A Man's Survival Guide to Herbs: Staying Healthy

Avoid expensive and taxing visits to the doctor as much as possible by staying healthy with these simple tips.

| November/December 1997

Men hate to go to the doctor. I know this because I am one. Here’s what I can’t stand about close encounters of the medical kind: the poking and prodding, the ice-cold stethoscope, the dreaded digital-rectal exam, the blood tests, and dealing with my HMO, whose bureaucracy makes the Pentagon look like a model of efficiency. All my buddies feel the same way—even those who are doctors.

My friends and I are not unusual. Studies show that, except in emergencies, men usually go to the doctor for only one reason—because a woman sends them. That’s mainly why men enjoy a “marriage health bonus”. Compared with single folks, married people live significantly longer and healthier, and the effect is most pronounced for men. It’s not just because men stop eating cold pizza for breakfast. It’s also because women are the family caretakers and, with the exchange of vows, they get new clients—their husbands.

That makes things tough for us guys. After the nuptials, we not only have to dodge the doctor’s appointment clerk who calls to say it’s time for another fun-filled prostate check. We also have to duck the wife, who can’t seem to get enough of our cholesterol counts.

But after years as an intrepid medical journalist, I’ve come up with The Answer: Just stay healthy. This may sound flip, but it’s not all that difficult. The key ingredients to a successful health regimen are: stop smoking, get regular exercise, sleep at least seven hours a night, manage your stress, always remember your anniversary, and embrace plants and herbs.

The best diet for men (and women)

For optimal health, a plant-based diet is definitely the way to go. It helps prevent three of the nation’s leading killers of both men and women: heart disease, cancer, and stroke, which together account for almost two-thirds of U.S. deaths.

What does a plant-based diet have to offer? A lot. Here’s just a tiny fraction of the compelling evidence:

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