Optimum health starts with a man’s observance of good habits—healthy thoughts, choices, and actions that include moderate eating, proper rest and sleep, adequate exercise and sunlight, natural supplements, and harmonious relations.
Giving up smoking, which is a self-imposed pollution, lowers risk of developing lung cancer, bronchitis, emphysema and heart attacks. Sense of taste and smell will improve and breathing becomes easy.
Here, then, are health tips to promote high-level of health, which middle-aged men can put to practice today because tomorrow can be late.
Diet and Lifestyle Leading to a Healthy Living
Eat foods that are high in fiber. Fibers have cholesterol-lowering properties and are present in most fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains. A balanced diet includes carbohydrates, proteins, and fibers. A “Cut Down on” sugar intake will help prevent glucose intolerance, and tooth decay.
Since middle-aged men are salt-sensitive, use less salt and sauces in cooking as salt causes body to retain water, which may lead to high blood pressure. Use spices and herbs to flavor food instead of soya, tomato, or chili sauces. Avoid canned or salted foods. Instead, use fresh meat and vegetables.
Eat less fatty food to reduce risk of heart disease. Trim away all fat and skin from meat before cooking. Do not eat more than 2 to 3 eggs a week. Boil, bake, grill, roast or stew food instead of deep-fry. Use margarine in place of butter.
The human body needs fiber for healthy digestion. Eating more cereals, fresh fruits, vegetables prevent constipation. Avoid creamy cakes and pastries.
Drink at least eight of 8oz. of water daily to help flush out impurities from the systems. Limit alcohol intake to moderate. Alcohol abuse is the culprit behind high blood pressure and heart disease.
Natural Dietary Supplements
Food nutrients are essential for cell growth for the body to function efficiently. Daily calcium supplement is a critical factor in the prevention of osteoporosis in men. Beans, and dried peas, bean curd and soya, and leafy green vegetables are good sources of calcium.
Middle-aged men have greater risks in developing cardiovascular diseases. A daily supplement of vitamins C and E, carotenoids, as well as omega-3 fish oil promotes healthy cardiovascular functions, and normal cell growth.
Physicians of Channing Laboratory at Brigham and Women Hospital reported in the Nov. 12 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine that men who take beta-carotene supplements for an extended time have less cognitive decline and better verbal memory than those who do not. Dark green, yellow-orange fruits and vegetables such as apricots, carrots, peaches, spinach, and sweet potatoes provide the required dietary beta-carotene.
Other natural supplements beneficial to a man’s health are present in dried fruits and green leafy vegetables. Cabbage, broccoli, Lima beans, and green peas are good sources of iron, which helps make hemoglobin that transports oxygen to the body tissues. Extracts of ginger and turmeric boost the body’s resistance to both mental and physical stress. Whole, fresh garlic is beneficial to the immune system, against viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi.
Heart disease is lesser among men who are physically active than in those who are sedentary, overweight or obese middle aged men. Cardiovascular fitness slows the process of hardening of the arteries, reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke, keeps weight down and reduces the risk of diabetes, reduces bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol level, and puts aging at bay.
A good exercise begins with 5 minutes of stretching exercises and ends with 5 minutes of cooling-down stretches. Remember, the aim is to exercise 3 to 5 times a week, 15 to 60 minutes each time to build strength. Choose an exercise according to body strength, endurance, mobility, and cardiovascular-pulmonary performance. Start slowly and gradually increase the amount and duration of the workout.
Healthy Relationships and Social Interactions
“Distress promotes poor health habits and heart disease,” says Researcher Peter P. Vitaliano, PhD, of the University of Washington in the May issue of the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.
Healthy relations bring about extra benefits. It enables a man to function at a high level of emotional health.
Spend time with family. Try to learn new hobbies and skills. Ballroom dancing, bonsai gardening, kayaking, or origami making are skills that make a man interesting and sociable.
Perform voluntary works. A good work is a clear statement of a vivacious spirit. Keep the mind active. The challenge for the middle-age man is to stay in touch with current events, to adapt to life, and to aspire for achievements—endeavors that are within his reach.
Healthy living helps reverse stress, and frustration that are part of middle age. Healthy relationships and social interactions can motivate men to practice healthy habits. In addition, doctor’s suggestions for diet, exercise, nutrition, and preventive health care can help prevent further health risks.
1. “Freedom from Body Image and Food Issues,” Journey to Healthy Living by Scott Reall
2. “Healthy Living for Men,” Healthy at 100 by John Robbins
3. “How Love Keeps You Healthy,” Prevention by Published by Rodale, Inc.
4. “Beta-carotene Reduces Dementia Risk in Men,” Harvard University Gazette Online