5 Foundations of Health
04.10.2012 / In Health / by Dr. Stacie Han
Being healthy takes awareness, dedication, persistence and respect for one’s body. Investing in your health now and following the points below will make you feel stronger physically, mentally and emotionally and will most likely prevent you from having to go on drugs for diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, insomnia, depression, anxiety, etc. Take charge of your body and mind today and for the rest of your life.
- 75% of our bodies are made of water. It makes sense to nourish and “clean” our cells with water. Water staves off hunger and cravings; helps with regularity and elimination; provides us with energy if we are feeling lethargic. Some helpful hints regarding water consumption:
- If you feel thirsty, you are dehydrated.
- An ideal volume of water per day is to halve your weight and convert it into ounces. For example, if you’re 150 pounds, then you should drink 75oz per day. 1-2 cups/hour is a good guideline. Increase water after strenuous exercise.
- Room temperature water is best (without ice) as cold water slows down hydrochloric (HCl) acid production, an acid secreted by the stomach to digest foods and kill harmful microbes.
- Water should be drank 1 hour before and/or after meals. Water with your meals dilutes HCl and digestive enzymes, which you need to break down and absorb your food optimally.
- Non-caffeinated herbal teas or water with lemon/lime wedges, mint are great alternatives to pure water.
- To our society’s detriment, we grossly underestimate the benefit of sleep. There is a connection between obesity and sleep deprivation. Obesity is a good example because so many systems play a role. Obesity is on the rise and is becoming a major public health concern. When a person is partially sleep deprived, their appetite hormones leptin and ghrelin are altered in a way that causes them to become hungrier, and hungry for more fatty and high-carbohydrate foods. Their cells also become less able to use insulin efficiently. Cortisol and thyroid hormone profiles change and weight gain ensues.
- Chronic partial sleep deprivation has been shown to have a role in obesity, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, cognitive impairments, immune function, mental health, motivation to exercise, pain severity, headaches, and occupational and auto accidents. At least 8-10 hours of sleep per night is ideal. Sleeping by 10pm is most beneficial as growth hormone, tends to peak between 11pm-2am. Growth hormone stimulates growth, cell reproduction and regeneration. We literally “heal” while we sleep.
- WHOLE FOODS – local, seasonal, sustainable, organic
- The most nutrient dense and healthy foods are minimally processed and come from the earth. Examples are vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, wild fish (not farmed) and antibiotic and hormone free meat. Boxed or packaged foods i.e. cereals, energy bars often lack nutrients, vitamins, and fiber bodies need to function optimally. Some hints on how to eat healthily:
- 1/2 plate should be non-starchy veggies (i.e. kale, chard, mustard greens, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower,); fist size of meat; deck of cards size of whole grains or starchy veggies (i.e. sweet potato, parsnips, carrots, rutabaga); golf ball size of healthy fats (i.e. avocado, nuts, seeds).
- Eat “clean” Monday thru Friday or the days that you work so you are physically and mentally at your best.
- When at the grocery store, buy most if not all of your foods along the perimeter of the store, where the freshest foods are.
- REMEMBER: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” — Hippocrates
- We are animals, our bodies are meant to move and be active. It is unfortunate that many of us are sitting in front of our computers for 6-12 hours/day. That’s why it is so important to get some sort of physical activity at least 4-5 days/week. 1/2 hour to 1 hour per day of walking, biking, yoga, running, swimming, dancing are great forms of exercise.
- If you eat a lot of processed foods and/or eat out a lot, I recommend you work on your diet first before getting on supplements. If you eat well and clean as mentioned above, supplements supplement the diet. The extra vitamins, nutrients, fiber, fatty acids or amino acids provide extra support. I usually prescribe them Monday thru Friday (or working days) while taking a break on the weekends. The following are the supplements I recommend:
- Multivitamin – capsule is the best in 2-3 divided doses to increase absorption.
- Anti-inflammatory oils – 1 tablespoon of flax or fish oil in AM and PM.
- Vitamin D3 – we live in Seattle, we aren’t exposed to enough sun to make adequate stores of Vitamin D.
- Probiotics – Bowel flora play an important role in our ability to fight infectious disease, by providing a frontline in our immune defense. Acid-producing lactobacilli and bifidobacteria increase the bioavailability of minerals, which require acid for absorption – calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, and manganese. Without a healthy colony of bowel flora, we cannot expect robust health and wellbeing. The age-old naturopathic principle, start your treatment with the gut, has yet again been proven to hold much truth and value. Kimchee, sauerkraut, natto and kombucha are great sources of probiotics.
No person, drug, or supplement is going to help you feel your best, it is entirely up to you and the choices you make. I wish you the best in your health and if you would like some guidance, I would be honored to help you on your journey.
Dr. Stacie Han, ND/LAc
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