Many health issues develop later in life and it’s difficult to change any “bad habits” when you’re older, so it’s a good idea to start implementing healthy habits as early as possible.
So what are the health issues we’re talking about?
• Men are at risk of developing prostate cancer after the age of 40. You can read more about the prevention of this cancer.
• Men are more prone to heart disease after the age of 40. Hypertension (high blood pressure) and diabetes can lead to heart disease and therefore need to be well controlled in order to prevent it.
• One of the major causes of health issues is simply being overweight. The “beerboep” puts you at major risk, because this abdominal weight has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease.
We don’t all have personal shoppers, chefs and gym trainers, so how do you go about improving your health?
Here are some practical tips:
• Get into the habit of EATING REGULARLY. This helps to provide regular energy during the day, thereby controlling your appetite and your weight. This means having breakfast, lunch and supper, and if needed, a few small snacks in between.
• Take a new look at VEGETABLES. It’s now hip to be seen eating a huge healthy salad with chicken or steak strips, so tuck into a colourful salad with some delicious avo when you do a business lunch. Try out some interesting new flavours such as butternut, baby spinach and red onions baked with a little oil and pumpkin seeds.
• PLAN YOUR MEALS. If you’re not sure where to start, involve your partner in helping you to plan what to buy in order to prepare healthier meals and have the right kind of food to take along to work. The more prepared you are, the less likely you are to rush off to your local store for an emergency pie and chocolate at 5pm in the afternoon, shortly followed by your dinner at home – this will not do your waistline any good! We’d rather you shop for lean proteins, high fibre bread and fresh produce for your healthy sandwich and fruit snacks.
Here are some simple ideas for meal options.
• BREAKFAST: a smoothie with fruit, yoghurt and peanut butter if you need to “eat on the run”; wholegrain toast with poached egg; a tub of yoghurt and a banana, apple or naartjie.
• LUNCH: high fibre bread sandwich or baguette with lettuce, tomato and a choice of lean protein, e.g. smoked gammon or roast beef slices, chicken breast or tuna with a little low oil mayo.
• DINNER: keep it low carb if you aren’t exercising in the afternoon, with a choice of lean protein, e.g. fish in foil/skinless chicken breast/pork fillet or lean beef steak with a colourful mix of stir-fried or steamed vegetables. Liven things up with the flavours of fresh garlic, ginger, chillies, and some olive oil.
• Be aware of what you DRINK. Avoid sugar-laden cold drinks and opt for some sparkling mineral water with lemon slices, or a sugar-free fizzy drink as the occasional option. Try and “wean” yourself off sugar in your tea and coffee. You’ll get used to using less sugar quicker than you think! When it comes to alcohol, we don’t want to take away your time with the boys, but we’d suggest moving onto something “lighter” if you’re worried about your waistline. Whiskey and water or soda is a good option. If you prefer brandy or vodka, pair it with a sugar-free mix.
• VISIT YOUR DOCTOR. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by being too proud to visit your doctor for any issue! If you have a pain or lump that should not be there, it’s a good idea to have it checked out. You should have an annual visit to your doctor to check blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood fat levels, especially if you have a history of heart disease and diabetes in your family. If you’re over 40, you do need to consider screening tests for prostate health. Any issue can be dealt with if you become aware of it at an early stage.