Irish men should be encouraged to take more responsibility for their health. The National Men’s Health Policy 2008-2013 from the Department of Health stated that Male life expectancy is 71 years — five years lower than women. Men are more likely to die from the leading causes of death in Ireland i.e. heart disease/stroke, cancer and respiratory disease. The best way to manage your risk of heart disease and cancer is to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. There is a lot of overlap between the risk factors for heart disease and cancer, so taking steps to prevent one condition means you are also preventing the other. Taking responsibility means attending your GP more regularly and taking part in health screenings when available.
What tips can you offer to men on maintaining good general health, from a dietary and lifestyle point of view?
There are many ways to improve your diet and lifestyle in order to help decrease your risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and cancer and lung disease. Making dietary changes is vital.
I’d recommend the heart healthy Mediterranean Diet – which recommends healthy, tasty and nutritious foods. The plan includes lots of fruits, vegetables, olives, olive oil, legumes and whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, oats and wholemeal pasta. People who follow the Mediterranean Diet enjoy fish regularly, and there is low consumption of meat and meat products. The Mediterranean diet discourages the consumption of saturated fats and hydrogenated oils (trans fats), both of which contribute to heart disease, while spices and olive oil are used to turn simple dishes into culinary delights.
Switch to Healthier Fats
The total amount of fat you eat, whether high or low isn’t really linked with disease. What really matters is the type of fat you eat. The “bad” fats – saturated and trans fats, increase the risk for certain diseases. The “good” fats however – monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, lower disease risk. The key to a healthy diet is to include more good fats such as fatty fish (salmon, sardines, anchovies, tuna), seeds such as flaxseed and seed oils, olive oil, avocados, nuts (walnuts, macadamia nuts, almonds) and also nut butters. Furthermore, it is important to limit saturated fats to a minimum by reducing red meat, dairy, vegetable oils, pastries, cakes, biscuits and fried foods.
Omega-3 fatty acids from cold water fatty fish have many benefits for heart health. They have been shown to lower triglycerides, reduce cholesterol, regulate heart rate and make blood platelets less sticky, overall improving heart health considerably.
Exercise is essential to good health. When you feel good, your heart benefits, it reduces the risk of cancer. And it stops you joining the fat/obesity/ diabetes epidemic. You don’t have to be attending gym daily, but it’s important that you take every opportunity to move your body e.g. take the stairs instead of the lift, walk to the shop, get out and move your body as much as your life allows. Try stress relieving techniques such as yoga, pilates,
If you smoke, stop now… Smoking is the biggest contributory factor to the main killer cancers, especially lung cancer, where it accounts for a whopping 95 per cent. Smoking is also a major risk factor for heart disease as it contributes to hardening of the arteries. Smoking cessation is necessary to reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer and lung disease.
Reduce alcohol consumption: Irish men have been known to binge drink at weekends and regularly consume a lot more than the recommended 2-3 units. So, if you drink, drink in true moderation: two or three units at a session and no more than a couple of nights a week.
What supplements do you consider to be key for men and why
A Multi-Vitamin-Mineral is “nutritional insurance”. Choose a multi-vitamin-mineral with adequate zinc, calcium, magnesium, B-vitamins, selenium, chromium, vitamin C, vitamin D3 and E.
Omega-3 fish oil, which is high in EPA and DHA, is vital for heart, brain, joint and eye health. Your brain needs 250mg DHA to maintain adequate brain function, so make sure your preferred fish oil contains enough DHA. Fish oil has been shown to lower cholesterol, blood pressure and triglycerides, therefore making it my top choice for keeping your heart healthy. Surprisingly, a massive 89% of Irish people are not consuming sufficient oily fish in their diet, so often there is a need to take a good quality omega-3 fish oil.Make sure the fish oil you choose is 100% pure, natural and stable.
with no side effects. Your body produces coenzyme Q10; it helps cells manage your body’s energy supply and acts as a powerful antioxidant. But as you get older, production decreases, so its vital you top up with a good supplement.
Green Supplement – let’s face it we don’t eat enough vegetables so add a tablespoon of a greens powder into a smoothie or protein shake to get extra phytonutrients.
Ginger and Curcumin: These healthy spices are a must for good health. They provide many phytochemicals to help keep your body functioning optimally.
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