With it being Men’s Health Month and due to the recent release of Ian Marber’s book ‘Man Food’, today I would like to talk to you about men’s nutritional health. This subject is often neglected and the industry is instead dominated by female-focused materials, solutions and consultations, but why? In this blog I would like to highlight the disparity in the amount of males who seek health advice compared to women and discuss some men’s health issues.
A Lack of Awareness for Men’s Nutrition
There have been some fascinating studies which have shown the void between women’s and men’s approach to nutrition. For example, men are 50% less likely to seek professional health advice than women and are 60% less likely to follow a health regime, nutritional food plan or prescription. As Ian Marber has said ‘men are very black and white when it comes to nutrition, something is either good or bad’. Though in some cases this is true (such as vegetables are good and alcohol is bad), blanket statements and generalisations can’t apply to every aspect of health.
So why is this? Well there are a few reasons. For some men of a certain generation, seeking nutritional advice isn’t something they would consider as particularly ‘manly’. Furthermore, when it comes to the portrayal of health in men’s magazines and media, the focus is more on either weight loss or muscle gain, with little attention actually being paid to overall health. In this sense, men’s health media is less proactive than women’s, with the focus being generally more on aesthetical topics. In fact, Ian Marber noted that out of the 7,000 clients he has seen in his years practising as a nutritional therapist, only 500 have been male, that’s only 14%! He also commented that these male clients mostly sought his advice reactively; they had either had a health scare, noticed their cholesterol levels had risen, wanted to lose weight or have been pushed into doing so by their partner!
An issue which really personifies the lack of awareness that men have for their own wellbeing is prostate health. A 2016 study revealed that 50% of men didn’t know where there prostate was, 92% had no idea of the prostate’s function and 17% knew absolutely nothing about their prostate. This really is staggering as prostate cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK and it only affects men.
As is the case with many life threatening diseases, there is very rarely a nutritional treatment, however, there are some preventative lifestyle changes which have the potential to reduce the risk and severity of prostate inflammation and enlargement:
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables high in carotenoids; this phytochemical can be found in brightly coloured fruits and veg such as carrots, apricots, oranges, squash and grapefruit. Carotenoids can help to reduce or prevent the inflammation of the prostate.
Watch your weight; being overweight is a huge risk factor for prostate inflammation, enlargement and cancer.
Moderate your dairy intake; too much dairy can increase the production of the insulin growth factor (IGF1), a hormone which can cause inflammation. Limit your dairy intake to no more than 2 servings a day to avoid this.
Though many men are very healthy and some even seek nutritional advice to optimise their health, not enough make proactive and healthy lifestyle choices. The reasoning behind this is multi-faceted, but what is clear is that a great deal of men in the UK are leaving themselves vulnerable to life-threatening diseases through failing to monitor their health closely enough. This is where I can help; if you would like to discuss how to achieve a healthier life, then please do book yourself in for a free 30 minute discovery call today.
I would really recommend reading Ian Marber’s new book Man Food, it is packed with fantastic nutritional advice!