What do you define health as?
For me, health is more than just the absence of symptoms. As part of my university training, I was taught to look for disease symptoms and help rectify those symptoms.
Thankfully Naturopathy looks at more than just symptoms.
Health is more than just that one part of the body. It integrates the whole of your body.
Health is about living your life to the fullest, without struggle, without fatigue, without pain, without feeling foggy and without having to push yourself through each day, but it is more than just that….. Health includes living your life with love, happiness, energy, vitality and purpose.
Health is all about balance.
As a biochemist, I look at balance as the communication between cells and organs. I look at health as the interaction of nutritional elements from what we eat and our daily activities.
I wanted to share with you the Five foundations of health………..
Addressing each of these areas can set the scene to help you achieve your health goals.
Diet is fundamental. It’s essential to be one of the major foundations because what you eat, you become. Food becomes incorporated into your cells, into genetic replication, hormones and even immune cells. So, what you eat is very important.
When I talk about what you’re eating, it doesn’t have to be a strict diet. You don’t have to be missing out on elements of fun in your diet. Instead, base your diet on the 80/20 rule.
Make at least 80% of your diet based on salad, fruits and vegetables. These natural plant foods contain a plethora of phytochemicals.
Phytochemicals are compounds in the food that can have anti-inflammatory actions, help protect against cancer, and help support the health of the microbiome of the gut and the immune system.
Plant foods such as salad, vegetables and fruit also contain vitamins, minerals and fibre to support our nutrition and a healthy gut.
The other 20% include foods like meats, chicken, fish, eggs, grains, pseudo-grains and beans, even sweet and fun foods. This creates balance……
Just make sure that the mainstay of your diet come from salad, fruits and vegetables because that’s the way you will get key nutrients to support your health.
Moving your body through exercise or fun activities increases your circulation, creates endorphins (“feel good” hormones) and helps to decrease stress.
Just like with diet, exercise doesn’t have to be hard. If you don’t like going to the gym, don’t do it. Instead, find an exercise or activity that you love to do and will engage in regularly.
The exercise or activity could be walking, yoga, a nature walk, a game of tennis, or a bike ride with your friends.
Ask yourself what exercise/activity could you do regularly that you enjoy?
- Stress management
Stress is everywhere in our lives. Stress impacts each person differently. The way you react to stress is the key, and techniques to help reduce the impact of stress is the answer.
Stress management techniques can include yoga, breathing techniques, meditation, visualisation, journaling, listening to music, enjoying a hobby, craft or painting.
The activities you can enjoy for stress management are endless and personal to you.
Your mind is filled with thousands of thoughts each day. These thoughts may be positive or negative in nature. Fostering a positive mindset is very important towards health. This is because your genes and cells are eavesdropping on the thoughts that you’re thinking.
Your genes and cells react to the thoughts and emotions you are experiencing
Ensuring that your thoughts are positive and productive by being aware of negative thoughts (and changing the thoughts) will help your genetics to respond positively.
Personally, I use a positive affirmation calendar and keep positive affirmations on my phone to prompt me daily.
- Correcting your Gut Flora
Think of the digestive system like a garden. The probiotics of the gut are the plants, and the dysbiotic or non-beneficial microbes of the intestines are the weeds. The aim is to have lots of varieties of plants and not many weeds.
Create an environment that supports the probiotics in your digestive system. The communication or the interaction between the microbes of our gut and our cells is vital.
I spoke back at the beginning about how health is about balance. From my scientific point of view, it’s the balance of the interaction between the cells. And that’s very important here.
The microbes of our gut create a plethora of chemicals that support our health, balance our immune system, help reduce inflammation in our body, and produce vitamins like vitamin K and vitamin B 12, and many other nutrients that our intestinal cells need for good health.
These microbes are vital. And they’re essential for our mental health as well. These microbes can create compounds that support our serotonin levels (a mood-enhancing chemical). The majority of your serotonin comes from your digestive system, and you really want to make sure that those gut microbes work for you and not against you.
And that’s where foundation number one, which is diet, is essential. The salad, fruits, and vegetables feed our gut’s microbiome and help us foster the best health we can have.
- Reducing Toxin Burden
Toxins are chemicals and compounds that can be in our environment and daily lives. We are all exposed to toxins, and the aim is to reduce the amount in your body and life.
Some ways that you can do that are:
— Reduce plastic products and containers, including water bottles and food containers. Instead, use pyrex and stainless steel water bottles.
— Avoid non-stick cookware as it can release toxic chemicals during your cooking.
— Look at the types of personal care products you are using. Do they contain many ingredients, including perfume, parfum or fragrance? There can be thousands of chemicals in your personal care products. Therefore, selecting products that are low toxin is essential to help support your health.
— Cleaning products can also contain toxins. Choosing to purchase low toxin products is the best start.
— Studies have shown that plants can help to absorb many toxic chemicals. So enjoy adding plants to your
There you have it! My five foundations for health to help support health and wellbeing.
Incorporating these foundations as part of everyday life will help to support your health. So make these foundations part of your routines. And without these foundations, we don’t have good health, and without good health, we won’t have a good quality of life.
If you’re looking for strategies, I’d love to be able to help. I’m here for anyone who wants to work towards their best health and live their best life. This will result in all of us living life to the fullest with purpose and passion.