By Karen Langston
Welcome to June. Hot enough for ya? June is men’s health month—making it a great time to talk about the family jewels. Did you know the American Cancer Society predicts about 191,930 new cases of prostate cancer, with about 33,330 deaths this year? There are things you can do to prevent this preventative disease.
In Victorian times, it was considered improper to refer to a male’s anatomy with the correct medical terms. What to do? Since a family’s wealth was in their much-loved and -protected precious jewels, losing those jewels could literally ruin a family. Plus, men of wealth and royalty held their precious lineage in their Calvin Kline’s; thus, “family jewels” became the slang term for the male genitalia, and “protect the family jewels” became a popular term.
So, how do you protect the family jewels?
A Zinc Deficiency
Let’s start with the essential trace mineral zinc. Did you know the prostate requires more zinc than any other organ in the body? Zinc deficiency is a world-wide problem. Studies have shown an association between benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostate cancer, and low levels of zinc.
Long before the prostate is affected you can look for clues of low zinc levels. These include white spots on fingernails, hair loss, and loss of taste and smell.
If there is a diagnosis of BPH and/or you have any of these symptoms, have your zinc and other mineral status tested through a micronutrient test. In Arizona we are fortunate to be able to order our own lab tests.
Men between the ages of 16-25 typically will notice white spots are on their fingernails if their diet is low in zinc. This is because these ages are when they are dealing with puberty, when the reproduction system is kicking into high gear, and when sexual activity is increasing. During these normal processes, zinc becomes even more important.
How to Correct a Zinc Deficiency
One thing you can do is eat foods rich in zinc. Foods to incorporate into your diet include raw pumpkin seeds, oysters, beef, lamb, chicken, spinach, and cashews.
If you want to take a zinc supplement, it is better to have your zinc levels tested first so that you know how much to take without causing a copper deficiency.
Are Your Clothes Impacting Your Health?
Let’s also talk about tight-fitting clothes—especially in the lower region. Not only can these inhibit proper blood flow and irritate the skin, but they often do not allow the body to breathe. In fact, an increased number of young men are suffering from painful testicular problems including twisted testicles, bladder weakness, low sperm count, fungal infections, and bladder weakness from wearing tight-fitting skinny-jeans. Maybe we should go back to the MC Hammer pants from the early ’90s! No? Okay, I don’t blame you. But how about something in-between?
It is important for men of childbearing years to look after their jewels. This means forgoing the trends and looking for looser trousers, including underwear. According to authors Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer in their book, Dressed to Kill, Second Edition: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras, tight-fitting briefs have been implicated in male infertility because it increases testicle body heat. Sperm needs to be below body temperature to be fully functional, which is why testicles hang below the body.
Trending loose fitting pants
Start your own trend. Include loose fitting pants, especially in the groin area. You want the waist loose enough to allow for loose boxer shorts. Boxer shorts allow for the jewels to hang and keep cool. It is also going to allow the skin to breathe, preventing skin irritation and fungal infections.
Let’s also bump it up a notch and start wearing organic cotton boxers. Synthetic fabrics, including the dyes, are made with toxic chemicals which can leach into your skin. Some of these hazardous chemicals have been found to be carcinogenic, mutagenic and/or toxic for reproduction. A 2014 meta-analysis found Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) linked to prostate cancer, malignant, and nonmalignant renal disease.
Think about it, the most vulnerable part of your body chronically exposed to excess heat and chemicals, is responsible for half the genetic coding for making a baby.
With summer upon us and the thermometer only going up, why not choose breathable trousers and shorts such as organic cotton and linen too? Natural Clothing Company carries men’s eco-friendly and sensible comfortable pants and shorts. Toad&Co and Prana found at REI in Arizona also offer sustainably made, eco-friendly organic cotton and hemp clothing for work, play, and fitness.
June is the month where we celebrate Father’s Day and transition from spring to hot weather in the Valley. What a perfect month to shop eco and healthy, and protect yourself as well as the next generation.
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Karen Langston is a certified holistic nutritionist working with clients on how to have three healthy poops a day. Poop well, be well. www.healthygutadvisor.com.