden immune burdens can lead to chronic diseases, such as diabetes and chronic fatigue, along with many others. Alkalinize your diet and pinpoint foods that may cause triggers within your immune system, such as wheat and milk. Fill your diet with lentils, chickpeas, and legumes to replenish your body.
5) Replace missing nutrients. As noted above, most people do not get enough key nutrients from diet alone. PERQUE Life Guard™ or PERQUE Life Guard™ Mini provide 40 essential nutrients to protect heart, body and brain.
In addition, men tend to lose a lot of zinc throughout each day; experts estimate that over 300 enzyme reactions require zinc, and it’s necessary for testosterone production. PERQUE Energized Double Zinc Guard™ provides a blend of two ionized, fully soluble zinc sources for optimal absorption and utilization, assisting in essential immune and defense repair, along with sexual function.
Polyphenolic-rich PERQUE Repair Guard™ contains pomegranate juice extract to provide additional antioxidant and antibacterial benefits while also supporting prostate health. In addition, PERQUE Repair Guard™ helps with inflammatory balance and contains oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) that provide cellular support and stress protection.
Implementing these five daily changes can help change the course of a man’s health as well as the quality (and quantity!) of his life. Scheduling annual doctor’s appointments, lowering stress through mindful activities, hydrating, eating well, and providing the body with necessary nutrients will lead to improvements in mind and body health, so one can truly Live Long and Prosper!