As an Integrative medicine doctor, I am asked frequently about good health practices. I always recommend to begin with the following three aspects.
Most Americans, eat too much of high glycemic load carbohydrates, bad fats, sugar-laden beverages and processed foods. We eat bread, chicken dishes, energy or sports drinks, pizzas, burgers and desserts. These foods are pro-inflammatory, full of additives, altered fats and promote insulin resistance. They lower your immunity and make your body prone to gain weight, increase risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Start by eating fresh and unprocessed foods at home, avoid sugar-laden beverages, read the labels on the products, and eat more vegetables,nuts and fruit. Healing begins from within your body.
It has been known that almost 50% of the adults in the United States do not meet the minimum criteria of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. This amount of physical activity has been shown to have an inverse relationship with the risk of heart disease and mortality. For people trying to achieve weight loss the physical activity needed is up to 250 minutes per week. This does not have to be intensive, even a moderate aerobic work out including resistance training will do the trick. In addition to health benefits, being active is also a great stress-buster and promotes the release of endorphins that make you happy along with decreasing the risk of dementia. So what are you waiting for? Get off the couch and go take a walk today.
Management of stress
Did you know that stress can affect your health? Everyone feels stressed at some point in their life. It is important to learn how to manage your stress level so that it does not affect your physical and mental wellbeing. Chronic stress can sometimes be so much a part of life that we’re unable to even recognize its symptoms. It can affect your immune system, digestion, sleep, hormonal balance, cause weight gain, headaches and increase the risk of heart disease. It is important to first recognize the symptoms from chronic stress which are the tip of the iceberg. Make time in your daily schedule to include some type of relaxation activity and by that I do not mean social media or watching TV. These are only temporary buffers that do not promote any relaxation to your mind. I highly recommend learning a few breathing techniques, volunteering, physical activity, practicing mindfulness and self-compassion. You also feel better if you have a great social support group and are spiritual.
If one can manage these big hurdles they are certainly on their way to achieve optimal Health and Wellness.