What does this mean? The authors of this study looked at several important markers of health: waist circumference, fasting blood sugar, hemoglobin A1c, blood pressure, triglycerides, HDL, and whether someone was taking any medication related to these markers. They used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009-2016. Only 12.3% of US adults qualified as healthy on all measures. So how did we get into this horrible situation?
Let’s step back and look at modifiable factors that play into these health measures.
- Adequate restorative sleep
- Sunlight (Vitamin D)
- Social connection
- Environmental toxins
I have discussed the importance of sleep in several posts. Following this link you will find recommendations for good sleep habits that can enhance the quality and duration of your sleep.
If you have not watched Dan Pardi’s discussion of “HOW TO OPTIMIZE LIGHT FOR HEALTH” I recommend you watch this.
Stress reduction is a huge topic. Managing stress involves so many areas it deserves a separate discussion. But here are some basics. Getting adequate sleep is the place to start. Activities like Meditation, Yoga, moderate exercise (walking outdoors in a green space) Tai Chi, music, practicing Mindfulness, and spending time with family and friends are all potential avenues to reduce the deletrious effects of stress in our lives.
I have presented one approach to an anti-inflammatory diet and if you have not read through the details just follow the link. The low hanging fruit begins with elimination of processed foods, sweetened beverages, and pro-inflammatory “vegetable oils” (OILS made from corn, soy, cottonseed, safflower, sunflower, canola, margarine). EAT WHOLE FOODS.
TO LEARN ABOUT THE ILL-EFFECTS OF “VEGETABLE OILS” LISTEN TO NINA:
My post about exercise as medicine can be found here.
The best way to exercise is to play as described by my friend Daryl Edwards in his TED talk.
Most Americans do not get enough, but some get too much. Moderation is important.
Getting outdoor light exposure early in the day and avoiding the deleterious effects of artificial light in the evening (wear blue light blocking glasses in the evening) are two important ways to get the most benefit from light exposure, improve your sleep and enhance your Vitamin D level. Exercise outdoors in a green space provides more benefit than walking the treadmill indoors.
Blue Zones are areas in the world that have the greatest numbers of individuals living to age 100. The climates and food varies among the various areas. They all have two things in common. First is a high degree of social connection, strong family ties, lifelong friends. Social connection within a supportive community is arguably one of the most important factors affecting health, longevity, and healthspan. Second, they eat REAL WHOLE FOOD.
Part of eliminating environmental toxins includes consuming organic fruits and vegetables and eating meat, poultry and eggs from hormone-free, antibiotic-free, free- range/pastured sources. (ALL PART OF AN ANCESTRAL/PALEO DIET) If you are not familiar with the “dirty dozen” and the “clean 15” head on over to EWG.org where you will learn not only about what foods have the most/least residual pesticides, but also what personal care products and household cleaners are safe for you and your family.
WATER: Because humans have spent the last 4-5 decades polluting our air and water there is probably no water supply that is totally free of enviornmental toxins. To minimize your consumption of enviornmental toxins, filter your drinking water through a high quality system.
Matthew Redlund MD has written a great book “THE POWER OF REST”. Here he discusses why sleep is not enough.
The fact that only 12% of American adults are metabolically healthy should be cause for great alarm. All chronic and degenerative diseases including dementia, heart disease, stroke, arthritis and cancer rise as metabolic health deteriorates.
Remember, this website offers educational information only. Consult your health care provider for medical advice.
Sleep well, exercise outdoors, laugh, love, engage in meaningful work, drink filtered water, eat clean, eat whole foods, get plenty of sunshine, spend time with those you love.