In a lot of ways men have leapt forward into the new millennium with open arms and minds. In a lot of ways, they are still a bit 20th Century. And in some few ways, some of them might still act like cavemen.
For some reason it is much easier and more socially acceptable for a woman to look after her health. Women are better at taking steps to prevent poor health, are more inclined to exercise self-care, and are far more likely to seek help when they are sick.
Women may also a bit more in tune with their bodies and emotions, so they pick up signals that they are starting to become unwell. This is especially so when it comes to mental health. But unfortunately, it is still more acceptable for a woman to ask for psychological help than for a man to admit to needing it.
And this is a problem. More men die younger than women. And more men will commit suicide from mental health issues than women.
There are a number of initiatives across the world trying to raise awareness of men’s health, so this pattern of behaviour does slowly seem to be changing. The fantastic Movember is one of these worth checking out and getting behind.
But why do we need initiatives in the first place? Why won’t men talk about their health?
Men don’t show weakness
This is a terrible thing to still be saying, but some old-fashioned opinions still very stubbornly persist. While men claim to be all millennial and self-aware, they were raised by children of the 70s, who were raised by children of the 50s. Father to son, we are still saying things like, ‘Don’t cry like a girl!’ or ‘Tough it out,’ ‘Shake it off,’ or the lovely ‘Suck it up, buttercup.’
Fathers of little boys today are encouraging them to own their feelings a bit more, however these same fathers will not admit to their male friends if they have a weird lump on their testicles, or if they are struggling emotionally.
Men are still the primary breadwinners (until they figure out how to have babies), so can less afford time off work
Women the world over complain (rightfully) that they are short-changed in terms of wage equality and career progression, but this starts for many women because they have to take time off to have babies. Society still requires it. And their partners are more likely to be the family wage-earner, meaning men are less inclined to take sick days for any reason. There are some wonderful progressive families where this is not the case, but for the majority of couples, it is still the norm.
Men are more comfortable with offering help than asking for it
70% of men say that they are there for their mates for help and support if needed, but less than half of the male population will turn to their friends for that help. Men have proved time and time again that they can be there whether you need someone to help you move, drink with when your partner leaves you, or pick your kid up from baseball practice. They can offer physical, financial and practical support, and a lot of them are good at emotional support as well. But they are terrible at asking each other for it.
Men don’t eat salad
That’s a bit of an overstatement; lots of men do eat salad. However, men are far less likely than women to eat a well-balanced diet, and get their seven serves of fruit and veg a day. Single men are less likely to cook healthy meals for themselves and more likely to make fast or convenient food choices instead. Again, this is not helped if they are working too much, or not home enough to prepare good food. A healthy diet is the best way to prevent chronic illness and reduces your chances of obesity. Supplements are good; diet is better.
Self-care and preventative health for men
There are quite a few natural products available which are designed specifically for men’s health needs, or even if they’re not, are a pretty good idea for men. Some of these include:
Men’s vitamins and supplements
There are a wide variety of great multi-vitamin products tailored specifically for men; you can take your pick. Nutrients which men are often lacking in include Vitamin D, fiber and protein.
Specific supplements such as magnesium, tumeric and wild fish oil can also help the body to resist inflammation which can prevent illness or injury, or speed up recovery when you are sick.
Supplements containing turmeric, pine bark, saw palmetto or stinging nettle have been found to provide prostrate support and improve your health in this area.
Anything that reduces heart disease or lowers your blood pressure is also strongly advised.
Natural products that are high in protein like whey powder are recommended for men who work out a lot or are wanting to build muscle. You may also need to look for products to fuel and replenish your body if you are wanting to get fitter or improve your sports performance.
Sexual performance enhancers
Our old friend pine bark is back, helping to improve sperm count and sexual vitality. Mild erectile dysfunction can also be assisted by herbal supplements, including ginseng, ginkgo and horny goat weed (with a name like that, what else would that one do?)
Quit smoking aids
There are a great range of natural stop smoking aids on the market as well. These products can reduce nicotine cravings, supress appetite and create a dislike for tobacco. Some herbal supplements also help your body to heal and rebuild damaged tissue. Look for ingredients such as lobelia herb, passion flower, skullcap herb and ginger root. These can come in pill form, but also gum or patches.
Every man is different
While this article talks about all men in very general terms, your needs will of course be specific to you. Your diet, lifestyle and any external stressors will all affect what natural remedies we would recommend. Talk to one of the expert staff at Eric’s today about what may help you.