Truth be told guys, when it comes to our health issues, the stakes are too high to remain complacent. But it’s never too late to adjust our lifestyles.

Olivia: “Love, have you seen the doctor yet about that lump you found down under?”

John: “Oh, it seems to have split in two, which means it’s probably breaking up as it disappears.”

Olivia: “And the doctor told you this?”

John: “No, but Ray’s cousin’s best friend’s brother had a similar lump, and he didn’t even have to see a doctor.”

Sound familiar guys? Of course it does. That’s because when it comes to our personal health, we men are like ostriches; burying our heads in the sand and hoping the problem goes away when, in actual fact, we should be more like emus; vocalising our health concerns at every little irregularity in a loud, booming noise.

To our credit though, we’re just displaying typical guy behaviour, right? Wrong! It’s because of this stubbornness and unwillingness to make regular visits to our doctors, take symptoms seriously and live a healthier lifestyle that we die seven years before women do.

Truth be told guys, when it comes to our health issues, the stakes are too high to remain complacent. But it’s never too late to adjust our lifestyles. These 10 easy-to-follow steps, by Dr Julian Whitaker of the Whitaker Wellness Institute Medical Clinic, will help us maintain our health and vitality are still no reason to make regular doctors’ appointments:

Eliminate white foods

White flour, white sugar and other processed foods have no vitamins and minerals, and are stripped of their natural fibre. As a result, they rapidly drive up blood sugar levels, which contribute to weight gain, diabetes and other health problems. Instead, eat fibre-rich fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains.

Avoid trans fats

Stay away from deep-fried foods and anything made with hydrogenated oils (margarine, peanut butter, shortening, store-bought pastries and cookies) contain trans fats that raise your chance of heart disease. Eat only good fats such as olive oil and the omega-3 oils found in salmon and other cold-water fish.

Take multivitamins and mineral supplements

Even if you are eating right, it’s unlikely that your food contains all the nutrients you need. So take a high-potency multivitamin and mineral supplement. Poor soil quality, storage, processing and cooking drains our food of vitamins and minerals. Taking a high quality daily supplement is health insurance against possible deficiencies.

Do weight training

Aerobic exercise is great for cardiovascular conditioning, but it’s vastly inferior to weight training in attacking the flab factor. Recent research has shown that as little as once-weekly resistance exercise can improve muscle strength. Even the busiest or laziest of guys can find the time and energy for that. Join a gym, consult a personal trainer or ask an experienced friend to show you the ropes.

Maintain your optimal weight

Current statistics suggest that half of us are losing the battle of the bulge, but maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do for yourself. You’ll look better, feel better and reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and other major killers. Of course this is easier said than done, but if you just follow the four steps above, you’re already well on your way.

Drink alcohol in moderation

You’ve probably heard that drinking wine protects against heart disease. Studies now show that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol (all kinds) protects against heart disease. But remember, moderation is the key. While one to two drinks a day are protective, excess alcohol consumption is devastating to your health and family and work life.

Protect your prostate

Around the age of 40, the prostate gland begins a growth spurt that results in symptoms such as frequent nighttime urination. The good news is that this condition can be prevented or reversed by taking extracts of two herbs: saw palmetto or pygeum. Studies show these herbs improve urinary flow without adverse side-effects.

Masturbation helps prevent cancer

An Australian study carried out in 2003 revealed that men who masturbated more than five times a week were a third less likely to suffer from prostate cancer because ejaculation helps to flush out the toxins that cause disease. What’s more, when you reach orgasm, your body increases its production of the natural cortisol hormone which, in small doses, helps to regulate and strengthen your immunity. This is also recommended as a shared exercise.

Enjoy vigorous sexual function

Most cases of impotence have a physical cause - you’re just not getting enough blood to the area in question. To improve overall circulation, follow the diet, exercise and supplement recommendations above. Smoking also significantly impairs erectile function. Several herbs have been shown to improve sexual function: Ginkgo biloba increases blood flow to the penis, whilst ginseng, oats, horny goat weed, improve libido.

Maintain close relationships

Another thing women seem to do better than men is maintain close relationships. Make a point to strengthen ties with your family and friends. Volunteer work, religious ties, even pets – anything that keeps you involved with other reduces stress and enhances health.

Unless it’s remembering when the next rugby game will be played, and against whom, us guys don’t really care for sticking to schedules. Do yourself a favour, stick this list to your refrigerator door or on your bathroom mirror as a reminder:

My health to-do list

    1. Eliminate white foods from your diet

    1. Stay away from dangerous trans fats

    1. Take a daily vitamin-mineral supplement

    1. Incorporate weight training into your exercise routine

    1. Maintain your optimal weight

    1. Drink alcohol only in moderation

    1. Protect your prostate

    1. Masturbate to prevent cancer and boost immunity

    1. Maintain vigorous sexual function

    1. Maintain close relationships.

And remember guys, we really do need to start communicating our health problems to one another and our doctors, the same way that women do. Learn to share the details of your health as easily as you share rugby scores and dirty jokes down the pub, and you could add years to your life.

Here’s to your good health.

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