By Theresa Harding (updated 7/21/19)
Self-care is always a form of care considered for women, but it’s often over-looked when it comes to men. In this article, I share with you my top 6 self-care tips for men’s health and wellness. I believe it’s important that we don’t eliminate our men from this factor since many men are the head of their family and need to be in optimal shape to remain in their position long-term and in good health.
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According to health.harvard.edu, The average man pays less attention to his health than the average woman. Compared to women, men are more likely to
Here is what abcnews.go.com learned when they asked physicians the definition of “health”: “We asked a dozen physicians to define exactly what it means to be in “excellent health,” and they gave us the checklist that you need to complete before boasting about your super fitness.
If you can check off at least eight of these 12 qualities, then you’re more than a good guy — you’re a physical specimen possessing rare genetic gifts. We may have you stuffed for posterity.”
As some studies have reported, the average life expectancy for women in the US is 80.1, while for the American men this number is 73.4. Globally speaking, the numbers are also surprisingly lower when it comes to men. With some health-awareness and a decent lifestyle, you can surely beat the numbers.
Becoming more informed about your health and learning some simple and effective ways to live a healthy lifestyle can be a game-changer for you and help you maintain your health. Here are some tips for you as a man to promote self-care:
I’ve always believed in taking multi-vitamins daily to help meet the daily requirements and prevent mineral deficiencies. The only problem was that I thought multi-vitamins could substitute for my lack of eating healthy food.
Vitamins and minerals should not be a substitute for your lack of eating quality, whole food. Your vitamins and minerals should come from food first, with the multi-vitamins added to supplement your diet only if necessary.
Our soil today is not as rich in nutrients as it was when our ancestors farmed, so this causes our fruits and vegetables to be mineral deficient. Today, it would take for you to eat as much nutrient dense foods as you can to prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies, which most of us don’t do consistently.
If you don’t feel healthy in your body, or you feel like your body is deficient in the required daily vitamins and minerals, you may need to consider supplementing with quality, whole food vitamin and mineral supplements. To best know, you could get a thorough checkup with your doctor, and have a Blood Panel test done for your vitamin and mineral levels.
This is one of the best ways to find out where you might be deficient. Then you could take it from there. Not getting enough of certain nutrients can negatively impact your health and even result in chronic diseases. Here are the necessary vitamins and minerals men need.
These may all be found in your daily multi-vitamin, so you won’t need to take them separately. In choosing which multivitamin is right for you, consider factors like allergies, specific health concerns, how many pills a day you are willing to swallow, your age, and your budget.
For instance, if you’re 35 years old, you may need to consider multi-vitamins for 35+ men. This is what I did for my husband. While it’s possible to meet your nutrient needs through a well-balanced diet, many fall short of the recommended amounts.
A 12-month study found that supplementing with around 3,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day increased testosterone levels by around 25%. In the elderly, vitamin D and calcium also optimized testosterone levels, which led to a reduced risk of falling. To boost testosterone and reap the other benefits of vitamin D, try to get regular exposure to sunlight or take around 3,000 IU of a vitamin D3 supplement daily.
In one study, zinc and vitamin B supplements increased sperm quality by 74%. Zinc also boosts testosterone in athletes and those who are deficient in zinc.
One study in infertile humans found that ginger can boost testosterone levels by 17% and increase levels of other key sex hormones.
D-Aspartic acid- a natural amino acid that can boost low testosterone levels. Research suggests that the primary way it works is by increasing follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone.
Leucine– Studies show that leucine enhanced testosterone 20 percent within five weeks.
BCAA- A study from the NCBI shows that “endurance exercise along with modest supplementation of BCAAs, but not an overdose, may have some synergic effect on sperm function and testosterone production.”
Studies show that 77 percent of men don’t take in enough magnesium, that many of us are deficient in vitamin D, and that the vitamin B12 in our diets may be undermined by a common heartburn medication. We haven’t even mentioned our problems with potassium and iodine.
The best workout supplements for men are not many. There are many supplements on the market that men buy and really can get some benefits from food. When it comes to working out, men focus on building muscle and want to add supplements to help with muscle-building and recovery.
To help with muscle recovery and maintenance, here are the few supplements I found best for men. There’s a lot of research and science behind the following supplements, as most supplements many men take don’t really add value to their life.
There’s nothing that compares to getting proper sleep and nutrition and that should be your first focus before considering supplements. So, here they are:
Creatine– You can increase your body’s creatine stores by obtaining it from natural sources. Grass-fed beef and other meats are abundant in creatine, with a pound of grass-fed beef delivering 5 grams of creatine.
Grass fed chicken and turkey breast, lamb, venison and ostrich also contain creatine, albeit in lesser amounts.
Whey protein–This low-lactose option is a complete protein containing the nine essential amino acids and is popular among athletes, bodybuilders and fitness models, as well as people looking to improve physical performance at the gym.
Organic grass fed whey protein comes from the milk of pasture-raised cows that were able to roam on pasture and consume a natural diet of grass, instead of being confined in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).
Organic whey protein is different from other varieties because of its production process which doesn’t involve the addition of additives or chemicals. Instead, they use 100% natural ingredients.
As a result, you are able to get pure and healthy whey protein powder, which sets it apart from conventional whey protein powders which have had cheap ingredients as soy added, (in the form of soy lecithin).
Bone Broth– If you have not experienced bone broth for pain and inflammation, you are missing out on the ultimate goodness! I started using it when I experienced knee pains when I’d do squats during my fitness routine. I learned about it from Dr. Mercola and I’ve used it ever since.
Some benefits you can experience from drinking bone broth are, support when you have pain in your joints from your workout routine, relaxation, it’s loaded with glucosamine and chondroitin for pain, amino acids, and a host of many other benefits.
You can now purchase bone broth online in a powder form. Even better is you can make it yourself, but because it’s a slow simmer for 12 to 36 hours, some people prefer to purchase it. I’ve tried the powder ones, and I also make it myself by simmering the caracass bones from my leftover roasted chickens. I also purchase the beef bones and make the beef bone broth.
A great book you can read all about the many benefits of bone broth is, “
The best way to eat the foods below is to be creative and add one or two of the foods in your daily meal planning. Add them to smoothies, as snacks, and in your meals. This is not a full list, but this may help you get started in your collection.
Ginger– A 2012 study found that taking a daily ginger supplement for 3 months increased testosterone levels by 17.7 percent in a group of 75 adult male participants with fertility issues. The authors suggested that ginger may also improve sperm health in other ways.
Oysters-Males with severe zinc deficiency are prone to develop hypogonadism, which inhibits the body’s ability to produce adequate testosterone. They could also experience delayed sexual maturation or impotence according to an article in Medical News Today.
Pomegranate– There’s also a 2012 study that suggests that pomegranate may boost testosterone levels in men and women. During the study, sixty healthy participants drank pure pomegranate juice for 14 days, and researchers tested the levels of testosterone in their saliva three times a day.
Leafy Green Vegetables- Vegetables such as spinach, Swiss chard, and kale are rich in magnesium, a mineral that may increase the body’s level of testosterone.
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil- Extra-virgin olive oil may also improve male reproductive health. A small study of the oil indicates that the oil may boost serum testosterone levels in a healthy male adult.
Testosterone is a hormone found in humans. Men’s testosterone levels are much higher than women. Men begin increasing testosterone during puberty, but then it starts to decrease after age 30 at a rate of 1% each year. This is a result of the aging process, also known as Andropause or male menopause.
Each year after age 30, men’s level of testosterone drops at a 1% rate each year. This is a result of the aging process. Also know as Andropause or male menopause.
Testosterone in men is responsible for:
As the testosterone decreases, so can the libido. This is one of the biggest concerns of many men. What man wants to lose their sexual desire and performance?
Decreases in testosterone can lead to physical changes including the following:
Even if you don’t have sleep apnea, low testosterone can still contribute to a decrease in the hours of sleep. Researchers aren’t yet sure why this happens.
There is a connection between low testosterone and mental health. Testosterone is a hormone that affects emotional regulation. Low testosterone is more than just decreased sexual health, it’s also connected to your mental health and how well your brain works. It’s been linked to mood swings, depression, and mood swings.
Some men experience feelings of sadness or depression and may notice their memory and concentration may be affected. Unfortunately, along with this comes your lowered self-confidence and motivation as before.
There are conventional ways of raising your testosterone levels such as testosterone therapy, but if you want the natural way without the health risks, read below to learn some natural ways that I share with you.
You will also find testosterone boosters on the market that people have tried, but many of them are not reliable. They’ve been found to only give very low amounts of increase in testosterone, like 20% to 50% if that!
A 2018 Study on testosterone boosters concluded that in the administration of testosterone booster products, although obtained from trusted sources, may still present some health risks.
There are still further studies with large sample size and for a long period that need to be done to confirm the current findings. While everyone is different, you may risk your health if you consider taking testosterone boosters, even if it is from a trusted source.
With patience, you can save your money and instead focus on the lifestyle changes as a natural way to keep your testosterone levels in check.
Although you can be tested for your testosterone levels, you should also consider how you feel and the changes going on in your body because the tests may not always be solely reliable.
So, now that we know what foods to eat that support your testosterone, you don’t want to continue eating foods that keep your levels depleted, right? Take note of the following foods.
Soy also contains a bad fatty-acid ratio which is another reason why men should avoid them. There is still research to be done since the cause is unknown why it decreases testosterone.
2. Vegetable Oils– some small studies have shown that canola, soybean, corn and cottonseed oil, contain an abundance of polyunsaturated fatty acids. These oils have been linked to lowered testosterone levels. These oils are used in processed and fast foods, so it’s important to cut back on such foods.
3. Licorice Root– In recent years, several studies have found that licorice may also influence hormone levels,potentially leading to a decline in testosterone over time. The decrease has affected not only men but women too.
4. Nuts– Most nuts contain a mix of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. You want to stick to the ones with a higher concentration of omega-3s and less omega-6s. Omega-6 fats increase testosterone-lowering SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin, omega 3s lower it.
Nuts are known to have high amounts of protein and some have omega 3s, which may possibly reduce your natural production of testosterone.
Don’t get me wrong, not all nuts are bad for you, but some of the more popular kinds – like almonds and walnuts – are known to increase SHBG levels, which stands for sex hormone-binding globulin.
Peanuts– Peanuts are a poor choice because a serving contains 32 percent daily allowance of omega-6 fatty acid and no omega-3.
Walnuts– containing a 4:1 ratio with 10.6 grams of omega-6 fats and just 2.5 grams of omegas-3s.
Almonds and pistachios contain similar unhealthy ratios known to increase SHBG levels.
Macadamia nuts– Contain high levels of healthy monounsaturated fats.
Brazil nuts- These are high in testosterone-boosting micronutrients such as zinc, selenium, boron, and magnesium. Its ratio level is just slightly higher in omega-6s than omega-3s, but this can be overlooked considering it’s full of other nutrients essential for Testosterone production.
Horse Chestnuts- This nut contains escin. This compound has been shown to improve blood flow to the testicles. This helps deliver the nutrients required for making testosterone.
5. Mint- Studies show that the menthol in spearmint and peppermint may cause a significant drop in Testosterone levels.
6. Flax Seeds-This one was a shock to learn. Some research shows that it may cause a decrease in testosterone levels. This is because flaxseed is high in lignans, which are plant compounds that bind to testosterone and force it to be excreted from your body. What’s more, flaxseed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may be linked to a decrease in testosterone as well. More large-scale studies are needed to further evaluate the effects of flaxseed on testosterone levels.
7. Bread, Pastries, and Desserts- The Journal Nutrients has concluded in a study that consuming high amounts of desserts, bread, and pastries may cause a drop in testosterone levels in men. They also found that consuming lots of dairy, fast-food and a low amount of dark green vegetables also affects healthy testosterone levels.
Canned or plastic-packaged foods- These foods are known to produce estrogen mimmickers, also known as Zenoestrogen, which are commonly found in the lining of canned foods, plastic, the lining of microwave popcorn, cosmetics, pesticides, dry cleaning products, furniture, dairy products, and many others.
For example, this may happen when people consume chemicals, such as bisphenol A BPA or bisphenol S, from water in plastic bottles or reheated food in plastic containers.
Results of a study from 2013 suggest that men who work in environments with high levels of BPA have reduced levels of free testosterone and androstenedione, a hormone that can convert into testosterone or estrogen.
Those with BPA in their urine also had lower levels of testosterone and thyroid stimulating hormone. When levels of this hormone are low, it can indicate hypothyroidism, a condition that can reduce testosterone in some men.
Luckily, this list isn’t very long, but it can make a big difference if one of your favorite foods is included in the list. If you’ve been frequently eating any of the above foods, fret not, just make alternate choices. Soon, you’ll find a new favorite!
Alcohol Consumption– Research shows that men have a greater tendency toward binge drinking than women do and, as a result, a much greater risk of drinking-related problems.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), binge drinking typically means having four to five drinks in a two-hour span, a practice that is almost certain to bring your blood alcohol level to the legal limit of .08. It is noted that men have a habit of doing this much more frequently than women.
Drinking too much alcohol can seriously affect your health over the years. Besides increasing the risk of diabetes and heart disease, it can be dangerous for fertility. So now we get into men’s sexual health when it comes to learning the ways alcohol consumption can affect the body.
It can reduce testosterone levels, influence sperm mobility and, eventually, cause impotence. And you don’t want to disappoint your lady, right men? Among other notable problems alcohol can cause cirrhosis, several types of cancer and mental issues, it’s important to drink Responsibly!
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 300 million people suffer from depression, a number that has risen by 18 percent from 2005 to 2015. In addition, nearly half of these people don’t get treatment. This is largely due to the stigma surrounding mental illnesses, as noted in Men’s Health magazine.
More than 5 million men in the U.S. experience depression each year. According to Josh Klapow, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist with the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Public Health, men are more likely than women to report fatigue and other physical symptoms of depression as their chief complaints.
Contrary to the popular misconception, depression is not a female problem only, but not many men will ask for help. That can lead to profound consequences for your mental and physical health, as depression can trigger a number of other conditions.
If you are fatigued for no apparent reason, if you have troubles sleeping, if your weight oscillates heavily, if you experience headaches, irritability or inexplicable anger, don’t be ashamed to see a therapist. It’s for your own good and getting back your fun personality full of energy!
Here is a good read by David D. Burns, MD, for someone suffering from symptoms of depression. If you know someone who needs further help with depression, refer them to this self-help book. I’ve found self-help books to be very effective in my own life experiences. Hopefully, this book can help someone.
By following the steps above, you can ensure that you can live a fulfilling and healthy lifestyle.
What Self-Care Steps Do You Take to Ensure Your Well-Being? Please share some of your favorite self-care tips that are working for you.
Sources & References
A healthy diet is one key component that can affect the state of our mind. We must nourish our mind by eating nutrient-dense foods daily. If you need to improve your current diet from a nutrient deficient one to a nutrient dense one, I have a free Diet Makeover course that teaches you step-by-step how to do this. This is what I did to change the health of my family and I know it will help you too. Click below to get started.
Healthy Living isn't difficult. It requires an ongoing lifestyle change with patience and an open mind. I teach this mindset all the time. After 14 years of transitioning from an unhealthy lifestyle to a pain-free one, I think it's important to share my knowledge and research with those who are ready to make that shift in their health and wellness.