While the importance of putting health first is a universal priority, June is Men’s Health Month – a perfect opportunity to give the males in our lives a little extra attention. Below, we’re taking a closer look at four common health issues that impact men around the country, and we’re offering simple lifestyle and nutrition strategies that can help them reduce their risks.
Tips for Tackling 4 Common Health Issues that Impact Men
- Cardiovascular disease. The statistics about this one can be a bit startling. Cardiovascular or heart disease is the major cause of death among men, with more than one in three adult men having some form of the disease, according to the American Heart Association. Thankfully, the best weapon against getting heart disease is lifestyle and diet management. By incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet every day, nixing your smoking habit, and finding ways to healthfully manage your stress – you’re doing your body and your heart some good. Learn more ways to be proactive here.
- Type 2 diabetes. While type 2 diabetes does not discriminate, the risk of developing the disease increases with age. It’s never too early to adopt the habits that can both help to manage your blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes, thought to be a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors. While type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which your body does not produce insulin, people with type 2 diabetes may still be able to produce insulin, but often not enough to manage their blood sugar levels on their own. In addition to managing your weight, aim to include high-quality fat, protein, and high-fiber foods in your daily meals and snacks. And don’t forget to keep moving! Even a short, brisk walk after lunch or dinner helps. For more information on managing type 2 diabetes, check out our tips here.
- Mental health. While a lot of attention is given to the physical manifestations of health, mental health is not a topic to tread over lightly. Over 6 million men in the U.S are affected by depression each year and, unfortunately, it often goes undiagnosed or untreated. Mental Health America reveals that men are less likely to “seek help for depression, substance abuse, and stressful life events due to social norms, reluctance to talk, and downplaying symptoms.” Check in with the men in your life and ask how they’re feeling. Offer support and a listening ear to the ones you love, and if you feel like it would be helpful, encourage them to talk to a doctor or mental health professional.
- Prostate cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men. And according to the Institute for Cancer Research, 97 percent of all prostate cancer cases in the U.S. are diagnosed in men 50 years or older. Strong research supports keeping your weight in a healthy range to help reduce your risk, which you can aim to do so by keeping an eye on the foods you routinely choose as well as being active each day. While there isn’t a silver bullet for preventing your cancer risk altogether, research surrounding the role tomatoes and tomato products play in reducing the risk of prostate cancer risk is mounting. Tomatoes contain a symphony of nutrients, including the potent antioxidant, lycopene, so aside from being delicious, tomatoes are a health-promoting food to add to your meals and snacks.
From salsa to marinara sauce, there’s an infinite number of ways to include tomatoes in your diet. When we heat tomatoes during processing, lycopene becomes even more bioavailable to our bodies, so tomato products, like ketchup, canned tomatoes, and tomato paste, all offer powerful benefits. Add even more tomatoes to your diet with these nutritious and delicious recipes.
Tomato Recipes to Try
- Luscious Lentil Curry Dip: Lentils are a plant-powered protein, offering 9 grams of protein per ½ cup cooked serving along with healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals! But the nutrients don’t stop there. This dip also calls for tomato paste, so pile it on sandwiches or serve alongside tortilla chips.
- Classic Tomato Soup: Our own spin on classic tomato soup, this recipe calls for simple, readily available ingredients that you can blend together for a delicious weeknight meal – any time of the year. Lycopene-rich tomatoes are the starring ingredient, which offers cancer-protective properties
- Homemade BBQ Sauce – Five simple ingredients are all you need to impress your guests at your next backyard BBQ or summertime soiree. If you’re a culinary overachiever, you can even make your own ketchup to use as an ingredient in the sauce.
In honor of Men’s Health Month this June, let’s raise awareness on these health issues and take steps to promote a healthy lifestyle for all.
McKenzie is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, nutrition writer and communicator, who truly loves meeting and connecting with people. Grounded in science with an integrative and holistic approach, she aims to make the world a healthier, happier place by helping people feel their best from the inside out and encouraging others to restore a judgment-free relationship with food. McKenzie has been a contributing editor for the award-winning publicationEnvironmental Nutrition and her numerous articles, nutrition tips, and recipes can be found in publications such as The Chicago Tribune, Today’s Dietitian, Food and Nutrition Magazine, and more.
McKenzie graduated magna cum laude from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with a degree in Nutrition and completed her dietetic internship at Bastyr University in Seattle. She is a member of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a member of the dietetic practice group, Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine. When she’s not dishing out nutrition tidbits, you can find McKenzie cooking in her sunny kitchen, hiking along with her favorite Southern California trails, or packing her bags and heading out for her next adventure.