Whether born a man or as a woman, we all face health problems. And while our issues differ because of our gender, we also have very different thresh holds when it comes to asking for help – yep, women are generally just less afraid to ask. So if you’re a man, who can’t imagine booking a doctor’s appointment or naturopath to talk about your health issues, why not take 5 min. to read this at least? These 5 top tips from Dr. Shirley Mirpuri might just get you started on your journey to better health!
As a naturopathic doctor focusing on natural approaches to physical and mental health, I see more females than males in my clinic looking for solutions. Among the general allopathic healthcare community, this seems to be a common trend as well. On a personal note, many of my male relatives tend to seek health advice only when things escalate to the point where they experience exacerbated symptoms that need to be addressed. Breaking through the social stigma that ‘men don’t need help’ is crucial now more than ever since an appropriate work life balance is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve and support needs to be given to both men and women.
It is well known that stress is a leading cause of many lifestyle illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and high cholesterol. In addition, stress can lower the production and function of sex hormones, leading to insomnia, weight gain, low libido, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, depression and brain fog. It is important to understand that it is not normal to have these symptoms. However, there are so many natural options to explore that can help you!
Below are some natural ways to balance your stress and sex hormones. Implementing some of these tactics, or simply making a few diet and lifestyle changes can go a long way to a healthier you.
Diet- for men, it is important to maintain healthy testosterone levels to decrease your risks of prostate and testicular issues. Foods rich in healthy fats, minerals and vitamins are key. Some of the common foods that help support healthy hormones in men are:
Pumpkin seeds. A handful a day keeps unhealthy prostates at bay. This super seed is rich in several minerals and amino acids that support healthy testosterone levels, mood, energy and immune function. Don’t be shy to throw in a handful of these into your smoothies, salads, or just enjoy them as is! Be sure to avoid the salted ones as they increase your risk of high blood pressure!
Maca root powder. As an ancient herb that has been used for centuries to support libido in both men and women, maca is a highly nutritious addition to your daily morning smoothie. In addition to supporting libido, maca helps support healthy stress levels, increases testosterone and boosts energy.
Tomatoes. These are rich in lycopene, which is an important antioxidant that reduces the risk of prostate cancer. Lycopene is commonly added to many male-directed supplements to support prostate health and treat erectile dysfunction.
Magnesium is by far one of my favourite minerals! Found in almost all leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and dark chocolate, magnesium is a very common mineral that is depleted in the body particularly during stress or excessively active lifestyles. Some of the most common symptoms of magnesium deficiency are fatigue, restless legs or muscle cramps, insomnia, anxiety, constipation, poor muscle recovery after exercise, and high blood pressure. When you are depleted in magnesium, it is good to supplement it for a short duration to help replete the body.
This herb is found in almost all Ayurvedic formulations since it has so many health benefits! Be it insomnia, low moods, infertility, low libido, or stress, ashwagandha serves to improve all of the above and more!
by now, the benefits of fish oils are widely known to reduce inflammation, heart disease, cholesterol, triglycerides, mood balance and even skin health. There are countless brands and sources of fish oil in the market, so it can be confusing to decide what’s best for you. My advice (having been grilled into my head by my professor during naturopathic training): when buying fish oil, always make sure to get the right source of fish, and to ensure the right ratio of EPA:DHA. The best sources of fish have lower contents of mercury in them, for example sardines, anchovies, herring or wild caught salmon. Fish oils are a type of omega 3 fatty acids comprising of EPA and DHA. When choosing a fish oil supplement, the rule of thumb is to make sure the EPA is always more than twice the amount of DHA. Many research articles on the efficacy of fish oils have found this ratio to be beneficial.
Zinc is another important mineral, just like magnesium. Zinc is important in testosterone production, and also plays a big role in supporting a healthy immune system. Men with zinc deficiencies often exhibit symptoms such as poor immunity, low libido, infertility, and anxiety. The best sources of zinc include nuts, seeds, legumes, chicken and eggs.
Hope these little steps help you on the way to feeling better and daring to ask for help another time!
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