Men’s health — five things to do today

This week is Men’s Health Week. A week dedicated to putting the spotlight on men’s health issues at a global level. This year the theme is based around COVID-19 and aims to take action to help men get on top of their health.Our resident nutritionist, Clarissa Lenherr, shares her five things to do today to optimise men’s health.

Reduce stress
When we are stressed, we secrete our stress hormones, one of them being cortisol. This particular hormone is actually linked to increased fat storage in men, particular around the abdominal area. Work, relationships, current affairs, poor diet, too little or too much exercise – all of these things can contribute to our stress levels. 
Incorporate one stress management technique today to reduce those cortisol levels. Think meditation, getting into nature for 20 minutes a day, doing some exercise or getting the creative juices flowing.

Take 30g of fibre
Get in that roughage! While most people tend to think fibre is solely important for our digestive system, evidence suggests it contributes to a great deal more. Fibre, especially soluble fibre, has been shown to reduce our ‘bad’ kind of cholesterol known as LDL – the one linked to cardiovascular concerns. This soluble fibre dissolves in water and actually forms a gel like substance that can help move through the digestive system pulling out fat, dietary cholesterol and sugars to be excreted. This prevents a build up of cholesterol in the body and blood, which can lead to deposits in arteries and potentially leading to cardiovascular disease.
The recommended daily intake of fibre is 30g in the UK, yet the national average consumption is just 18g. Increase your intake of soluble fibre by reaching for foods such as beans, oats, sweet potatoes, broccoli and fruits.

Be mindful of red meat consumption
While red meat is a great source of protein and micro-nutrients such as zinc, b12 and iron, over-consumption has been linked to higher incidence of colorectal cancer, heart disease and type II diabetes. The NHS suggests no more than 90g per day of red meat, such as beef/lamb/pork however for optimal health I would suggest no more than 300g per week of red meat. Swap out your typical red meat dishes with vegetarian plant based options such as a Chilli con Beanie or a Lentil Bolognese. 

Don’t forget omega-3
Omega-3’s are a type of beneficial fatty acid found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies and herrings or plant based foods such as walnuts and flax seeds. So what makes them so important? Firstly omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory and can protect the heart and arteries. In Japan, Greenland and the Mediterranean where diets are higher in oily fish, fewer people tend to have heart disease compared to those countries with comparably low intake of omega-3 fish!
Reach for two portions of oily fish a week or if reaching for plant based sources aim for four 30g servings. Supplementing with an omega-3 fish oil may also be beneficial, particularly if you struggle to consume these foods. We like Bare Biology’s Lion Heart Blend.

Introduce strength & conditioning 
Endurance and weight training can help boost production of testosterone, one of the chief male sex hormones. One study in 2007 showed that men who engaged in strength training three days a week across one month had higher testosterone levels, for both short and long term.
Include two strength training exercise sessions per week. For inspiration head to Bradley Simmonds on Instagram to catch his Instagram Live workouts.