Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Wellness and Health

Have you noticed the trend to perceive type 2 diabetes as a “normal” condition after age 50? Have you noticed the trend to perceive a little arthritis pain in the joints as a “normal” condition after age 40? These conditions have become so prevalent that adults are trending to consider these conditions as the “normal” for states of health. The “normal” today in this time of epidemic chronic disease is promoting amnesia of true wellness. Wellness certainly means freedom from the debilitating, weakening effects of chronic disease. As a side product of this level of wellness, one feels dynamic, energetic, alive, vital, and vibrant. From this healthy state, we can respond effectively to environmental stress, toxins, or infections, quickly returning to our previous state of health and wellness. The most recent study is that of Dan Buettner named The Blue Zones – those pockets of societies with the most healthy centenarians and generally healthy populations. Common factors that have measurable biomarkers among the healthiest societies are repeatedly found to be: 

1. Unprocessed, whole foods, plant-rich diet (diet history; nutrient status)   

2. Caloric and nutrient intake so as to maintain a healthy Weight (anthropometrics)   

3. Regulating insulin production (blood glucose/insulin fasting; HgbA1C)   

4. Moderate daily physical activity (minutes per day or week; handgrip strength)   

5. Small amount of alcohol frequently 

6. Strong community and social connectivity

7. Meditation and spiritual beliefs (time per week) 

8. Feeling of purpose in life (1–10; 10 highest)

Throughout the community of integrative and functional medicine practitioners’ concepts like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs have developed an agreement that the following factors are key influencers that summarize the findings of many studies on longevity and wellness: “Basic needs”: Biological, physiological, safety needs 

1. Foods (protein, fats, carbohydrates, fiber) 

2. Vitamins, minerals, accessory, or conditionally essential nutrients 

3. Light, water, and air 

4. Movement rhythm 

5. Circadian rhythm balance 

6. “Mind-body needs”: Love, belongingness, self-esteem, cognitive, aesthetic, and self-actualization needs 

7. Meaning and purpose 

8. Love, community, connection 

All seven are inherently interrelated in the context of the human experience that affects wellness.

Integrative and Functional Medical Nutrition Therapy by: Diane Noland, Jeanne A. Drisko, Leigh Wagner