November (aka Movember) is Men’s Health Awareness month, and for good reason! Not only is this month a great time to highlight the importance of checking yourself for prostate cancer, but time to check in on other areas of concern, including disease and mental health.
It’s important for men to take control of their health. And I’ll be honest, throughout my practice I see many men who rely on their partners (wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, etc.) to deal with their health issues. But taking charge of your own health is empowering, and can give you more insight into how everything is interconnected.
The best way to feel empowered about your own health? Through making good choices with your food! When you start seeing how eating lots of whole foods can help you feel more energized, happier, and leave you hitting your fitness goals, you’ll want to see what’s next!
If you are ready to take preventative action in your health journey, keep reading.
Here are the top 3 superfoods for male health:
1. Wild-caught salmon.
Wild-caught, fatty fish is particularly high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Getting enough omega-3s in your diet is especially important to help combat inflammation. Today, we generally have an imbalance of essential fatty acids (EFAs). Due to our consumption of oils, such as canola oil, that are higher in Omega-6 and more inflammatory, we tend toward higher rates of inflammation.
2. Whole grains like brown rice, oats, barley, and pseudo-grains like quinoa or buckwheat.
Okay, so this may not be one specific food, but it’s a full category that is chalk-full of FIBRE! Fibre is essential for healthy digestion, beneficial gut bacteria, and proper absorption of nutrients that you take in from other foods. Plus, when you have better digestion (read: healthy bowel movements), you rid your body of toxic chemicals and excess hormones that may lead to long-term diseases and mental health issues.
3. Spinach (and basically any other leafy green out there).
Leafy greens are high in antioxidants, which help to combat free radicals and cell damage in our body. As you may know, free radical damage has been attributed to long-term disease, particularly cancer.
And which foods should you avoid? Check out these three:
1. Alcohol (sorry!)
Alcohol can cause extreme stress to our liver, particularly through excess consumption. When our livers are congested we are unable to properly process toxins, which can cause inflammation, or impact hormone balance.
Alcohol also disrupts our gut microbiome, throwing off the delicate balance of bacteria. When this happens, not only do we see digestive disruption, but we can also see imbalanced neurotransmitters, particularly serotonin, most of which is produced by our gut!
2. Deep-fried foods.
Deep-fried foods are usually cooked in old, rancid oil that has become carcinogenic through the cooking process. Plus, most deep fried foods are cooked in omega-6-rich vegetable oils. As I previously mentioned, an excess of omega-6 in relation to omega-3, can create pro-inflammatory chemicals. These go on to promote inflammation and disease throughout the body.
3. Processed meats.
Processed meats, including cold cuts, bacon, many sausages, and cured meats, contain fillers and chemicals like sodium nitrate, which have been linked to heart disease
Along with food, getting good quality sleep, exercising regularly, and making sure you check in with your healthcare practitioner are essential to living a healthy life!