Men's Health

Advice for Men’s Health from a Nutritionist

Advice for Men’s Health from a Nutritionist Rachel Graham

Nutritionist Rachel Graham offers advice for men’s health and is encouraging men to take control of their own health and make nutrition a priority.

When Was Your Last Service?

Men's Health

Do you put off going to the doctor?

It is not uncommon for men to delay a visit to their GP for as long as possible. It seems to be a gender thing & may come down to how men define the meaning of health – the opposite of sick?

If so, then not surprising, the results of a report commissioned by Teagasc.ie in 2020, which found that men only visit their GP in response to ill-health or injury, rather than for the prevention or early detection of disease. So no.. your leg doesn’t have to be hanging off before you see your doctor!

Fact is, health is not just the absence of disease, it represents overall & total wellbeing. All of us want the same thing (regardless of gender) – optimum health to maintain our quality of life as we age. International Men’s Health Week – held in June each year – offers an annual opportunity to encourage men to adopt and maintain healthier lifestyle choices. However, we still need to increase awareness in areas such as physical activity, healthy eating and mental wellbeing.

Many men in our society today are working too hard, highly stressed & not sleeping well. As a result, many are over consuming alcohol and thus hard wired for poor dietary choices – both of which become the driving factors in the development of chronic health conditions; not to mention the impact of these on hormones (testosterone, thyroid, cortisol). These driving factors, are all lifestyle related & within our control; Any healthy habit changes we make, have the potential to put us back in the driving seat of our own health…

Know Your Risk


Prostate issues, heart issues & mental health issues are just some of the many health problems that men face today. Early detection and treatment is key. One of the more common health concerns for men as they get older, is how to keep fit and maintain a healthy weight? According to the Healthy Ireland Study of 2019, 42% of men were overweight & 29% of men were obese.. Carrying excess weight increases your risk of numerous chronic health conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, arthritis as well as certain types of cancer.

You Put Good Quality Fuel In Your Car – So Why Not For Yourself?

Men's Health


You wouldn’t dream of putting tractor fuel into your shiny new car, so why put highly processed, disease feeding food into your body?

Our typical western diet has a lot to answer for: obesity, type 2 diabetes & cardiovascular disease – all medical conditions that are directly related to our typical western diet and sedentary lifestyle. Too much saturated-fat, too much sugar & sweetened fizzy drinks, too much salt, too much animal sourced foods, too much wheat and simply not enough fruit & veggies! If you want to avoid illness & enjoy good health, you need to consume optimum doses of quality fuel (key nutrients) on a daily basis.

Place an emphasis on all the health promoting & beneficial foods you can enjoy every day – think in colour – green, yellow, purple, blue & red fruits & vegetables, are all packed with game-changing phytonutrients. When you emphasise what you are adding in to your diet, you switch your thinking from deprivation to abundance.This is one of my key nutrition principles – it’s not what you take out of your diet but more about the beneficial foods you add into your diet.

Prostate Health

Prostate cancer affects one in eight men during their lifetime.. Here in Ireland, we carry out frequent prostate cancer screening  & recorded 3,665 diagnosed cases between 2017 to 2019 – the highest diagnosed rate of prostate cancer amongst all of the 27 EU countries.

The Benefits of Flaxseed

Men's Health

Linwoods Flaxseed has a unique nutrient profile & has gained attention as a potential functional food – a food that has a positive effect on our health beyond basic nutrition. It is a rich source of plant-based omega 3 fatty acids, protein and fibre as well as many micronutrients such as magnesium.

Findings from a major randomised control trial carried out in 2008 suggest that flaxseed can potentially influence the development and progression of prostate cancer. (1)

Heart Health

Men's Health

Similar benefits were confirmed in the results of another research study for heart health (gigleux, 2007). Highlighting how a predominantly plant based diet, is an effective nutritional approach, to reduce cholesterol. Furthermore, the study confirms that specific plant based, fibre rich, cholesterol lowering foods consumed in effective doses, can produce results comparable to a statin drug, but without the side effects. (2)

Linwoods Cold Milled Flaxseeds are a good example of a fibre rich plant based food that is high in Omega 3. Omega 3 can help to maintain blood cholesterol levels. Linwoods Cold Milled Flaxseeds contain both soluble & insoluble fibre.
By including plenty of this type of fibre along with complex carbs, essential fats + key vitamins & minerals – from min. 8-10 portions of fruit & veg per day – there is convincing evidence of a beneficial action not only to your cholesterol but also many other chronic health issues. (3)

Daily consumption of 3g of soluble fibre from oats typically lowers cholesterol by 8-23%. (4)
With every 1% drop in cholesterol levels there is a 2% decrease in the risk of developing heart disease. (5)

If you want to put yourself back in the driving seat of your own health, then make your Nutrition a priority – it won’t take long before your efforts result in improved sleep, energy & mood – all of which will enable you to be more active, which in turn will benefit your heart & your brain. Make food your Pharmacy!

References:

  1. https://doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-08-0008
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17663803/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6567199/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5381086/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16222621/
Addendum:

Community
The importance of social connections & community, in reducing cardiovascular disease risk, cannot be underestimated either. We know this from the work of Dan Buettner studying The Blue Zones – the longevity hotspots around the world with the lowest incidences of Alzheimer’s, dementia & cardiovascular disease. Here are two community based health programmes that are currently or have previously been available to men in Ireland.

Sheds for Life
A community-based health promotion programme aimed at supporting local members of Irish Men’s Sheds with health-focused discussions. 


Farmers Have Hearts Cardiovascular Health Programme
A health intervention which targets male Irish farmers. The programme consists of a baseline health check, a health behaviour change intervention, and a repeat health check at 52 weeks. The overall goal of this on-going programme is to assess its effectiveness in terms of farmers’ follow-up use of health services, sustainable health behaviour change, and reduced CVD risk. 

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