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What’s Happening in Health
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Average life expectancy for American women is 79. For men, it’s 72. Fortunately, recent research findings have produced excellent strategies for improving men’s health. And the personal care industry has launched an array of gentleman-only products that really can make men look better, longer. Read more

 


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A New “Guy Thing” — Living Longer, Looking Better


The verdict is in. Men really do face different threats to their health than women. Their bodies do age differently. And, on average, they die sooner than their female counterparts.


These sobering facts can be traced, at least in part, to male behavior. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for example, men are far less likely than women to go for regular medical check-ups, and far more likely to ignore early signs of health problems. Until recently, most men also reported that whatever they did know about vitamins and supplements, exercise, and diet regimens they had learned from a woman.

 

This old-style machismo is giving way to a new self-image for men. For example, the British publication giant The Guardian reported last year that while the men’s health news market remains relatively small, it’s expanding rapidly. That helps explain why Men’s Health magazine is closing in on Maxim for top newsstand sales. In 2009, Maxim led by just 22,000 copies per month, down from about 75,000 in 2007. Clearly, more men are taking more interest in their health, seeking tips and resources for living healthier and looking better. Here are some of our favorites:


■ Know Your Enemies: Heart disease is the #1 killer of men 35 and older. More men die of coronary heart disease and heart attack than from any other single cause. And they develop heart disease, on average, 10 years earlier than women. One of the most effective weapons in this war is Omega-3. Found in fatty fish (like salmon, halibut and shrimp) as well as in walnuts and flaxseed, Omega-3 fatty acids are a potent anti-inflammatory that helps lower triglyceride (blood fat). Recent studies also suggest that Omega-3 may reduce occasional muscle and joint pain as well as chronic arthritis pain — all of which contribute to stress on the heart and pulmonary system.

 

■ Combined, lung and prostate cancer are the #2 killer. One in six American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Fortunately, research conducted at Harvard University School of Public Health indicates that men may be able to cut their risk of developing the disease in half, simply by taking a combination of natural ingredients. For example, the study found that men with the highest level of vitamin D in their blood had a 55% overall lower risk for prostate cancer. Similar findings have emerged on other minerals, herbs, vitamins and isoflavanoids (including green tea, lycopene and genistein). Particularly in combination, they may have a role to play in lowering a man’s risk of prostate disease.

 

■ Over half of all men over 60 have benign prostate enlargement. It’s a condition unrelated to cancer, but it causes many frustrating symptoms, ranging from urinary urgency, frequency and weak stream to erectile dysfunction. Research supports the theory that the same nutriceuticals that may help prevent prostate cancer can also address enlargement. One excellent dietary supplement for men over 40 is Amazing-Solutions’ Prostate Health Cocktail (PHC). Formulated by internationally recognized physician-scientist, Dr. Jacek Pinski, it blends ingredients that have been shown in laboratory studies and clinical trials to reduce symptoms of benign prostate enlargement and even inhibit prostate cancer cell development.

 

Looking Younger: it’s a big business. Based on the $19.7 billion that’s spent annually in this country on men’s grooming products, American males are just as eager to look good as they are to feel good. Although its still accounts for only a small fraction of total cosmetics sales, the men’s-only cosmetic market has grown steadily (at about 25% annually) for the past several years. Between 2002 and 2005, the number of “men only” brands increased 40% in the U.S. alone.

 

Admittedly, some dermatologists are skeptical. They suspect there’s very little substantive difference between so-called “male cosmetics” and their female or unisex equivalents. On the other hand, male skin is biologically different from female skin. It’s about 20% thicker and has a richer blood supply. What’s more, it loses collagen (a skin-strengthening protein) at a slower rate. That means men aren’t as prone to fine lines and wrinkles. Their skin is, however, more inclined to sweat and its relatively larger pores more easily get clogged with oil and dirt.

 

Consequently, deep cleansing is a must. And because most men shave regularly — which definitely scrapes and damages facial skin — they need to follow their cleansing regimen with an effective moisturizer. It’s certainly best to choose one that contains SPF protection, because a recent research study out of England finds that the number of men dying from the deadliest form of skin cancer has more than doubled over the past three decades. The most powerful age-fighting ingredients to look for in male skin-care products include:


   ■ Beta-carotene, which preserves healthy skin cells and prevents oxidation from the sun;
   ■ Vitamin C, which is integral to skin collagen production; and
   ■ Caffeine and Vitamin K, which constrict blood vessels in the eye area and so reduce dark circles and puffiness.


Amazing-Health Tip: The mind is a terrible thing to waste. Like the muscles in your legs and arms, the brain is susceptible to atrophy over time; and research finds men are more likely (at every age) to suffer minor cognitive impairment. To maintain male alertness and cognitive response, try this small everyday technique (known as a “neurobic exercise”): use your non-dominant hand for everyday functions like eating with utensils, dialing the telephone or brushing your teeth. Learn more at http://www.latimes.com/health/boostershots/la-heb-cognitive-impairment-20100907,0,3780491.story?track=rss

 

The Recipe Box
Yam Smoothie


Yam Smoothie

■ 1 medium yam

■ 1 ½ cup vanilla yogurt

■ ½ cup milk

■ 1 cup ice cubes

■ 1 tsp honey

■ ½ ripe banana, sliced

  1. Scrub yam clean and bake at 375° for 45-60 minutes, turning once. Alternatively, prick yam in a few places with a fork and microwave for 8 to 10 minutes, turning once.
  2. Cool, peel and dice the yam.
  3. In a blender, combine the yam, yogurt, milk, ice cubes, honey and banana until smooth.

Makes 2 smoothies.

Because yams are high in Vitamin B6, they help reduce the risk of heart disease and combat the depression associated with PMS or menopause. Finally, yams are high in potassium, so they help control blood pressure.

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