Welcome to exploring men's health. I found it really interesting to look into this topic because from a woman's perspective, I don't know how it is to be a man, but I know there is a lot of pressure to be the provider, to be the husband, to be the father, to be the strong pillar in the family or community, to play many different rolls, which can be stressful, and in my opinion, unfair. I want to offer support in all that you men do and offer encouragement when it comes to taking care of yourself. Below I have gone through a few different health issues that many men seem to face in order to give you an ayurvedic perspective and help you navigate what may be going on in your body.
Prostate Issues: Men's health sometimes gets overshadowed in the early years of life but can blow up once the age of 50 is reached (which is vata time of life). This is when 50% of men experience some kind of prostate issue. And at the age of 80 that percentage skyrockets to about 90%. In Ayurveda we want to look at preventative measures in order to hopefully avoid prostate issues and benign prostatic hypertrophy or BPH.
The prostate is called a glad but it is actually an organ (Ayurveda looks at the prostate as a pitta organ) and this organ sits just below the bladder and surrounds the upper channel of the urethra. This channel is the male reproductive channel as well as the urinary channel. The prostate functions as a pump during sexual intercourse and helps with ejaculation as well as secretes a thin, milky substance contained in semen that protects and nourishes the sperm and lubricates the urethra. When it becomes inflamed and enlarged it starts to cut off flow from the bladder through the urethra. This can cause feelings of not being able to empty the bladder completely, feeling like the bladder is constantly full, dripping urine directly after going to the bathroom, excessive urination at night, a weak urine stream, stopping and starting while urinating and difficulty in starting to urinate. These are all inconvenient, irritating and sometimes painful experiences that can lead to larger issues like damage to the kidneys and bladder over time. Because of the residue urine that is not able to escape, bacteria may begin to grow and chronic bladder or urinary tract infections may occur. If these symptoms are happening it is time to talk with your doctor.
Contributing Factors: stress, not enough sleep, holding urine too long- which concentrates the urine and causes irritation to the prostate, not drinking enough water, sitting for too long, watching too much tv at night, not eating 3 good meals a day, eating too spicy of foods, not enough exercise, taking too many over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants which can tighten the muscles that control urine flow making it difficult to go to the bathroom. Drinking too much alcohol or caffeine, which can alter urine and irritate the prostate as well.
• Eat cooling foods - stay away from spicy foods, alcohol and caffeine (or atleast decrease the amount you consume)
• Exercise regularly
• Decrease stress
• Drink enough water daily to keep regular urine flowing
• Drink fennel and cumin tea (recipe below)
• Cook with turmeric - helps with inflammation
• Get proper rest/sleep
• Get your PSA levels checked if you think here may be an issue
Impotence - The inability to achieve or maintain an erection. This can be damaging to self esteem and a relationship so understanding the reasons this may be happening is important. Impotence is a lack of blood to the penis and is often due to high cholesterol, high triglycerides, diabetes, and obesity (even 20-30 pounds overweight can cause impotence). You may want to look at your hormone levels and see if there is a decrease in testosterone levels. Also, deep seated grief, fear or childhood issues may be a root cause.
Herbs for Impotence - Ashwagandha, bala, vidari, atma gupta, goksura, shilajit, pippali and spices like bay leaves and cardamom. A great full herbal remedy would be Vital man, if there is emotions involved add Worry free. If you need extra help in maintaining the reproductive organs and enhancing semen production, take Rejuvenation for Men, one tablet twice a day before food. If you are someone who needs more nourishment and feeling weak and fatigued then drink the men's vitality drink (recipe below) on a regular basis.
High Cholesterol - During digestion triglycerides are broken down into fatty acids and glycerol. The liver is a major player in breaking down cholesterol and releasing it into the blood stream or by removing cholesterol from the blood and converting it into bile and bile salts. If there is low liver function then triglycerides and fatty molecules may not be put to use properly and may end up accumulating in the adipose tissue resulting in obesity. A major factor in the reason for build up in adipose tissue is ingesting foods that have hard to break down fats like saturated fats found in meat, butter, hard cheese and palm oils. The worst types of fat, are the trans fats, or hydrogenated vegetable oils, that are found in almost all packaged, processed and fast foods. You also want to stay away from rancid or overheated fats which are most polyunsaturated vegetable oils like corn, sunflower, safflower, sesame. They are processed with chemicals or heat, and their nutritional value is destroyed. The big issue with these fats is that they end up creating free radicals, contributing to cholesterol in the body. Even when using cold-pressed oils when frying and cooking, the high heat turns these good oils into free radicals, creating more cholesterol int he body.
Causes of High Cholesterol:
• Low digestive fire - don't digest your meals after about 4 hours, don't feel hungry 3 times a day
• Low metabolism
• Lack or exercise
• Sedentary lifestyle or job
• Too much fat in diet
• Too much saturated fats or hydrogenated oils found in packaged and processed foods
• Kapha body type
Management for High Cholesterol
• Drink copper water - fill a copper cup with water at night and drink it in the morning
• Drink hot water with honey when you wake up - add raw honey once water is drinking temperature
• Follow a cholesterol free diet
• Cook with onion and garlic
• Meditate daily to deal with stress
• Practice yoga
• Herbal recommendations: Cholesterol Protection, Liver Balance, BP Balance If you need to work on your digestive tract I highly recommended using Organic Digest Tone along with a combination of the earlier herbs in order to help flush out current toxins and help with digestion, absorption, assimilation, proper function of the digestive tract and better circulation.
Vasant D. Lad - Ayurvedic Perspectives on Selected Pathologies
Maharishi Ayurveda - A Powerful Approach to Prostate Health
Dr. John Douillard - Men's Health
Men’s Vitality Drink
10 raw almonds
1 cup warm water
a pinch of saffron
a pinch of nutmeg
a pinch of turmeric
Soak the 10 almonds overnight and peel the skin off in the next morning. Add to the water, together with the other ingredients and blend well in a blender. Drink after sex and every morning to increase vitality.
Men's Daily Tea
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
4 cups water
Place water in a pot and bring water to a simmer. Turn off heat add seeds, cover and let sit for at least 15 minutes. Best to sit overnight if possible. Drink at room temperature through out the day. This tea is good for prostate health.
Men's Cleansing Tea
2 quarts water
1/2 tsp tulsi
1/3 tsp fennel
1/4 tsp coriander seed
6 pumpkin seeds or 6 fresh cucumber seeds
Boil two quarts of water and put the water in a thermos flask. Add the rest of the ingredients. Keep drinking this water throughout the day, but stop drinking it after 7:00 p.m. Stay away from fluids at night if you have a prostate problem, as a full bladder at night can cause pressure on the prostate and disturb your sleep with the need to get up frequently to urinate.
This tea should flush out toxins, dissolve ama in the blood tissue and help purify the urine.
Thank you men, for all that you do and sharing your masculine energy with us woman so that we can all support each other !