No matter our age or state of health, these 6 factors play a critical part of our health. They help keep us healthy and they help us recover from disease. Each factor has it own benefits and prevention and improvement in health. Then all the foundations interact and accentuate each other. These are all simple and often overlooked as their importance is not recognized.

These are area to work on if you are healthy and wondering how to stay that way or if you are wondering how to better manage your health.

1. Sleep

Good sleep is really a panacea. No downside and loads of benefits!

Getting the sleep, you need helps your immune system, weight management. Decrease anxiety and depression. You are more productive, learn better and feel better. Sleep is one of the few things that prevent dementia.

Effective sleep can be elusive. Uninterrupted sleep allows the different stages to build and allow the body and brain to ‘reboot”. Sleep hygiene is the road map to good sleep. Cognitive Behavior therapy for insomnia is 80% effective to get you the sleep you deserve.

2. Diet

There are so many diets and ways to eat out there that it can be confusing. The power of food is great! Focusing on health is how I approach food. A diet full of vegetables (4-5 servings) and fiber (20-40gm/day) decrease cancer risk and reoccurrence and heart/vascular disease. A diet like the Mediterranean diet helps you lose weight and prevents & controls diabetes.

High fiber of 30 gm/day decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45% for average risk and 65% for high risk. 2 oz of legumes daily decreases CVD risk by 22%.

These numbers are impressive!

3. Good gut (fiber & probiotics)-

Fiber is like exercise for the gut. 30 gm of fiber a day decreases cardiovascular disease by 22 %. Humans at high risk of colon cancer decrease their risk by 65% and average risk decrease colon cancer risk by 45%. Decrease episodes of diverticulitis and development of diverticulosis. Fiber helps our gut microbiome. Helps make us feel full and control our portions and our weight.

Probiotics are like nutrient for the gut. The gut microbiome improves our immune system and mental health. It helps our gut work better. 100 billion CFU daily helps decrease bloating, nausea, improve food tolerance, People who eat > 30 vegetables a week have a better microbiome.

Both improve our bowel movements. Our microbiome positively impacts our immune system, depression, and anxiety. A happy gut helps us absorb our food and maintain a healthy weight.

4. Exercise

The benefits of exercise come at a low bar. Only 45 minutes of high intensity (80% of our max) a week or 150 minutes of moderate intensity/ week and two 30 min strength training sessions a week. You can even combine strength training and cardio with exercise regime like HIIT or Tabata.

Helps decrease our fracture risk, improve our heart health, and decrease our cancer risk. Helps with stress management and improves sleep. Our brain functions better with exercise. Improves cognition and sense of well-being. Blood sugar is better maintained with exercise.

5. Stress management

Stress makes everything worse. Our brains work poorly when we are stressed, and our bodies wear out quicker when we are stressed. Every disease is worse with stress.

Mindfulness and meditation are important to help manage our stress. Mindfulness activates our frontal lobes of our brain and helps us make better decisions. It slows us down and keeps us from going into fight or flight response. It helps us reset our mood and thoughts. Mindfulness can be as simple as a breath.

Meditation activates our cerebrum and allows the two hemispheres communicate better. It allows us to ramp up or down depending on our requirements. It helps us sleep better. We process better and learn better. We are more productive.

Sleep and exercise also are important to help manage our stress.

6. Body work

Our bodies rare physical moving structures that require maintenance and tune ups much like our cars. When our body is not working well then, we don’t function well. Massage, adjustments, acupuncture, and Rolfing are great tools to keep our body functioning at our best. massage helps our muscles while adjustments help keep our skeleton in alignment. Acupuncture helps keep our body in harmony while Rolfing keeps the facia that ties everything together moving smoothly. If we are in pain we don’t sleep well, we don’t exercise, and our stress and eating are off.

The wonderful part is each foundation is accentuated by another.

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