You have an issue, visit a hospital and come out of it with a bag of pills. You smile, since now your issues are fixed and you can keep doing what you were doing. On other extreme, your doctor says after your yearly check-up “You have a bit of fat in your liver. You should eat a bit less of this or that” and sends you home without doing more tests or addressing the root cause of the issue.
The system is broken. It prioritizes quick solutions over finding the root cause. It prioritizes doing nothing over working on finding solutions that work long term.
And there is a way. It is called lifestyle. Fortunately there are voices speaking up. Check out the interview (here) of , cardiologist Dr. Bret Scher and his opinion on statins the most widely used cholesterol lowering drug.
I strongy believe in many cases, lifestyle is the first and only preventative measure needed to be (or become) healthy.This post does not constitute a medical advice but I really want to raise your awareness of how important lifestyle is.
Lifestyle matters. Your life matters.
Our bodies are the most complex machines on the world and nutrition is probably the A to Z for them to function properly.
Most of our organs work day and night to provide energy and fuel our brains and muscles. And we need a lot more fuel, to heal, repair and grow. If we don’t eat the right food we can’t give our body the right fuel and it will slowly start breaking down. Nutrition needs to provide right the building block for every single function in our body. But we also need to provide the right signals at the right time. Too much or too less of something can tilt the balance that the body is fighting so hard to maintain.
Here are some examples of what might happen if our nutrition if not on point.
Take for example insulin. Insulin is an essential hormone. If you don’t have insulin you have Type I diabetes and need to take insulin for the rest of your life. On the other hand to much insulin causes Type II diabetes and is associated with every single diseace out there.
On the other hand, most people are not aware that all sex hormones depend on cholesterol. If you a guy and want to keep your testosterone levels you depend on eating cholesterol!
Everything in our body works in balance. Minerals works sinergetecally when in balance or they compete with each other when not. A great example is Sodium and potassium. Those two go together like yin and yang. They are the two primary electrolytes in your body, working together to maintain fluid balance in cells, blood plasma and extracellular fluid. Potassium is found primarily inside cells, and sodium is the main electrolyte in extracellular fluid. And doctors recommend us to reduce salt from our diet…
Nutrients work together
The methylation cycle is a series of chemical changes that occur in the body, which regulates genetic repair and expression, and generate energy-rich molecules. The methylation cycle begins in the blood vessels with folate (B9) obtained from diet. But in the whole process also requires Mg, Zn, B12, Cu, P5P (B6) and a number of hormones. If this process goes wrong due to any deficiencies a number disorders can start appearing.
- Nutrients and hormones balance is key to avoid a number of disorders
- Taking supplements in most cases is shown not not to work, unless you really know what you are looking for.
Sleep is the most underrated healing process in our society.
All species sleep. To put it in another way, sleep has survived millions of years of evolution and all species still sleep even at the face of danger and being attack while at sleep. What is amazing is that aquatic mammals and birds sleep by turning half of their brain off so they can continue to swim or fly. Some animals like the brown bat, spends more of their time sleeping and 19 hours per day.
REM and NREM Sleep
NREM sleep takes place mostly in the first part of the night and is considered as the integration phase where we are interconnecting past and new experiences building an accurate model of how the world works.
REM sleep other part sleep, during which the are brain is functioning as if we were awake but our muscles are paralized. During the REM phase, also called as reflection phase, we have vivid dreams which are used for storing our experiences and strengthening our skills, imagination and creativite.
Sleep can help
- Burn more fat and keep it off
- Increase your intelligence and concentration by 3 times
- Make you look and feel 10 years younger
- Have limitless energy during the day
- Protect against neurodegeneration and diabetes!
- Lower your chance of dying pre-maturely. Just alone a daily noon time nap is associated with reducing the risk of mortaity by 60%.
I see stress as an extension of sleep. When stressed our heart rate elevates our blood pressure increases making it impossible to sleep. Managing stress, relaxing and breathing through the mouth are key elements to prepare for a good night sleep and triggger the right hormones like seratonin and melatonin.
- Not sleeping properly can lead to many disorders like diabetes and even increases the risk of mortality.
Exercising is crusial for life. The benefits are countless and we can only list some of them.
- As we get older we can lose 1% of lean muscle mass every year. This can lead to serious deceases like sarcopenia and even osteoporosis. Do resistance training is crucial for maintaining muscle.
- Exercise creates new brain cells making new connections, adapting and learning.
- Exercising helps with mobility and flexibility to avoid movement limitations which as we age leads so many elderly to a senatery life and loss of connection from the family friend and all social interaction.
- Exercise helps with cardio vascular health, improving insulin sensitivity and lowering blood sugars.
- Mitochondria is our energy producing power house in every single cell in our body. Exercising leads to continious production on new healthy mitochondria which translates to more energy capacity in our every day life.
- Fitness will help you reduce cardiovascular issues, keep a healthy brain.
- Choose any sport you enjoy, and can keep doing and have fun.
- Remember not to over-train and take time to recover
Health does not come into a box of pills. It comes from making lifestyle choices. So here are some suggestions.
- Know your status : Do regular and extensive tests. What we need today is not what we needed a year ago. We are always evolving and our needs change over time especially as we grow. I would also suggest to measure on a daily basis your blood glucose, blood pressure, heart rate and sleep. These four metrices will give you a lot of information and can be sufficient for most.
- Remove processed and refined food : That will take you from a nutrition perspective 80% of the way.
- Daily intermittent fasting : There is no better strategy to balance your hormones. Ease into a 16/8 protocol which should be a great lifestyle change for most.
- Move : Movement is life. Walk instead of take the car. As simple as that.
- Strength training : Strength training is superior to cardio. You want to include some cardio on a weekly basis but too much cardio can put a lot of stress on your heart. Additionally strength training helps build our muscles which we desperately need. Doing push-up and pull-ups, and squats cover most muscles. Give your body enough time to rest, so aim to train for 4-5 times a week for a maximum of 1 hour per session.
We all know that what proper lifestyle choices look like. Eat better, sleep better, exercise right? But that is all it takes! It is a simple model with great benefits as long as you prioritise yourself, your health and longevity.
We really don’t need to put a limit to our quality of life of our lifespan. This is our key driver in ketOntrack.
Finally, I think we need to complement and support the health care system to also include lifestyle choices as critical part of health. And wellness coaching can play a key role into supporting a person overall health.