Lifestyle as Medicine.
My hope is that the ideas and information I express here in this blog will support you in making improvements to your health and overall wellbeing.
I call it your ‘health IQ’, having the knowledge and awareness to take action. It’s all about what you do or don’t do as the case might be in terms of your lifestyle habits that can go a long way towards determining your overall health status. Of course some people can be terribly unfortunate and dealt a terrible hand when it comes to their health, through absolutely no fault of their own.
But what we now know for most people is that your genetics or DNA is only responsible for twenty percent of your health.
The remaining eighty percent is determined by a master switch called the epigenome which sits on top of your DNA and acts as a sort of master controller.
This epigenome can determine if healing genes are turned on or off and whether disease triggering inflammatory genes are turned on or off.
Your epigenome responds to four main triggers
– Quality of your food intake and nutrition.
– Degree of exercise and movement you take.
– Sleep quality and quantity.
– Your mind body response which includes your ability to destress and recharge from stress, your inner sense of fulfillment and contentment (happiness) as well as your sense of overall purpose and meaning.
In other words your lifestyle can have a major impact on how healthy you are and become. The small everyday choices you make can all add up to have a major impact on how your genes express themselves, and significantly reduce your long term risk of many chronic health conditions from diabetes and dementia to coronary heart disease and even some cancers.
Positive lifestyle habits are also really important for good mental health. Exercise can be mission critical to stave off depression while adequate sleep (meaning seven and a half hours per night for most of us) and good food are key components for optimal brain health as well.
Blue zones are areas around the world where people have a three hundred percent increased chance of living beyond the age of ninety. Not just surviving to ninety but thriving in the full sense of an active and engaged life. These areas include mountainous areas of Sardinia, the Greek island of Icaria and Okinawa near Japan, among others. These aren’t places with high tech hospitals or miracle drugs. However inhabitants of blue zones do have a number of features in common which include a plant based diet (largely vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, peas, lentils), eating until they are no longer hungry rather than full up, plenty of movement, sleep and ‘down time’, along with a strong sense of ‘family first’, faith and powerful sense of purpose and community belonging.
So have you some area of your lifestyle right now that you might consider improving, for your long term health. Something to think about?