June 24, 2004
With both Father’s Day and National Men’s Health Week (June 14 to 20) falling in the middle of June, wishes of wellness for all those wonderful men in our lives have inspired us to unilaterally declare the entire month Men’s Health Month! So help us celebrate by getting your guys wise to what they need to eat and do to ward off disease and keep vital and vigorous for the long run.
Men Need Their Nine
Men are dying from a terminal though highly preventable disease: ignorance.According to the National Cancer Institute: “Men are significantly less likely than women to recognize the health benefits of fruits and vegetables, such as their role in reducing the risk of many cancers, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.”
Maybe this is why only 4% of men are eating their recommended nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day.In fact, the average male consumes just three a day – and we bet at least one of those is french fries.Bad! Especially since men have higher rates of diet-related diseases than do women – and thus forgo those healthy, fiber and phytochemical-containing fruits and veggies at their peril.For example, did you know…
- Men have one-and-a-half times the death rate from heart disease as women.
- Men have one-and-a-half times the death rate from cancers as women.
- Men have one-and-a-half times the death rate from colorectal cancer as women.
Men who eat the most fruits and vegetables have sex more often.
OK, we made the last one up, but let’s face it: Health is sexy, so eat better to look and feel your best.
Exercise: The Natural Viagra?
Now this we did not make up.Men who exercise vigorously are 30% less likely to develop erectile dysfunction (ED) than their inactive peers, according to researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health.Three hours of aerobic activity (equivalent to a 30-minute run six days a week) conferred the benefit, though even a brisk walk each day may lower men’s risk by 15%.
The study, appearing in the Annals of Internal Medicine, also found that men who were overweight had a much higher incidence of ED, as did those who watched more than 20 hours of television per week.
Prostate Protection: Less Meat & Dairy – More Veggies for Lower Risk
Using food and drink intake information from over 50 countries, independent researcher William Grant investigated which dietary factors correlate most highly with prostate cancer risk – and which most significantly reduce risk.What he found was that animal products such as meat and dairy were the strongest risk factors for the disease, while fruit and vegetable consumption were among the strongest risk reduction factors.
Health-smart men have long known that lycopene can help prevent prostate cancer.
Men who eat 10 or more 1/2 cup servings of lycopene-rich foods such as tomatoes (including sauce and juice), watermelon and sweet red pepper had a 35% reduction in the incidence of prostate cancer, according to one landmark study.
But a new study published in the British Journal of Urology International suggests that lycopene may help men recovering from prostate cancer as well.How does lycopene do this? Two ways.First, by neutralizing cancer-causing free radicals; second, by stimulating the expression of a gene (connexin 43) that inhibits the growth of cancer cells.
Onions and garlic consumption also may cut prostate-cancer risk by as much as half, according to researchers with the National Cancer Institute.In a survey of 238 men with prostate cancer and 471 men without the disease, those who ate the most allium-containing vegetables (e.g., onions, scallions, chives, garlic) had a 50% lower risk of having prostate cancer than those who consumed the least.
Other research suggests that the trace mineral selenium may inhibit prostate-cancer-cell growth.One University of Arizona study of 974 men compared those who took 200 micrograms of selenium with a placebo-control group and found that the selenium-takers developed 63% fewer cases of prostate cancer!
It seems that selenium works synergistically with a natural enzyme in the body that helps to block free radical damage.(Sound familiar? Refresh your knowledge of the body’s antioxidant defense systems from the June 7th Director’s Corner.) Also, test-tube studies suggest selenium may help regulate cell turnover, inhibiting them from turning to the dark side (malignancy).
The richest source of selenium is, believe it or not, Brazil nuts: Just a couple contain 140 mcg.Other sources include cod, tuna and turkey.
Finally, guys, go easy on those zinc lozenges and supplements.Men who took more than 100 mg of zinc daily had double the risk of advanced prostate cancer, according a large-scale analysis of the health records of 47,000 subjects done by the National Cancer Institute.Stay in the pink by keeping zinc intake under 40 mg a day.