What does healthy mean to you? Is it simply the absence of disease or does it include a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, as defined by the World Health Organization? To maximize our potential for optimal health, we might add intellectual, emotional and spiritual wellbeing as well. The origin of the word health comes from the Old English word hale which translates to mean “wholeness, being whole, sound or well.” Many of us would agree that a balance of all the dimensions of health are equally important to achieve true wellness.
Yet, in general, the American population’s adherence to a healthy lifestyle has decreased over the last 2 decades:
- Obesity is the new normal. While overweight and obesity rates in the U.S. climbed to 68.6%, research shows that 41% were happy with their current weight and 49% were twice as likely to want to lose weight than were actually taking steps to accomplish any weight loss. According to Gallup’s annual Health and Healthcare poll, for the first time in 25 years less than half of Americans wanted to lose weight, down from 62% in 2004. Even though statistics show that obesity worldwide has become a great concern for global public health, a solid majority of Americans say their weight is “about right.”
- Nope, not going to make those healthy lifestyle changes. While medical research shows that a person who has had a heart attack is at greater risk for another one, many are not making the necessary lifestyle changes to reverse or prevent cardiac disease, including getting regular exercise, quitting smoking, reducing stress or losing weight. Even though heart disease is preventable and in many cases reversible, statistics show that Americans who have survived a heart attack are less likely to eat a heart-healthy diet, engage in regular exercise, quit smoking, maintain a healthy weight or minimize stress, than those who have never had a heart attack.
- Read any good books lately? You’re joking, right? While we are inundated with recommendations to reduce stress to support good health, almost half of Americans report being stressed for time. Studies show that nearly half of our children live in homes where both parents work full time. Parents find that trying to balance home and work life along with childcare responsibilities is stressful and many feel that they don’t get to spend enough time with their children, family members or friends, nor are they able to get adequate sleep.
- Broccoli? No, thanks. Studies show that eating a minimum of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily allows people to live longer and healthier lives. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), optimal nutrition is the cornerstone of good health and disease prevention. If we are to succeed in significantly reducing excessive premature death and highly preventable chronic diseases, good nutrition is critical. Yet, according to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) fully 87% of Americans don’t meet the daily recommendations for fruit consumption and 91% don’t meet the recommendations for vegetable consumption.
Good health may go unappreciated but should never be undervalued. The outstanding Greek physician Hippocrates reportedly stated, “A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings.” Hopefully in 2016 more Americans will begin to realize that health really is the true wealth and will start to take steps to improve their nutrition and lifestyle habits.
There’s plenty of room for improvement in 2016:
- Seriously, carve out a bit of time each day to exercise. When we elevate the importance of exercise, most of us can manage to fit in 20 minutes of aerobic activity every day to reduce the risks of developing inflammatory and degenerative conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis and a long list of other chronic diseases. Just a little exercise each day reduces stress, keeps your body toned and supports a healthy mood.
- Eat more plant based foods. It’s not that hard to incorporate more fruits and veggies into your daily diet when you include some at every meal. By eating more plant based foods, you’re increasing your vitamin, mineral, antioxidant, phytonutrient and fiber intake. Adding a small salad at lunch and dinner time and including fresh fruit as dessert increases a feeling of satiety and helps you eat less overall, helping to reduce or maintain your weight and giving your body some much needed nutritional support.
- Support your digestive health for overall good health. A healthy digestive system allows for absorption and utilization of the micro and macro nutrients your body requires, not only for optimal function, but for a fully functioning immune system also. An unhealthy digestive system triggers inflammation, the sneaky culprit behind disease progression. Many digestive issues can be resolved by supporting a healthy microbiome with a daily probiotic supplement and a nutritious diet that includes lots of fiber.
- Regular sufficient sleep is the great healer. There’s no getting around it, we all need restorative sleep each night. Considering our time restraints and distractions these days, getting a good night’s sleep is a challenge. Sleep is an essential requirement for our physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing. Those of us who are chronically sleep deprived are more likely to develop chronic disease and obesity and to experience reduced productivity. To remain healthy and to function at your best, consider a good night’s sleep a necessity, not a luxury.
- If you are going to make one change to your diet, greatly reduce your sugar intake. Heart disease, dementia and highly prevalent type 2 diabetes are linked to the predominant amounts of added sugars we consume. Take small steps to slowly wean yourself off added sugars by including more naturally sweet fruits, vegetables and dairy, while eliminating unhealthy sugary drinks and snacks.
- Nutritional supplements aid in reducing nutritional deficiencies. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) concluded that we currently consume insufficient amounts of vitamins A, D, E and C, folate, calcium, magnesium, fiber and potassium and that this underconsumption is linked to adverse health outcomes. Malnutrition can result in unexplained weight loss, fatigue, frequent illness, an impaired immune response, poor concentration and depression. A nutritious diet along with high quality supplementation can support optimal bodily functions and metabolic processes and reduce your risks of developing poor health.
Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality supplements and nutraceuticals that support your wellness goals:
PGX® Daily by Bioclinic Naturals – This clinically studied formula supplies a highly viscous proprietary fiber blend in support of healthy glucose metabolism, improved regularity, increased satiety and reduced appetite. Gluten free.
UltraNutrient® by Pure Encapsulations – This advanced hypoallergenic formula provides high potency, broad-spectrum, enhanced nutritional support for the cardiovascular system and optimal liver function. The gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formula contains bioavailable vitamins, minerals, botanicals and well recognized antioxidants.
Fiber Plus Caps by Ortho Molecular – This blend of natural ingredients provides probiotics, bran, fruits and fiber in support of healthy bowel function, regularity and long term maintenance of healthy bowels. Gluten and soy free.
MegaFlora® Plus by MegaFood – This proprietary probiotic blend supplies 50 billion CFU per capsule in support of intestinal health, bowel regularity and a healthy immune response. Gluten, soy and dairy free, this product is especially helpful in restoring the microbiome after a course of antibiotics.
Multi-Mins™ Iron and Copper Free by Biotics Research – Multi-Mins™ provides a balanced source of mineral chelates, whole food, phytochemically bound trace minerals, antioxidant enzymes and Betaine HCI to facilitate absorption. Gluten free. Also available as Multi-Mins™ with iron and copper.
What is Health? What Does Good Health Mean? http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/150999.php?page=2
Health Habits. The 2015 Year in Review at Gallup.com. http://www.gallup.com/topic/health_habits.aspx
Obesity Rates & Trends Overview. http://stateofobesity.org/obesity-rates-trends-overview/
Stressed, Tired, Rushed: A Portrait of the Modern Family. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/05/upshot/stressed-tired-rushed-a-portrait-of-the-modern-family.html?_r=0