Men are 24 percent less likely than women to have visited a doctor within the past year and are 22 percent more likely to have neglected their cholesterol tests, AHRQ research shows (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality).
SECRETS FOR SEXY, HEALTHY MEN
Most men know the basic health drill: eat more fresh, mostly organic foods; don't smoke; exercise; and get an annual health exam. But there's more to being a healthy, sexy man than choosing organic beef and hitting the gym a few days a week. Follow some of the "secrets" we list here and, in just a couple of weeks, you'll see a boost in your vitality--and you might just live longer, too.
TAKE A TIME OUT. Getting into the Zen of the present moment reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, increases energy, and improves memory and immunity. A relaxed man also has better sex. Slow down for just 10-20 minutes a few days a week: try deep, belly breathing; getting outdoors for a walk (without your headphones); taking a yoga class; or checking out a meditation app, our favorite is Headspace.
LMAO. Here's a good excuse to go to a comedy club with the guys: Laughing eases stress, promotes social bonding, and lowers blood pressure. It may even boost your immune system. So bring some humor into your life, whether it's with friends, a funny book, or a movie.
POWER-UP THE MORNING. Skipping breakfast may make you feel lethargic and give you middle-of-the-day cravings for sugar and other foods that will expand your waistline. A balanced breakfast--say, a bowl of oatmeal topped with raisins, walnuts, and a dash of flax seed, plus a side of eggs--will rev-up your metabolism and maintain your energy. Plus, fiber in your daily diet regulates digestion and can moderate inflammation, cut your risk for diabetes, and promote healthy cholesterol levels.
POUR A CUP OF GREEN. Drinking a few cups of green tea each day can improve memory and cognition in men. Rich in cancer-fighting polyphenols, green tea is also credited with boosting immunity, firing up your metabolism, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. High-quality gunpowder green tea will be rolled tightly into small pellets that maintain their shape regardless of time in storage. Try Ceylon Organic Gunpowder Green Tea.
EAT A RAINBOW. Every meal should include a variety of fruits and vegetables so you can reap the health benefits. Vibrantly colored produce is packed with flavonoids and carotenoids, powerful compounds that help reduce inflammation. Antioxidant-rich dark leafy greens may be some of the best cancer-preventing foods. They also help with weight management and regulate digestion.
LOOK SHARP. Don't forget about protecting your eyes. Get your Joe Cool style and protect your eyes against cataracts, cancer, and even sunburn by choosing shades that provide 99-100% UV absorption or UV 400. When it comes to the look of your skin, the best moisturizer is pure organic unrefined African Shea butter. A little goes a long way and leaves your skin hydrated and flawless. It also contains natural anti-sun properties to prevent UV damage.
HIT THE SACK. Jimmy Fallon might be funny, but the late hours won't do much for your health. The number of hours of sleep needed varies for everyone. What's most important is the quality of sleep you get. If you feel refreshed and ready for the day when you wake, then you're getting good sleep. If you don't, it's time to change your pre-bedtime habits: Turn off digital devices an hour before bedtime, keep your phone off and out of your bedroom; eat your last meal before 7 p.m.; stick to a regular sleep-wake schedule and ... watch Jimmy the next day while you're working out.
SEX IT UP. A relaxed, well-rested man has better sex. In turn, sex can make you look and feel younger, reduce stress, boost immunity, enhance sleep, protect against prostate cancer, and improve cardiovascular health. Some studies even suggest a link between the frequency and enjoyment of sex with longevity. Yes sir, sex just might help you live longer.
Your wellness provider can help keep you in good health, but the responsibility ultimately falls on you. Check in with your doc once a year for cholesterol and blood pressure screenings, and a prostate exam and colonoscopy (if needed). There are not many cancers that we can either prevent or detect early enough to make a difference, but these are two. After all, you're worth it, right?
FOOD FOR THOUGHT. . .
"The best gifts anyone can give to themselves are good health habits." - Ellen J. Barrier
A diet high in red meat has been touted to either fatten your waistline and lead to heart disease, or to transform you into a leaner, healthier version of yourself. So what's the skinny on eating red meat the healthy way?
We have been conditioned to believe that we need to eat meat with every meal. However, the fact is that most Americans get enough protein in their diets. Reducing meat consumption has many benefits. If you find yourself eating meat with every meal, try limiting your meat consumption to a few times a week. Nuts, sprouted mung beans and chickpeas are a great meat protein alternative. Beef, lamb, and venison provide quality protein, B-vitamins, iron, and zinc. Depending on the cut, meat can be low in fat. When buying meat, pay attention to the source, cut, processing, and preparation method.
SOURCE. Meat can be derived from grass-fed cattle that has been raised organically and not fed drugs or hormones. After slaughter, organic meats have not had any chemical preservatives added. Conventional meat comes from animals bred on factory farms and usually exposed to hormones. The quality of life an animal has had also affects the quality of meat for food consumption. While the scientific jury continues to debate the health benefits of organic cattle, if you are going to eat meat, holistic health providers advise choosing organic meats.
PROCESSING. Meat can go through a variety of processing to create what may be some of your favorite foods: hot dogs, hamburgers, sausage, deli meat. Read the labels to understand exactly what is added to these products. The more words that look like chemical names, the more processing the meat has gone through and the less nutrient dense it will be. Avoid these types of meat products. Rule of thumb: If you can't pronounce it and you don't know what it is, then it doesn't belong in your food.
CUT. The leanest cuts of meat tend to have the word "loin" in the name: sirloin, tenderloin, pork loin. Also good options are round and bottom round, chuck shoulder steaks, filet mignon, flank steak, bone-in rib chops, lamb loin, and 90-95% lean ground beef.
PORTION SIZE. Three to four ounces, or about the size your palm for a burger patty, steak, or chop.
PREPARATION. Grilled steak is a favorite for many people, but the compounds that form when meat is cooked at very high heat have been linked to the disease process in many animal studies. Enjoy grilled meats occasionally; more often, choose gentler cooking methods such as braising, stewing, and steaming. If you grill or broil, flip the meat frequently, and don't set it right on the flame. Our favorite way of cooking meat is on a pan with coconut oil, on very low heat. Low heat is the key to cooking tender delicious meat.
BEEFY ALTERNATIVES. Bison/buffalo and venison are lower in saturated fat than beef, high in protein, and good sources of vitamins and minerals as long as they are organic. If you are vegan or vegetarian, pea and hemp protein as well as sprouted mung beans are great protein sources.
RECIPE: SIMPLE GRILLED VENISON BURGERS
If you are unsure about the taste of venison, these burgers are a wonderful way to try it out. "Foodies" across the globe have embraced venison for its earthy flavor: Deer graze on grass, acorn, berries, and herbs, which lends to a unique taste and texture that is not found with any other cut of meat. The key to preparing venison is to enhance the natural flavors of this organic meat. Venison is usually quite lean, so in order to make sure these burgers aren't too dry, the recipe calls for egg yolks and olive oil to give it a bit of help.
- 1 lb. ground venison
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Fresh ground black pepper and salt to taste
Gently combine all ingredients in a large bowl with a fork. Do not overwork the meat or it will give you very tough burgers. Shape into four large patties and grill over medium-high heat until medium well, about 3 minutes on each side, depending on thickness and the heat of your grill.
These are absolutely perfect topped with a slice of raw unpasteurized cheese and fresh organic tomatoes.
Source: Brittany's Pantry. "Simple Grilled Venison Burgers."
RECIPE: SIMPLE GRILLED VENISON BURGE
HERBS FOR BOOSTING THE MALE LIBIDO
From the ancient Greeks concocting "nectar of the Gods" to modern pharmaceuticals, man has had an unrelenting desire to discover new aphrodisiacs to stimulate and enhance sexual performance. In Western herbal medicine, tonics were often employed to treat symptoms of poor reproductive function. Historically, these tonics were regarded with skepticism ... then came Viagra.
With the widespread acceptance of the idea that male sexual performance could be pharmacologically enhanced, "herbal enhancers" for male sexual performance made their way to the market. Most so-called herbal alternatives to Viagra likely deliver only modest effects, at best. However, several herbs used in traditional Indian and Chinese Medicine, which are believed to provide support to the male reproductive system, have gained the attention of both holistic and conventional medical researchers. We introduce a few of these herbs below.
Keep in mind that herbs work synergistically with the body. Healthy dietary and lifestyle practices need to be in place or the body will not be able to make optimal use of herbal remedies. Herbs may take several weeks before beneficial effects will be noticed. Some herbs should not be taken with other medicines--consult with your personal wellness practitioner before trying any herbal tonic.
SAW PALMETTO (Serenoa repens) is widely used in Europe and, in the U.S., it is the most popular adjunct herbal treatment for symptoms of enlarged prostate. It has been recommended as an alternative treatment by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Saw palmetto is nourishing to the endocrine (hormone regulating) system, which includes the sex hormones and may be the mechanism by which it helps improve overall reproductive function in men.
PYGEUM (Pygeum africanum) is derived from the African plum tree and has been studied in small clinical trials for its effects on prostate cancer cells and symptoms associated with benign prostate hypertrophy. It also is used in traditional medicine to boost sexual performance and treat lower urinary tract infections.
MACA ROOT (Lepidium meyenii) is a Peruvian "super food" rich in phytonutrients, amino acids, vitamins, and fatty acids. Scientifically speaking, it is an adaptogen, meaning its properties help boost the body's natural resistance to disease. In traditional medicine, Maca is used to balance endocrine system function, including male and female sex hormones. In animal and human clinical trials, Maca is being studied for its effectiveness on sexual desire, hormone levels, and sexual performance.
DAMIANA (Turnera aphrodisiaca and Turnera diffusa). Damiana leaves have been used as an aphrodisiac and to boost sexual potency by the native peoples of Mexico, including the Mayan Indians. It stimulates the intestinal tract, brings oxygen to the genital area, and increases energy levels which does a lot to restore libido and desire.
HE SHOU WU (Polygonum multiflorum)
(pronounced huh show woo)
Out of about 10,000 Chinese medicinal plants, He Shou Wu (HSW) is one of the most highly regarded herbal tonics for health and longevity for men as well as women. HSW is the prepared tuberous root of Polygonum multiflorum, a plant that grows in the mountains of central and southern China.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is by virtue of its ability to accumulate tremendous quantities of Qi (life force) into its root, that this herb is believed to nourish organs, muscle, bone, and the blood. The power of this herb partially comes from its ability to support and maintain the healthful cleaning functions of the kidney and liver, which in turn clean the blood. It also is rich in antioxidants, zinc, and iron.
TCM physicians have long documented the effect of the herb on the vitality of the reproductive system, the hair and skin, brain and nervous system, and the immune system. A primary tonic in Chinese herbalism, in healthy individuals, HSW helps promote healthy aging, supports the youthful condition and color of the hair, and supports the vitality of sperm and ova.
Even though HSW has been an important remedy in TCM for thousands of years, only in recent years has the herb come under the microscope in scientific studies*. International researchers are examining the ancient claims that Polygonum multiflorum has chemical and medicinal properties pertinent to health and healing.
Areas of research include examining the effects of HSW on conditions such as alopecia, atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, cancer, immune function, brain and nervous system conditions, and chronic fatigue.
More than 100 chemical compounds have been isolated from this plant, and the major components have been determined to be stilbenes, quinones, flavonoids, and others. Crude extracts and pure compounds of this plant are used as effective agents in preclinical and clinical practice due to their anti-aging, anti-hyperlipidaemia, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory effects and to promote immunomodulation, neuroprotection, and the curing of other diseases. However, the herb can reach toxic levels if not used under the supervision of a healthcare provider.
Many factors can affect the quality of HSW, including how it is harvested, prepared, and method of ingestion (extract, tea, powder). Consult with your wellness practitioner before taking this herbal supplement. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take Polygonum multiflorum, as the safety of this supplement has not been evaluated during pregnancy. Additionally, avoid taking this supplement if you have liver disease or are scheduled to undergo surgery.
*To date, there are few controlled clinical trials on effectiveness or safety in human populations.
TAKE A HIKE
Hiking takes you out of your usual routine, fills your lungs with fresh air, and lifts your spirits with the sights and sounds of nature. You might even forget that you're giving your body a powerful workout that has many health benefits.
A regular trek on the trail is aerobic exercise that is good for the heart and lungs. A weight-bearing exercise, hiking strengthens bones and joints, which helps to prevent osteoporosis. Trails with varied terrain build strength in the hip and leg muscles. You'll also strengthen your abdominal and back muscles, and improve balance and coordination. Hiking a few times a week, not just once a season, can help you maintain a healthy body weight. Hiking is also good for the mind and spirit. Studies show that exercising in nature lifts symptoms of stress and anxiety better than exercising indoors. When you hike with family or friends, the social experience contributes to good vibes for you and your kin.
HIKING SAFETY AND FITNESS BOOSTING TIPS
PACK RIGHT. Use a day pack that properly fits your torso so the extra weight you carry (snacks, water, maps, first aid) won't cause discomfort. If you aren't properly fitted for a pack, you could risk injury to the back and hips.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO. Most trail systems have online maps that indicate degree of difficulty and trail conditions. Familiarize yourself with the trail map. It's always possible for a GPS to lose its signal or battery strength, so carry a paper copy with you. Check the weather; dress and pack accordingly.
BUDDY-UP. A partner or group can help you navigate and assist if you get hurt.
START SLOW. A short, local hike is best for beginners. Gradually work up to trails with hills, rugged terrain, or higher elevation.
USE POLES. Poles propel you forward and engage upper body muscles, which gives a more vigorous workout.
KNOW YOUR LIMITS. Keep tabs on your water and fatigue level. Stay on marked trails.
The information offered by this newsletter is presented for educational purposes. Nothing contained within should be construed as nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information contained within this newsletter.