Men in contrast can slip through the net until there is a major problem.
So ladies we can play a key role here in getting and keeping our menfolk healthy. Here are a few top tips:
Book in for a Heart Health Check
The Heart Foundation recommends that every man over the age of 45 get a regular heart health check from their doctor. This will include checking his blood pressure and his blood lipid profile, including cholesterol levels.
If he has high LDL-cholesterol making changes to his diet (and the whole family will benefit) is key. These include swapping saturated fats for monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats – this means less butter, fatty and processed meats, and less junk food, while enjoying instead extra virgin olive oil, avocado, hummus, tahini, nuts and seeds.
Eating more soluble fibre is also key as this helps to bind cholesterol in the gut and carry some of it out of the body. Not all types of fibre are equally effective in this regard. One type that has been studied extensively and shown to be effective is beta-glucan. This is the type of fibre that you find in oats and barley, but it can be difficult to get enough for a clinical effect from the whole food alone.
That’s where BetaHeart comes in. It’s 100% natural, has no added sugar or artificial additives, and it ensures you get the 3g of beta-glucan you need to help reduce both total and LDL-cholesterol levels. All your man needs to do is drink one sachet a day mixed with water, milk or in a smoothie. It’s as easy as that.
Measure Waist Circumference
Get your man (or do it for him) to measure his waist circumference. Fat around the middle – called visceral fat - is the greatest risk to health. Measure directly around the belly button, ensuring he is not holding in! Alarm bells should ring if the measurement is greater than 102cm. This means he is at high risk for heart problems and type 2 diabetes. Ideally his waist should be 94cm or less for the lowest risk. If he needs to lose weight commit to a program of lifestyle change together – you’ll find help with my online program Get Lean. Visit drjoanna.com.au/getlean for more information.
Boost Gut Health
Give consideration to gut health. In this era of “carbophobia” many people are cutting out the foods that provide fibre. We need an array of different types of fibre for a healthy functioning gut, and this in turn boosts immune function, helps to control blood glucose and insulin levels, in turn helping to keep blood vessels healthy. Be sure to keep what I call smart carbs in your family’s daily menu. These are essentially low GI foods including wholegrains, legumes and some starchy veg. Your Beta-Heart supplement is not only beneficial for blood cholesterol management, but also contributes to daily fibre requirements, overall gut health and blood glucose control.
Get Active Together
Does your man exercise regularly? If not commit to something together – perhaps join a gym, take up golf or go for a walk before or after work every day. Even if he is overweight, regular exercise is incredibly beneficial for heart health. Don’t let him think the exercise is about weight loss, although of course it can help here, being more active is important regardless.
If he’s a smoker, even a social smoker, encouraging and supporting him in giving up is essential for heart health, not to mention reducing his risk of various forms of cancer. There are many online quit smoking programs, including those offered free from the government, if he needs further help.
Is your man a drinker? While a small amount of alcohol can be good for heart health, it’s very easy for this to slip over into being detrimental. Having more than 2 standard drinks a day increases the risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease.
Manage Stress & Mental Health
Finally, how is his mental health? Is he highly stressed or depressed? There are clear links between mental health and physical health, while being highly stressed also increases the likelihood of lifestyle factors that are also detrimental to health. For example, sleeping badly, drinking too much, eating too much of the wrong types of food and avoiding social company after working long hours. Managing stress is key before any other changes can be made. Meditation, breathing exercises, physical exercise, time with family and friends and strategies to achieve a good work-life balance are all key for stress management.