Alert: There is NO content in this editorial regarding COVID-19. (You’re welcome.)
June is Men’s Health Month, and June 10-16 is designated as Men’s Health Week. It’s not quite certain how we guys landed both a week and a month at the same time, but it probably has to do with the need to be told to do something more than once. In this case, it’s needing to be nagged to take care of ourselves. The male of the species is not known for paying close attention to such things as nutrition or preventive health and is well-known for engaging in risky behaviors. As a Texan, one of my favorite jokes is:
Q: What are the most common last words of a Southern male?
A: “Hey, y’all, watch this!”
The fact is, as men age, our nutritional needs change, and our risk of developing cardiovascular disease, obesity, and cancer rises markedly. We need to ensure that we’re not only meeting our basic nutritional needs but also adding such ingredients to the diet as the tocotrienol form of vitamin E, coenzyme Q-10, the B vitamins (especially B12), vitamin D, fiber, minerals, omega oils (especially omega-3s), and probiotics. If we haven’t already, we also need to boost our intake of antioxidant fruit and vegetable ingredients. And boost them significantly. For many of these nutrients, men — more so than most demographics — fall woefully short.
Men also need to pay closer attention to their sexual health and fertility needs after age 35. Selenium, zinc, and the tocopherol form of vitamin E have, in a number of studies, demonstrated many possible benefits in these two areas. And we cannot ignore the “P” word: prostate. Lycopene and extracts of fenugreek, pumpkin seed, curcumin, and saw palmetto all have varying amounts of research supporting their contribution to prostate health, and none of them are harmful.
The challenge for food and beverage makers is to step up their development of products for men that employ these ingredients and do so in vehicles that are flavorful and fun to eat. Spicy hot barbecue potato chips, beer, beef jerky… foods for guys typically directly or indirectly target our basest desires and the Y chromosome-driven obsession with having fun. There just aren’t a whole lot of things to enjoy out there specifically aimed at men that aren’t purely hedonistic. After all, fun is what most men want more than anything, whether it’s driving too fast, climbing too high, or playing too hard. Hey, y’all, watch this!