Over the last few years, research has shown that men can be somewhat unwilling to visit their doctor about health concerns. A 2011 survey by insureblue. co.uk revealed that just 14 per cent of men were happy to see their doctor if needed, while a third admitted that they will only visit their GP if their partner encouraged them. So why is this?

Rick Hay. resident nutritionist at wvvw. xynergy.co.uk thinks there is a generational split. “Younger guys are more likely to be health aware and will see a health care practitioner more than guys who are older.’ he says. “In general though I think that women are far more in tune with their health and will seek out assistance more often.’

Various campaigns from organisations such as the Men’s Health Forum have tried to encourage men to be more proactive about their health. And it seems that the message could be filtering through.

“Slowly men are becoming more aware of the importance of nutrition and health.’ says Ben Brown, technical director with Viridian Nutrition (www.viridian-nutrition, com). “Men today frequently take more pride in their appearance with the aim to build muscle and tone by dropping into the gym each week. However, simply lifting weights alone does not improve cardiovascular health and the idea of healthy supplements can often just consist of protan powders. More men need to understand the importance of aerobic training for overall health and fitness, as well as the benefits a good diet can have on the body

Rick hays agrees that more men are becoming interested in supplements particularly those that help with sports performance, fat loss and weight management. He adds: ‘There is also strong interest in testosterone-boosting supplements and superfoods. Diet-wise the five or seven-a-day message is getting through as is the benefit of lowGl and low GL foods. Many guys are following a Paleo type diet too.”

So it seems that more men are becoming aware of the need for good nutrition and suitable supplements. With that in mind, let s take a look at three key nutrients for men s health:

3 supplements for men’s health

Turmeric

This is a super spice that can help with prostate issues and help to improve overall health and boost immunity.’ says Rick. ’Turmeric has been shown to have protective properties against prostate cancer – research indicates that the curcuminoids contained within turmeric are powerful antioxidants with anti-carcinogenic properties. It’s also anti-inflammatory, making it great for sports injuries, a nd can boost the immune system to help when fighting off colds and flu.”

Zinc “This is one of the single most important nutrients for male health.”says Ben. It is required for normal day-to- day functioning of the prostate gland, as well as the formation and regulation of testosterone. Low levels of zinc in men have been linked with low libido and reduced sperm count. Therefore, zinc supplementation may offer support for those experiencing infertility and issues relating to the prostate.’

Lycopene ‘Tomatoes have been widely studied in recent years, following the discovery of lycopene – a powerful carotenoid.’ explains Ben. “Lycopene has been vastly studied with regards to its specific effects on men and prostate health and with particular reference to beneficial properties in reducing prostate diseases. Lycopene has also been shown to have positive effects on male fertility by improving sperm count. High tomato consumption has also been linked with improved cardiovascular health through a reduction in LDL cholesterol, homocysteine, platelet aggregation and blood pressure.’

THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR

“Specific problems affecting men include weight gain around the middle,” explains Rick. ‘This is visceral fat. which can lead to more serious cardiovascular problems. Excessive alcohol consumption is still a problem too. with many guys not having enough alcohol- free nights. Other issues include impotence or stress-related performance anxiety: prostate problems, which come with ageing; and stress and anxiety levels due to increased work load. “Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men aged 20 to 35. So it is recommended  to carry out  regular self examinations.

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