Three Fundamental Tools for Good Health

Author: Indrani Raman, MD

As an Integrative medicine doctor, I am asked frequently about good health practices. Following are three aspects, I believe everyone should incorporate into daily life.

Nutrition

Americans, in general, tend to eat too many high glycemic carbohydrates, bad fats, sugar-laden beverages and processed foods. Did you know that the most commonly consumed foods are breads, 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 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.

Physical activity

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 is 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 workout including resistance training will do the trick.  In addition to health benefits, being active is also a great stress-buster and promotes release of endorphins that make you happy.  So what are you waiting for?  Get off the couch and go take a walk today.

Management of stress

Stress can affect your health. Everyone feels stressed at some point in their life therefore it is important to learn how to manage stress 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. Chronic stress can affect your immune system, digestion, sleep, hormonal balance, cause weight gain, headaches and increase the risk of heart disease. Make time in your daily schedule to include some type of relaxation activity that does not include social media or watching TV.   I highly recommend learning breathing techniques, volunteering, physical activity, practicing mindfulness and self-compassion.  It also helps 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.

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