By Mia Aguilar, Special to the AFRO
The numbers don’t lie. For years, studies, surveys and statistics have found that men are less likely than women to visit the doctor. According to reports by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and EverydayHealth.com, men are 80 percent less likely to use a general source of health care. Other research has shown that half of men ages 18 to 50 don’t have a regular source of health care, while one-third of men in that age group haven’t had a regular checkup in over a year.
Although there may never be full understanding on the disconnect between men and doctors (and preventive health), today’s world allows people to access information on alternative ways to support men’s health through common superfoods and herbs.
The most common and easily available superfood that supports men’s health is the Brazil nut. The large nut, which is actually a seed, is eaten raw, blanched and dried and is packed with both magnesium and selenium and powerful antioxidants that help prevent cancer, heart disease and naturally boosts testosterone levels in men. It is also associated with promoting good prostate health and even decreasing the risk of prostate cancer.
The well-known tumeric root is another superfood that caters to men’s needs. Also high in antioxidants that support prostate health, tumeric contains the naturally occurring chemical curcumin, which has been shown to reduce joint pain and inflammation, relieve digestive issues and have positive effects on psychological health.
The lesser-known herb Astragalus root (Astragalus membranaceus) tops the list for overall men’s health. Traditionally prescribed in Chinese medicine for male infertility, Astragalus has been proven to support male hormones by balancing glucose levels and enhancing testosterone and growth hormone levels. Known as a powerful immune booster, it helps improve resistance to viral infections, slows down the aging process and revitalizes the body by stimulating the production of stem cells in bone marrow.
Each of the superfoods and herbs can be found at your local grocer or at herbal shops in D.C. (Blue Nile Botanicals, Bazaar Spices) and Prince George’s County (Smile Herb Shop).
In addition, regular exercise and stress-management regimens are complementary pathways to healthy living that men should support – especially as they age. And although there are no substitutes for regular doctors visits, there are plants, herbs and unconventional methods to help keep our men living longer, healthy lives.