Published on June 11, 2021.

Let’s talk about men’s health.

It’s a common stereotype that men don’t like to talk about their feelings – but when it comes to health and wellness, being the strong silent type doesn’t do men any favours.

Men’s Health Week, celebrated annually during the week ending on Father’s Day, honours the importance of the health and wellness of boys and men. While men are affected by the same diseases that affected the general population, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer, men are also less likely to visit their doctor and more likely to make risky life choices than their female counterparts[1]. Plus, men have to deal with unique health issues such as prostate enlargement or prostate cancer.

So with that in mind, here are 5 tips to improve health and wellness for anyone with an XY chromosome combo:

  1. Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. It’s well known that smoking isn’t good for you. The good news? When you quit, your body can heal itself remarkably quickly – research has suggested within 10 years, stroke mortality declines by 42% and heart attacks by 57%[2]. Other risky behaviours, such as excessive alcohol consumption, can trigger a range of health issues including sexual dysfunction and erectile dysfunction[3].

  1. Maintain a healthy weight. Canadian men are less likely than their female counterparts to consume a healthy diet[4]. The result? Higher rates of obesity and a predisposition to lifestyle-related chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), type 2 diabetes, cancer and sexual dysfunction[5]. A healthy diet includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and protein foods such as nuts, fish and lean red meats or wild game. Avoid saturated fats (olive oil makes a great healthy substitute!) and limit your intake of processed foods[6].

  1. Manage your blood pressure, glucose levels and cholesterol. CVD is a leading cause of premature mortality among middle-aged and older men[7]. That takes us to our next point: in addition to eating a healthier diet and avoiding risky behaviours, make physical activity part of your day!

  1. Engaging in regular exercise can help maintain a healthy weight. It can also help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol[8]. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise per week of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity[9]. Bonus: exercise has been linked to enhanced sexual behaviour[10].

  2. Mental wellness. Exercise can also help fight depression, stress and other mental illnesses. Sleep is an important contributor to mental health as well, and is critical for human life and healthy brain function. The amount of sleep you get is directly associated with various health outcomes, including chronic diseases and increased chance of death. The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends between 7-9 hours of sleep a night[11].

In addition to living a more healthy lifestyle, natural health supplements may help with certain specifically male health conditions.

Male sexual health gets a lot of attention since it correlates with many other health related conditions – Horny Goat Weed is a flowering plant endemic to China and used in traditional Chinese Medicine to tonify the kidney yang and as an aphrodisiac and to strengthen sinew and bone[12]. Maca is a root native to Peru that provides antioxidants for the maintenance of good health.

Since prostate-related issues are a major concern for many older men, Saw Palmetto – a small palm tree from the Southeastern US – is used in Herbal Medicine to help relieve the urologic symptoms associated with mild to moderate benign prostatic hyperplasia[13].

Before changing your diet or exercise plan or taking any natural health supplements, make sure to speak with your healthcare provider.


[1] Flannigan et al. Composite health behaviour classifier as the basis for targeted

interventions and global comparisons in men’s health. Original Research. 2018 Sept. 27

[2] Park B, Lee Y-J.  Upcoming Aging Society and Men’s Health: Focus on Clinical Implications of Exercise and Lifestyle Modification. World J Mens Health 2020 Jan 38(1): 24-31

[3] IBID Park B, Lee Y-J 2020

[4] IBID, Flannigan et al. 2018

[5] IBID, Flannigan et al. 2018

[6] Canada’s Food Guide. 2021 [cited May 10th 2021]; Available from:

[7] IBID Park B, Lee Y-J 2020

[8] IBID, Flannigan et al. 2018

[9] Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. 2021 [cited May 10th 2021]; Available from:

[10] White, J.R., Case, D.A., McWhirter, D. et al. Enhanced sexual behavior in exercising men. Arch Sex Behav 19, 193–209 (1990).

[11] Hirshkowitz M, Whiton K, Albert SM, et al. National Sleep Foundation's updated sleep duration recommendations: Final report. Sleep Health 2015; 1:233-43

[12] Melnyk, J.P., Marcone M.F. Aphrodisiacs from plant and animal sources—A review of current scientific literature. Food Research International 44 (2011) 840–850

[13] Saw Palmetto for Prostate Disorders. 2003 [cited May 10th 2021]; Available from: