Despite what you may have thought self-care is not a luxury, it is maintenance. Just like cars need oil changes and tire rotations, the human body also needs regular maintenance. Unlike cars, our bodies require daily maintenance. A car can go thousands of miles without needing any attention, but your body won’t.
Another myth is that self-care is a women’s activity. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Men need self-care just as much as women!
Self-care is not about gender. According to the World Health Organization, “self-care is what people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, prevent and deal with illness.” The WHO report calls it a broad concept that encompasses nutrition, lifestyle, hygiene, environmental factors and more. It doesn’t differentiate between men and women.
The benefits of self-care are the same for everyone:
~Increased energy and sense of well-being
~Strengthen the immune system
~Prevent disease and illness
~Balance emotional health
~Improve longevity and quality of life
Why we need self-care may be the same for both genders, but what we need is different. Those needs also change as you age. As we go through midlife and beyond, preventative healthcare becomes even more important. It is easier to stay healthy than to recover from illness. Working with a wellness coach can help you develop a strategy for healthy aging.
For men over 50 self-care should promote heart health, a strong circulatory system, hormonal balance, prostate health and sexual function.
Eating healthy for men over 50 means including foods such as salmon, cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens, garlic and calcium rich sardines and kale. It is also important to improve your strength, balance, posture and joint mobility. Low impact, easy to do exercises are lunges, pushups and planks. Some exercises that improve balance, such as yoga or tai chi, also promote mindfulness and proper breathing.
Vitamins and Supplements
Even when you try to maintain a healthy diet there are still some nutrients that need supplementation. The body can’t produce Omega 3 fatty acids, an essential fat that must be consumed from the diet. A minimum recommendation is 250-500mg combined EPA and DHA each day for healthy men. If you are dealing with disease, recovering from treatment or want to boost your immunity then higher doses are recommended.
As we age, the body’s ability to extract nutrients from our food can be impaired. Probiotics and enzymes are a vital part of any supplementation plan for men over 50. Lycopene is an important nutrient for men’s health that can be obtained from food, specifically cooked tomatoes, watermelon and guavas. Studies have shown that men with higher amounts of lycopene have lower rates of prostate cancer. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is also reduced in men who eat lycopene rich foods 4-5 times a week.
Vitamin D is a key nutrient for bone health, cancer prevention, nerve and immune health. It is difficult to get enough Vitamin D from your food, so supplementation is needed. Getting enough Vitamin D is important but getting too much is not good either. Monitoring your Vitamin D levels is easy with patient ordered blood tests.
B Vitamins can help you have more energy. They promote HDL “good” cholesterol, nerve health, red blood cells and heart health. Available in foods like legumes, nuts, avocado, eggs, animal protein and leafy green vegetables. Supplements are available as a B complex or individual B vitamins.
Don’t forget the basics. A good multivitamin is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Make sure when you choose a multivitamin, or any supplement, that you are looking for quality vs quantity. It can be tempting to buy your supplements from a big warehouse store, but the savings may be offset by the quality. A large jar of fish oil could go rancid before you finish the bottle.
Natural Testosterone Support
Men over 50 are under tremendous pressure these days to increase their testosterone through artificial means. Well crafted marketing messages would have you believe that with testosterone therapy you will look, act and feel like a 20-year-old again. It’s not true.
Testosterone therapy is the practice of ingesting testosterone itself which stops your body’s own production of this important hormone. Testosterone therapy can also lead to dependence and dangerous side effects including heart attacks and strokes. In 2010 researchers halted the Testosterone in Older Men study when early results showed that men on hormone therapy had noticeably more heart problems.
Fortunately, there are a number of herbs and vitamins that can balance your hormones and support your metabolism, libido, erectile function, energy, mood and strength. Natural remedies boost your body’s own production of testosterone, bringing it to normal, healthy levels without harmful side effects.
Herbs that can support your sexual health and testosterone production include the following:
~ Saw palmetto
~ Vitamin D
~ Green tea
~ Gingko biloba
~ Avena sativa
~ Beet root
~ Stinging nettle
The Bottom Line
What your body needs to stay healthy changes over time. Your lifestyle and health habits are key factors in helping you prevent illness and increase your sense of well-being. Nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress management and supplementation should all be considered when creating your unique self-care plan.
If you are a man over 50 and would like support with your health needs, click here to schedule your self-care review with Dr. Melanie