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The 10 Most Important Actions to Insure Optimum Health
Optimum health cannot be bought, it must be earned and it comes with a price. The price of health is healthful living. There are many actions that one can choose to take in an attempt to achieve optimum health. This is a brief summary of the actions, that in my experience, really matter.
The 10 most important actions to insure optimum health are:
1. The use and abuse of “recreational” drugs, including nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, cocaine, methamphetamines, etc. results in the artificial release of the pleasure chemicals in the brain, including dopamine. This results in a “pleasure trap” that can lead to abuse and addiction that can result in the deceptive destruction of the user. In addition, the use and abuse of over-the-counter and prescription medications and environmental toxins and radiation all contribute to a state of toxicity that must be minimized if optimum health is to be achieved.1,22
2. Adopting a health promoting Vegan diet (free of all animal foods including meat, fish, fowl, eggs and dairy products) is amongst the most important actions someone can take to promote optimum health and avoid the “diseases of kings” . These diseases include cancer (including breast, colon, prostate and lung), heart disease (including heart attack and stroke), diabetes and autoimmune disorders. 1,2,3,5-8,16-22
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3. Highly processed foods, including oil, flour, sugar and added salt artificially stimulate the pleasure chemicals of the brain, including dopamine, resulting in a dietary pleasure trap and consequent over-consumption that is a major contributing cause of the epidemic of obesity in industrialized countries. 1,2,3,5-8,16-22
4. In the world of scarcity in which our ancient ancestors survived, vigorous activity was a requirement for survival. In order to get enough to eat, and avoid being eaten, regular “exercise” was unavoidable. In our modern, industrialized world of abundance, the need for vigorous activity has been consciously minimized. We must overcome our innate energy conserving mechanisms and obtain 30-60 minutes, most every day, of aerobic activity, including, walking, hiking, biking, dancing, swimming or similar activity. We must combine this aerobic activity with stretching and strengthening and the use of sound ergonomics in order to maximize fitness and functional capacities so critical to optimum health. 1,22,10,11
5. One of our frequently overlooked health promoting actions is to secure good quantity and quality of sleep. The anabolic (body building and repairing) cascade of hormones associated with healing are powerfully stimulated during the deepest phases of sleep. Most people sleep best in a cool, dark, and quiet place. It is desirable to get enough sleep (7-9 hours for most) such that you wake spontaneously, feeling refreshed. 1,22,21
6. Essential nutrients, including vitamin D are formed when the skin is exposed to sunlight. This is necessary to insure optimum calcium absorption and bone health as well as optimum immune function. By avoiding excess exposure to the sun, particularly at mid-day, we can avoid the damaging effects of sunburn. If adequate sun exposure is not possible, vitamin D supplementation may need to be considered. 1,22,21,13,20
7. Human beings are social creatures who need to effectively deal with 3 kinds of relationships; with the people we meet, the people we like and the people we love. Cultivating emotionally supportive interpersonal relationships can minimize the consequences of social isolation that is common when people step outside the social norms, especially as they relate to dietary and lifestyle issues. 1,22,15
8. Our modern day hygienic practices help to protect us from parasites, toxins and consequent disease. These hygienic practices also minimize our exposure to bacteria, which are the sole source of vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin). Although our need for this essential nutrient is small and it stores well in the human body, whole body depletion can occur in long-term vegetarians, leading to elevations in homocysteine and increased risk of heart disease. B12 deficiency can also be associated with neurological disorders (neuropathy) and megablastic anemia (pernicious). Periodic testing for methymalonic acid (MMA) and supplementation if indicated will prevent one’s health from being compromised by vitamin B12 deficiency. 1,22,20
9. Fasting involves the complete abstinence of all substances except pure water in an environment of complete rest. Fasting gives the body an opportunity to rapidly do what it does best, cleanse and heal itself. Fasting should be undertaken with the guidance of a doctor trained and experienced in fasting supervision. (certified members of the International Association of Hygienic Physicians should be your first choice) 1,22,20,4,14
10. Most of the resources listed below are available from the National Health Association at anhs.org or from TrueNorth Health at truenorthhealth.com
Alan Goldhamer, D.C., is the founder of TrueNorth Health Center in California. He is a member of the Board of Directors and a Life Member of the National Health Association. Dr. Goldhamer is the author of the Health Promoting Cookbook and co-author of The Pleasure Trap.
Douglas J. Lisle, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist. He is the Director of Research at TrueNorth Health Center and is in private practice in Rohnert Park, California. Dr. Lisle is the co-author of The Pleasure Trap.
Please visit www.healthpromoting.com for more information or contact Drs. Goldhamer and Lisle at (707) 586-5555.