Wholesome Dwelling: Well being Challenges For Males

Men have different health challenges and outcomes than women. The average life expectancy of men is almost five years below that of women. The most common causes of death in men are heart disease, cancer, and accidents. Living a healthy lifestyle at an early age can help improve longevity and reduce the risk of chronic illness.

Here are some statistics on men 18 and older from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

14.9% are in good to poor health.

31% drank five or more alcoholic beverages at least once in a day in the past year.

42.4% do not meet the daily activity recommendations.

51.9% have high blood pressure.

In Missouri, 20.6% of men smoke compared to 17.2% nationwide.

34.9% of Missouri men are obese.

Lifestyle factors that can affect men’s health include:

Diet. Eating a healthy diet based on lean proteins, whole grains, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables will help reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer. Good nutrition also plays an important role in reproductive health and fertility. Eating fewer fast foods and processed foods will help reduce sodium and saturated fat in your diet, which will help lower blood pressure and other disease risks.

Exercise. Getting enough exercise will help prevent weight gain, lower lipids, and lower blood pressure. Men who work in physically active jobs often feel that they are getting enough exercise; this may or may not be true. Exercise that matters is something that increases your heart rate and works your heart.

Stress. This is a big problem for many men – work pressures, family issues, finances, and more can all add up to stressful situations. Stress triggers inflammation in the body, which is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Stress also leads to unhealthy lifestyle choices like smoking, drinking alcohol, and eating more processed / less nutritious foods.

Healthy relationships. Men tend to be more independent and isolate when they feel down. Loneliness and social isolation can negatively impact mental health and well-being, and potentially lead to depression.

Sleep. Getting enough sleep is important for mental and physical health. Chronic sleep deprivation slows muscle growth and affects the immune system.

Substance abuse. Men smoke, drink or use drugs more often than women. They are also more likely to die from an overdose. If there was just one thing that you could change to improve your health, then quitting smoking would have the greatest benefit. Alcohol should be limited to no more than two drinks per day. The use of illegal drugs should be avoided at all costs.

Weight. Because of testosterone, men tend to gain fat in their bellies. This is the type of fat that is particularly unhealthy because it surrounds your organs. Too much belly fat increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and dementia. The desired waist size for men is less than 40 inches.

Vitamins and minerals are also essential for men’s health. Vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and vitamin D are important for good fertility and sperm mobility. Getting enough potassium from food helps lower blood pressure. Men need more fiber than women – while women should aim for 25 grams per day, men need around 30 grams per day. Make sure you eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily to meet these requirements.

Too often men wait to see the doctor until something is seriously wrong. Men who are involved in their own self-care live healthier lives, have better relationships, and raise healthier children. Take the initiative and schedule regular checkups for blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and cancer. Follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations if you have any health issues.

Lemon Garlic Steak and Green Beans

For 4

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon chili powder

3 cloves of garlic, grated and divided

½ teaspoon salt, divided

1 pound boneless strip steak, trimmed

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp water

1 pound green beans, trimmed

Mix the oil, paprika, chilli powder, half of the garlic and a quarter teaspoon of salt in a small bowl. Rub the mixture on both sides of the steak. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add the steak and cook, flip it over and adjust the heat as needed to avoid smoking until a thermometer reads 135 degrees for medium infrequent, about 10-12 minutes. Place on a clean cutting board and let rest.

Add lemon juice and water to the pan. Scrap any browned parts. Add green beans, remaining garlic and salt. Cover and cook until the beans are tender and crispy, about 5 minutes. Slice the steak and serve with the beans.

Nutritional information: 215 calories, 9 g fat, 10 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 24 g protein, 354 mg sodium

Anita Marlay, RD, LD, is a nutritionist in the Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Department at Lake Regional Health System in Osage Beach, Missouri.

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