Today, the ONS released their latest ‘Age Estimates’ report, which found that there are now twice as many women than men aged 90 and over in the UK, and that the average male life expectancy has fallen from 79.2 to 79 years old, which experts are attributing to the pandemic.
In light of this new report, Dr Earim Chaudry, Medical Director at men’s health platform Manual, explains that it’s not just about living longer, it’s about living healthily and happily for as long as possible. Below, Dr Chaudry, has provided his scientific secrets to healthy aging in males:
Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D is one of the most commonly referenced supplements discussed, and for very good reason. It’s associated with several important health benefits, is found in a variety of foods, and is also the only nutrient your body produces when exposed to direct sunlight. Hence its common nickname: the sunshine vitamin. It’s recommended that adults need around 10 micrograms of Vitamin D a day.
Vitamin D each day may also reduce your risk of catching or developing certain diseases.
Over the years, studies have suggested that vitamin D lowers your chances of developing seasonal influenza, decreases your risk of multiple sclerosis, and protects against cardiovascular disease, including hypertension (high blood pressure), heart disease, heart attack, and heart failure.
Eat For Heart Health
Eating a heart-healthy diet, like the Mediterranean diet, is a great way to keep your body in tip-top shape. A strong heart is vital for healthy living, so make sure you’re loading your plate up with the following foods:
- Fatty fish – such as mackerel, salmon, herring, tuna, or sardines (rich in omega-3 fatty acids)
- Fruits- such as avocados, bananas, blueberries, and blackberries
- Vegetables –, such as sprouts, bell peppers, and spinach
- Nuts and seeds- including flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts;
- Olive oil
- Dark chocolate, which contains antioxidants called flavonoids (these help protect your body against toxins).
Get More Vitamin C & E
A 2015 study found that a daily dose of 500mg of vitamin C improved blood flow in much the same way as walking. It’s believed that the vitamin helps keep the lining of the blood vessels healthy, improving blood flow. Similarly, vitamin E can help your blood vessels dilate (widen), allowing for healthy blood flow.
To add more vitamin C to your diet, add citrus fruits, orange juice, bell peppers, and broccoli to your weekly grocery list. You could also take a daily multivitamin. To get your fair share of vitamin E, make sure you’re eating plenty of nuts and seeds, and use a vegetable oil, such as sunflower oil, in your cooking
No matter what sort of lifestyle improvements you want to achieve health-wise, quitting smoking will always rank highest on the list of priorities for overall health and longevity. Where poor circulation is concerned, it’s the nicotine found in cigarettes and e-cigarettes that’s the main culprit.
Nicotine harms the walls of your arteries while making your blood thicker, meaning it can’t flow as effortlessly around your body.
Quitting can be hard work, but in the end, it’s always worthwhile. Check in with the NHS for a range of services to help you stop the habit, and remember, you’re never too old to stop smoking.
Exercise More Frequently
Exercise can improve many aspects of life, from improving mental health to keeping the heart in good condition. Recent studies have found that regular exercise can promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut, reducing inflammation and the risk of inflammatory bowel disease and type-2 diabetes.
If you can, aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.
Up Your Fiber Intake
Lentils, chickpeas, whole grains, legumes, as well as fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds are all full of fibre – and are indispensable for a balanced healthy diet. Adults should aim for at least 30g of fibre in their diet a day.
Eat More Omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for healthy cognitive function and cardiovascular health.
Your body can’t produce essential fatty acids (EFAs) like omega-3 on its own, so you need to make sure it’s being provided through dietary sources.
Fish and shellfish are your best bets if you want to improve your omega-3 intake. Eating more fish (especially oily fish like mackerel) also helps you get your fair share of other essential vitamins & minerals, such as vitamins A and D, calcium, iodine, and selenium.
Providing the body with enough fluid every day is crucial for good circulation, as it contributes to the overall volume of blood.
According to the NHS, adults should aim for six to eight glasses of fluid a day, such as water, lower-fat milk, or sugar-free drinks, like tea and coffee.
Drinking black or green tea can be particularly helpful if you’re faced with poor circulation, as the antioxidants found in those drinks can widen your blood vessels, helping blood flow more easily in the process.
A lack of sleep hampers your ability to fight infection. This is because, during sleep, your immune system releases proteins known as cytokines, which target hostile germs and microbes. Simply speaking, if you don’t get enough sleep, you don’t produce enough of these vital infection-fighting chemicals.
Generally, seven to nine hours of sleep a night is recommended.
When stressed, our bodies produce chemicals – such as corticosteroids, a type of stress hormone – which suppress the functioning of our immune systems. Whilst these chemicals are used for the treatment of conditions such as asthma and arthritis, they reduce the ability of the immune system to do its job.
Keeping a lid on stress – through meditation, mindfulness, or exercise – is an important way to get your immune system working as it should again.
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