Hey Men, we’re talking to you here! November or “Movember” as it’s frequently referred to, is all about men’s health, so we’re talking tips to keep you guys healthy.
1. Turn Down the Grill: Ok guys, we know you love your grill, but next time you’re using it try not to char the food (particularly animal products) you’re cooking. It turns out that well-done or charred meat (think blackened) may contain a carcinogen called Heterocyclic Amines that may increase risk for not only prostate cancer but has also been correlated to stomach, pancreas, colorectal, lung, and esophageal cancers.
What to do?
Instead of charring your meats (although we know you love to see that flame roar), cook your meats more slowly, and at a lower heat to help preserve not only the tenderness and the flavor, but also to prevent formation of these dangerous chemicals.
2. Moderate Your Calcium: Yes, it’s true that calcium plays an extremely important role when it comes to bone health for both men and women; however, like anything else, too much of a good thing can turn a good thing bad, and that too may be the case with calcium.
Early research suggests that consumption of 3+ glasses of milk daily may increase risk for bone fractures, and particularly important for men, research is also suggesting that a diet high in calcium may increase risk for prostate cancer.
What to do?
Get your calcium, it’s important- about 1000 mg daily for men ages 19-70, but don’t go overboard. One 8 oz. glass of milk has about 300 mg and now many non-dairy milks are also fortifying their products with calcium. Many other foods contain calcium as well but it’s important to be aware that more calcium may not be better.
3. Eat Your Vegetables: This one should be a no-brainer for all you men out there, because it really is important to get them in however you can (juices, smoothies, salads, soups!).
What to do?
Eat these vegetables that are helpful in preventing prostate cancer.
- Tomatoes: Eat them cooked, the anti-cancer compound, lycopene will be more available to your body.
- Garlic, Scallions and Onions: All part of the allium family, these contain potent anti-cancer nutrients including sulfur-based compounds and allicin amongst others; research suggests 50% reduction in prostate cancer risk with consumption of more allium vegetables. Cut or mash the garlic and let it sit for 10 minutes before using it to reap the nutritional benefits.
- Broccoli :Contains isothiocyanates and sulforaphane, powerful antioxidant compounds that may help to protect against not only prostate cancers but other cancers as well. Don’t overcook your broccoli though, try to steam or lightly sauté to avoid losing those powerful nutrients.
- Yellow and orange vegetables: Contain carotenoids that have been inversely related with risk for prostate cancer; carotenoids can be found in bell peppers, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and carrots.
- Green leafy vegetables: Contain folate (not to be confused with supplemental folic acid) that may help to reduce risk of prostate and other cancers; supplemental folic acid may actually increase risk for prostate cancer, so try to get this one through food.
4. Put Down the Salt Shaker: I don’t mean to generalize here, but most of my male clients, and even my father, absolutely love to salt their food before they try it. Adding loads of extra salt (come on, you can’t really see how much salt is coming out of that shaker) puts a lot of extra stress and pressure on the heart and can cause hypertension over time. Additionally, overly salty food may affect satiety and drive cravings for more salty food and make you really thirsty.
What to do?
Use herbs and spices, lemon juice, and most importantly, try your food before you eat it. It may not need to be salted!
5. Get Moving! Sometimes weekends consist of enjoying a few beers on the couch while you watch your favorite football team but don’t forget to get moving in between games. Cancer, heart disease and chronic-disease risk decreases dramatically with increased movement and exercise. At a minimum it’s imperative to do some form of exercise for 30 minutes 5-6 days per week- but more here is better. One study showed that men who exercised moderately to vigorously 3 hours weekly were 61% less likely to die of prostate cancer.
What to do?
Move as much as you can, take the stairs, walk your dog, park your car further away, join a gym or a running/cycling club, just move!
Implementing these tips in your life will help you keep your waistline slim. Maintaining a healthy weight and waistline (for men this is less than 40 inches in circumference) is imperative because overweight/obesity and waist circumference are risk factors for both cancers and heart disease.