Listen up, guys. If you’ve been thinking your health isn’t something you have to pay attention to, it’s time to think again.
Typically fewer men than women go to the doctor to get checked out, but it’s just as important for men to stay on top of their symptoms. We’ve put together a list of things that men over 40 should know in order to stay healthy.
- Prevention is important
Men over 40 have increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and many other health conditions. The best way to deal with these conditions is to catch them early, or before they start. Regular health checks with your doctor are key to prevention.
- Your diet can make you healthier
It’s not a matter of eating a single food (or group of foods) that will magically make you healthier. Instead, it’s about creating a diet that’s based on a variety of whole foods so you’re eating well the majority of the time.
Some whole foods that are important to include are:
- Salmon – high in Omega 3 fatty acids to reduce the risk of heart disease and help manage inflammation.
- Seafood – high in zinc which contributes to prostate health.
- Red peppers – a rich source of vitamin C and lycopene, an antioxidant that helps to reduce cell damage
- Cruciferous vegetables – provide fibre and help the body to detoxify and get rid of excess cholesterol and hormones it doesn’t need to hang onto
- Mind your midsection
Risk for diabetes and heart disease increases above the age of 40. Excess abdominal fat is a risk factor for both of these conditions. If you carry weight around the belly, it’s a good idea to adjust your diet and exercise so that you can shed these extra pounds. Losing as little as 4 cm from your waist can reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
- Pay attention to your mental health
Men are less likely than women to see their doctors for health issues, and much less likely to come forward about suspected mental health issues. This is changing. With some high profile men including Prince Harry (who has helped set up mental health charity Heads Together) talking about mental health, it’s becoming normalized and easier for more men to speak up.
Your mental health plays a role in your overall health. Don’t brush off symptoms of low mood, irritability, lack of concentration or inability to control emotions as something you just have to deal with. There are alternatives to medication that can be very effective in helping men deal with mental health issues of all kinds.
- Your fertility can be improved
When we think about men’s health, fertility is an important subject to consider. Did you know that you can take steps to improve the health and viability of your sperm?
General healthy eating and maintaining a regular exercise schedule and a healthy weight are some of the key things you can do to keep your sperm count healthy. It’s possible to take a male fertility test to have your sperm health assessed so you can make improvements according to the results. Ask your doctor for more information.
- Bone health is an issue for men too
Bone density decreasing with age is often thought of as a “womens issue,” but that’s not the case. If you’re over 50 and have had a bone fracture, consider getting your bone density tested to rule out a possible problem.
If bone density is found to be low there are measures you can take to improve it. Things like quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake, increasing calcium in your diet and keeping your vitamin D levels optimal can help. Resistance training is also an important factor in building bone strength at any age.