Health and Medical Science has come far in the last several decades, yet medical curriculum is lagging behind much of the now accepted and documented methods for promoting health. Diet is an excellent example. Although diet can affect everything from blood thickness to heart disease, headaches and diabetes, medication rather than diet is often the medical go-to to treat these symptoms and illnesses.
What You Need to Know
So that you are informed while medical institutions are informing and reconsidering their curricula, here is a list of seven concepts that are well understood enough in science and medicine to be included in medical training, but sadly rarely are:
1. Health is all about prevention. If we can prevent disease from occurring in the first place, we can maintain our inborn health. Treating illness is an important focus given the current state of health and disease in society; however, the sooner we make prevention a priority, the sooner we will be able to assuage the current epidemic of illness and create widespread health.
2. The way we maintain our inborn health is through lifestyle. Whether our genes for health or disease are active or inactive is influenced directly by our lifestyle choices. As confirmed by the modern science of epigenetics, we can influence which of our genes are expressed through food, environment, toxins, thoughts, mood, and exercise, among many other factors.
3. One size doesn’t fit all. We all have different body styles, whether mesomorph, endomorph, ectomorph, or some blend of the types. Each type has different biological needs and therefore benefits from different dietary, exercise, social and other lifestyle habits. For example, mesomorphs benefit more from doing short bursts of intense exercise with periods of rest. People who have combination ectomorph/mesomorph bodies are well-suited for long distance running and tour de France competitions, while endomorphs fair best from slow and steady rhythmic activity.
4. Balance is achieved differently for every body. Using body type as an example, we know that mesomorphs have higher levels of testosterone, endomorphs have higher levels of oxytocin, and ectomorphs have higher amounts of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Lifestyle habits that create hormonal balance for one person may create imbalance for another.
5. The amount of food we eat isn’t the end-all-be-all when it comes to health. Food quality and nutritional value are more important than quantity for creating health and it is no longer believed that all calories, just like all bodies, are created equal.
6. The mind is vital to health and well-being. Thoughts, emotions, and physical health operate symbiotically and a person’s mental and social diet is a critical component of their overall health and well-being, right on par with their nutritional diet.
7. Our lifestyle must constantly evolve if we are to be healthy. This is because our epigenetics is ever-evolving and we as human beings are also ever-evolving. Take the seasons for instance. According to traditional Chinese medicine, when it is warm outside, we need to eat foods that cool down the body (eg watermelon) and ease up on foods that are likely to warm up the body (eg hot spices, onions, garlic). When it is cool outside, foods that warm up the body (eg cinnamon, cayenne pepper) and that have the nutrients our specific body needs are great.
Now That You Know…
We know that we can change the expression of our genes and create health through our lifestyle, so there is a lot we can do as we wait patiently for Western medicine to catch up with modern science. Progressive health professionals and enthusiasts, for one, are making it a priority to prevent disease by giving people the personalized health information they need to attain and maintain health. Online health program ph360 is an example of a tool that incorporates all of the seven basic and vital understandings of health to help each person prevent disease through daily lifestyle habits including making good food choices, getting the right kind of movement, creating a good social and mental diet, setting up a good home and work environment, and making use of their natural talents to improve mood, motivation and energy. Most importantly, it acknowledges that everyone is different and that we all change over time and delivers periodic tailored insights that evolve along with you.
Why should you care? Why should doctors care?… Because being healthy means far more than just not being ill. Being healthy means feeling happy, alive and full of energy. It means thriving with vitality physically, mentally and spiritually. It means taking this joy and energy and sharing it with others so they, and the whole world, can be healthy and happy too.