Christopher Keller, DO
Published 5:36 p.m. UTC Jun 5, 2018
Many men fall short when it comes to a healthy lifestyle. But that’s not a good reason to put off making changes in your life that can help lower your risk of some serious diseases.
For Men’s Health Month, here are some tips to put you on the right track to better health. These are based on some of the leading causes of death in men in the U.S., and may help you live a longer life.
Eat fewer fatty foods
The No. 1 killer of American men is too many high-fat foods in the diet. The main villain in fatty foods is saturated fat, which is bad for your heart. Saturated fat is found in things like red meat, butter and full-fat dairy products. Fried foods and baked goods contain trans fats, which raise your cholesterol and clog your arteries.
Instead, eat more plant-based foods and fish. A healthy diet contains lots of fruits and vegetables, fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna and herring, walnuts and almonds, and ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil.
Sit less, move more
Americans spend six to eight hours a day being sedentary. Sitting for long stretches of time increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes and of dying prematurely.
Strive to get at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every day. Try walking on your breaks at work, park at the rear of a parking lot, and skip the elevator and take the stairs. Instead of sitting while you talk on the phone, stand up. Do push-ups or sit-ups during TV commercials or half-time.
Smoking can lead to lung and other cancers, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. It also raises the risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke and is linked to cataracts and pneumonia.
If you smoke, plan to quit and decide how you'll do it. Nicotine replacement therapies—such as gums, patches, nasal sprays, inhalers and lozenges—can help reduce withdrawal symptoms.
The Martin Health and Healing Center, in collaboration with Everglades Area Health Education Centers (AHEC), offers free “Quit Smoking Now” classes to help anyone who wants to become tobacco free. For more information, or to sign up, contact Everglades AHEC at 877-819-2357 or 561-688-9591.
Did you know that men wear seat belts less often than women and men over 50 have a higher risk of developing the skin cancer melanoma compared to women? Consider this a strong reminder to buckle up, wear a helmet and use sunscreen. Making healthy choices could very well save your life.
Last, but not least, see a primary care physician to screen for any serious health concerns. If you uncover them early, they may be easier to treat and cure. Many serious health risks, like high blood pressure or high cholesterol, don't have symptoms—which means you may not know you have them unless you get tested.
To find a Martin Health primary care physician, visit martinhealth/primarycare.