It’s Movember - Time To Get Serious About Men’s Health By Debbie Bowman RHN On-Staff Nutritionist for Edible Island Whole Foods Market
No that’s not a typo - November is now sometimes known as Movember. Movember is an annual event that involves the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of various men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and suicide. Thankfully, it’s not possible for me to grow a Fu-Manchu or a handlebar moustache, but I can write an article that talks about some easy - and hairless - ways for men of any age to support their health.
The easiest way for a man to support his health is the daily use of a top quality multivitamin. Although many men strive to eat the best diet they can, it’s almost impossible these days to ensure that one is getting all the vitamins and minerals necessary from food alone. Why is this? Most of our food is now grown using monoculture technology and mass production methodologies, and as a result, fields are now depleted by overuse and the use of chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.
Let’s expand on that last paragraph. Today, most large-scale farms focus on only one or two crops and neglect the old ways of farming such as crop rotation and allowing fields to lay fallow - farming methodologies initiated to ensure the retention of soil nutrients. Furthermore, the use of pesticides and herbicides inhibits the action of beneficial microbes that would otherwise be present in the soil - microbes that help the plants to draw up nutrients from the soil. Lastly, industrial fertilizers are manufactured to focus on certain key chemicals that ensure quick growth, but don’t take into account all the trace minerals and organic compounds that go into good nutrition. The end result is food that can be sub-par when it comes to the necessary amounts of vitamins and minerals one needs to stay healthy in our modern world.
Okay, so it’s a good idea to take a multivitamin, but how do we ensure our vitamin choice is a good one? The best way to choose a multivitamin is to ask the vitamin advisor to show you which products are whole-food derived. Many mainstream multivitamins on the market today contain synthetic vitamins. Synthetic vitamins are chemical isolates made in a laboratory to mimic their natural equivalents. However, synthetic vitamins lack the transporters and co-factors associated with naturally occurring vitamins, and as such, the body does not recognize synthetic vitamins to the same degree as whole-food derived vitamins.
Whole-food vitamins are created using just that - whole-foods. They are minimally processed to remove the water and the fibre, and this processing occurs below 112 degrees to preserve the beneficial enzymes. When we take a whole-food derived multivitamin we are consuming vitamins in their whole and natural form, meaning they are paired with the micronutrients, cofactors, phytonutrients and enzymes necessary for our bodies to recognize and take up the nutrition into our cells.
There are many things men can do to support their health, such as getting adequate exercise, following a healthy diet regime that focuses on locally produced and organic food as much as possible, reducing stress, and visiting the doctor for regular exams. But perhaps the easiest way to improve one’s health is to take a quality, whole-food derived multivitamin. The full spectrum and recognizable nutrients contained in each tablet will give our body what it needs to maintain health and vitality for years to come.