As I write this, many of you men are feeling a bit bare, while your wives perhaps rejoice that the razor has finally come out! It was Movember, as you have probably heard, and we were once again in the midst of cancer awareness campaigns. I love men and I certainly want them to be healthy; prostate cancer is a devastating disease. And I like that more men are thinking about their health; many men don’t take the time to nourish their bodies, at least they are less likely to eat for wellness, stay active, rest and practice stress management than their more body-focused female counterparts. Like in October, when we were all seeing pink, I want to talk about prevention. Ladies, if you are reading this with your partner in mind, pass along this information or work together with your man to create a cancer prevention plan.
Strategies for Men’s Health
Proper nutrition is key for cancer prevention.
What we put in our mouths every day is what fuels our body, enabling it to function optimally. Think about a sports car and its need for premium fuel. Your body needs that premium fuel: foods rich in vitamins and minerals required of your body’s basic and intricate functions. For example, some studies are looking at the connection between selenium, a nutrient found in fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats and seeds, and a reduced risk for prostate cancer. Vitamin E is another nutrient of interest to researchers examining prostate cancer prevention. A few studies are also looking at the powerful effects of garlic, scallions and other allium vegetables. Some have found that people whose diets are rich in these foods have a lowered risk of prostate cancer.
Another reason to eat well: good nutrition helps you to maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese (having a BMI of 30 or higher) is a risk factor for cancer, as well as many other diseases. When you carry excess weight, you carry much more potential for something to go wrong. Regular exercise is also a great way to manage weight. You must move your body.
I think everyone should see a nutrition professional at least once in their life, to discuss how best to fuel their unique body. We can all stand to learn just a little bit more about the miraculous medicine that is food.
Let’s talk about sex.
We know men like to talk about sex, so let’s add in a cancer prevention idea that will really appeal! A healthy sex life really does a body good and there are a few beneficial side-effects of getting hot in the bedroom. One Australian study found that masturbation reduced a man’s risk of prostate cancer (sexual intercourse that leads to ejaculation would have the same effect). The thought is that regularly clearing seminal fluid from the body, which can contain carcinogenic substances, indicates the reduced risk. Sex is also a way to relax the body through organsm, the nurturing benefits of a healthy relationship and the power of touch. High-stress wears down the body’s immune system, leaving the body open to the attack of illness and disease.
It’s all in the zzz’s.
And like I say for women’s health too, sleep is so important in keeping us well. Studies show that night workers, whose natural body rhythms are disturbed by being awake through the dark of night, are at an increased risk of cancer. Researchers are currently examining the association between disturbances to the circadian rhythms of melatonin production (which can occur through exposure to bright light at night), resulting sleep disturbances and immune suppression and incidents of cancer. This study wonders if uninterrupted darkness and high quality sleep is a currently unappreciated factor in cancer prevention. Sleep also reduces stress and improves your immune functioning.
I don’t mean to keep singing the same song, but I do want to take the opportunity cancer awareness campaigns create to remind everyone that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
photo credit: Some Guy Photo via photopin cc