June is Men’s Health Month! Sometimes men’s health issues take a back seat to the needs of women and children. On average, men die five years younger than their female counterparts. Men are less likely to go to the doctor and they are more likely to die of preventable diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Aside from actually going to the doctor a little more often, focusing on preventative medicine (good sleep, stress reduction, and healthy eating) is a great way to try and close the health disparity gender gap. To celebrate, we are answering some of our male reader’s most pressing health and nutrition questions.
What’s healthier, a shot and a half of whiskey or a bottle of beer? -Luis P, 30 years
Well Luis, calorically speaking, whiskey is the winner. However, this does NOT give you the green light to down several shots of whiskey every weekend. One and a half ounces of whiskey has 105 calories, one Beer is about 150 calories (but varies widely depending on the type). If you go for light beer, the calories are nearly equivalent. Interestingly, moderate drinkers have longer life expectancy than both those that abstain from alcohol and those that are heavy drinkers. Moderate drinking is defined as two drinks or less per day for men, and one drink per day for women.
How can I eat healthy and exercise while traveling for business? – Adam H, 33 years
Great question Adam, this is something that many people struggle with. First things first, make sure you don’t hop into vacation eating mode just because you are traveling. This is not a vacation, it’s work, and you should try to stick to your normal healthy eating habits as much as possible. With that said, you are going to be faced with more restaurant options, and less fridge space while traveling. If possible, seek out healthy restaurants before you go. I like www.healthydiningfinder.com as an easy resource for finding nutritious meals near by. For a quick lunch, sandwich shops are not a bad option as long as you go for the smaller size and pile on the veggies. Salad and soup is also a great lunch or dinner option. For breakfast, avoid the continental breakfast (muffins, pastries) and seek out something higher in protein like eggs, Greek Yogurt, or cottage cheese with fruit. Eating a high protein breakfast can keep you more satisfied for the rest of the day. I also recommend packing fruit for a snack, or hitting the grocery store in the town you are working in.
In terms of exercise, many hotels have a gym. If you can sneak in a pre or post work, work-out that is a good start. If you are not going to hit the gym, at least find the stairs (You might have to ask for them, you might have to get dirty looks from the hotel workers, but they have to let you use the stairs) Climbing 5 flights of stairs to your hotel room is a pretty good workout if you do it a couple times a day. Bonus is you can carry your luggage up and down the stairs for a total body workout! Lastly, if your work team is up for it, try a walking meeting instead of sitting. The energy will flow better and everyone can be happy and get some exercise 🙂
I’m lazy and don’t eat my veggies and fruits, but I take vitamins and supplements. Is this good, or should I really try harder to eat right? – Richard D, 45 years
The short answer is that you really should try harder to eat right. A multivitamin is not a replacement for a healthy diet, it should only supplement it. Recent meta-analysis studies have concluded that a multivitamin won’t boost overall health at all and is largely a waste of money. The studies analyzed heart disease, cancer, and cognitive impairment and found no improvement in those taking a multivitamin. However, several studies have shown long term health improvements in those eating a healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables. If you are aware of a certain vitamin deficiency you have, for example vitamin D deficiency, it is most definitely worth it to supplement. Fish oil has also shown promising results for heart health.
Are men allowed to drink soy milk or eat soy products? I heard soy contains estrogen. -Evan M, 30 years
Although its a commonly believed myth, soy does not contain estrogen. It does contain isoflavones which are capable of exerting a weak estrogen-like effect. It will not make you grow breasts or other woman parts. Soy foods are high in protein and a great alternative to dairy. In clinical trials even high levels of soy intake have not shown to have any “feminizing” affects and may have positive health benefits.
How can I boost my testosterone naturally? Are there any supplements that work? – Jordan M, 55 years
Getting enough sleep, losing weight if you are obese, daily exercise, and managing your stress level have all been shown to help improve low testosterone levels. Supplements are largely unregulated and should not be taken without first consulting a doctor as they may interact with medications. Horny goat weed is showing promising results for low libido and erectile dysfunction, but there is no established dose and it is not currently recommended. The active ingredient is epimedium, which appears to act as a phosphodiesterase inhibitor, similar to some drugs used for erectile dysfunction.
I eat fruit as a side, but I don’t ever really eat veggies that way. Is that very unhealthy, or do I get enough veggies from eating hamburgers and occasionally salads? Matt M, 25 years
You are not getting enough veggies from that one leaf of lettuce and two tomatoes on your burger Matt. If you eat a main course salad daily, that is likely sufficient. Men need about 3 cups of vegetables per day. Every day. If you aren’t currently close to the recommended amount, try adding them in little by little. Baby carrots are a good snack, but you could also branch out and try peppers, cauliflower, and asparagus. During the summer, grilled veggies are a delicious treat!
Heather Mason is a Registered Dietitian who holds a Master’s Degree in Nutrition Science. She has a passion for debunking nutrition myths and helping people discover delicious and healthy food. You can read more posts from her on her blog, Nutty Nutrition.