In support of Men’s Health Week this week, Health Shield want to ensure our members are as healthy as they can be.
This year the campaign is to banish belly fat — a type of fat common in men which is bad for any one’s health. Although it is a surface fat, it can also get deeper into your body and around your vital organs. If you suffer with excess belly fat you put yourself at an increased risk of:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes
- Colorectal cancer
- High blood pressure
Looking at the wider picture, men’s health needs to be understood in greater detail and taken seriously as the average man’s life expectancy is 78.5 years compared to that of a woman’s 82.5 years. One in five men will die before he reaches retirement age so it’s important to start making changes towards a healthier future now.
It is a good idea to continue a healthy lifestyle in the workplace since the vast majority of people live most of their week at work. Your work–life balance is what impacts your mental health and wellbeing which in turn can affect your overall health.
If you’re not feeling great, or are feeling down, don’t worry — you’re not alone. It is now thought that one in four people will suffer with a mental health problem of some kind in the space of a year. As long as you recognise the warning signs and seek help as soon as possible you’re doing the right thing and will come out the other side.
75% Of those who take their own life in the UK each year are men, and mental health remains as the most common reason for male deaths under the age of 35. Some of the best ways to alleviate symptoms is to talk, ensure you have a healthy work–life balance and find something that helps you to feel calm and relaxed. Downplaying symptoms or ignoring them will not make them go away meaning it’s important to look after your health and educate yourself on how to stay mentally healthy, both at home and in the workplace.
Heart and circulatory diseases, cancer and alcohol-related illnesses are just some of the conditions in the UK that are more prominent in men than they are in women.
How can you keep healthier?
Know your cholesterol levels
Having high cholesterol is more common in men than women. The NHS offer a cholesterol check every five years to those aged 40–74. However, if you are worried, or just want to check for peace of mind, you can call in and see your GP. Treating high cholesterol doesn’t necessarily mean medication but often can just mean a better lifestyle, including diet and exercise. It is estimated that the NHS check in its first five years prevented 2,500 heart attacks or strokes as a result of people receiving treatment.
Keep an eye on your blood pressure
Also referred to as hypertension, 32% of men have high blood pressure. A higher number of men suffer from hypertension but are unaware of it, simply because unless you have regular checks, you won’t notice anything until your body is already damaged. Your ideal blood pressure should be between 90/60 and 120/80. If yours is consistently above 140/90 you may be prescribed medication to help control it. High blood pressure can contribute to many other health problems too, including heart attacks and strokes so it’s a good place to start with becoming a healthier you.
Revive your diet
Make sure you are getting your recommended daily amount of fruit and vegetables as the antioxidants from these can help prevent damage to cells which lead to diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, eye disease and diabetes. You should also remember that the more plant-based foods that you consume the less calories you are eating which will help you lose weight, improve your cholesterol levels and general health.
Look after your eyes
When growing up everyone is taught how eating carrots helps you to see in the dark, but did you know that mangoes are just as good for your eyes? Mangoes provide us with beta-carotene and vitamins C and E which are three vital vitamins that help to protect your eyes from damage. If mangoes aren’t your thing, or you want some variety, you can also try a kiwi.
Lower your risk of stroke
Orange juice is a great of vitamin C but it is also now thought that two glasses a day can lower your risk of stroke. It is all down to the increased vitamin C and its ability to reduce your blood pressure, control cholesterol and keep artery damage to a minimum.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men. 130 Men every day in the UK are told they have prostate cancer with one in eight getting it in their lifetime, this makes looking after your prostate as important as ever. Blueberries are a good antioxidant that can help in reducing your risks, but plums are shown to have a similar effect. A good healthy diet and lifestyle can play a part in reducing your risks of getting prostate cancer, but ensure you have regular checks — especially if you have had a relative diagnosed previously as you are more at risk.
Ease the pressure of a heart attack
Every seven minutes in the UK someone suffers a heart attack. One thing you can do to help prevent it happening, as well as the usual diet and healthy lifestyle, is to drink more black tea. Harvard Medical school researchers have found that people drinking black tea daily showed a 45% decrease in heart attacks. It is thought this is due to the flavonoids in the tea reducing the build-up of fat in the arteries.
Control your weight
Yogurts can play a much more important part in your diet than you think. A light 8oz yogurt contains almost half of the calcium that you need each day to fight off the obesity gene. Without calcium, your body stores fat much easier. Take into account the protein in them too and you can suppress your appetite and boost the hormone that helps burn calories.