June is Men's Health Month! Men are less likely to see a doctor than women, but the majority of chronic diseases affecting men can be prevented through early detection and healthy lifestyle changes. Regular screenings and check-ups could save your life!
Here are 10 tips to keep yourself healthy this month and year-round!
1. Know your numbers. The majority of diseases that affect men are preventable or treatable when detected early. Have your lipid panel, blood glucose, blood pressure and PSA (prostate-specific antigen) checked annually.
2. Skip folic acid supplements. Recent research shows that folic acid supplements may increase the risk of prostate cancer. However, foods rich in folate, like green leafy vegetables, oranges and beans, are still safe to consume daily and actually decrease cancer risk.
3. Quit smoking. According to the American Cancer Society, tobacco products account for 90% of the instances of lung cancer. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men and women. The chance of developing lung cancer and damage to the lungs decreases as soon as smoking stops.
4. Limit alcoholic beverages to 2 drinks a day. One drink (or serving) of alcohol is measured as 12 ounces of beer or wine cooler, 8 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces of wine or 1 1/2 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits like gin, vodka and whiskey.
5. Exercise for 30 minutes most days of the week. Both men and women need exercise to strengthen the heart, prevent weight gain, and protect bones. Include strength training and cardio exercises that raise your heart rate. You can break up your exercise into three 10-minute segments spread throughout the day.
6. Choose lean cuts of meat. Cut back on the fat in your diet by choosing loin and round cuts of beef and pork. When possible, choose ground meats that are at least 93% lean, as well as skinless poultry.
7. Work up to consuming 35 grams of fiber a day. Fiber is great for lowering cholesterol, managing weight and fighting type 2 diabetes. Increase your fiber intake with whole fruits and vegetables, beans, peas, lentils and whole grains like quinoa.
8. Go fresh. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables for snacks instead of packaged snack foods. Be sure to look for the Colorado Proud logo to find nutritious, locally grown items. Cook meals from scratch rather than buying boxed or frozen dinners to cut back on fat, sodium and sugar.
9. Add cruciferous vegetables to your meals and snacks 3 times a week. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts have anti-cancer compounds. Heat can destroy some of their cancer-fighting power, so enjoy them raw as often as possible.
10. Eat more red fruits and vegetables. The red color in tomatoes and watermelon comes from the powerful antioxidant, lycopene, that may help to protect against prostate cancer. Cooked tomatoes contain more lycopene than raw.