Why You Need These Health Benefits To Constantly Feel Great!

You want to feel well. We don’t blame you. But, by looking at how many people are taking prescription drugs, it’s clear that many of us don’t feel that great.

According to nutrition expert Dr. Lauryn Lax, nearly three in every five American adults are taking prescription medicines. And, from that statistic, it’s safe to conclude that millions upon millions of Americans don’t feel well at all.Otherwise, they’d just ditch the drugs. Here’s another startling statistic: the number of American adults taking a prescription drug is up by more than 50 percent since 2012.

Here’s even more. One in every four women, and one in every six men, have been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition, a figure that has increased by 100 percent since 1997. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had been blaming autoimmune diseases on genetics, but this significant increase has caused the CDC to concede that environmental factors must be involved. Treatment has often consisted of immunosuppressive or corticosteroids, but both types of medications suppress the immune system even further.

Rates of autism are skyrocketing in children, while increasing numbers of American adults are taking drugs for heart-related conditions – and then there is anxiety, a mental health issue affecting approximately 40 million Americans.

To quote Dr. Lauryn Lax, “Something’s NOT working.”

She goes on to ask these questions: “When was the last time you went to the doctor with a symptom or illness, and sat down with him or her, to take a deep look at your current lifestyle factors that impact your health? Your nutrition? Your sleep? Your stress management? Your exercise and movement? How about a look at potential stressors or triggers in your life that are linked to chronic disease—such as antibiotics, travel abroad, low stomach acid, surgeries, long-term medication or NSAID use, being a C-section or formula-fed baby?”

If you’re like a typical American, we can guess the answers. So, what do we do? We’d like to invite you to first consider the differences between conventional medicine vs. functional medicine. When you’re done reading about the differences, which one sounds more life-affirming to you?

Conventional Medicine Vs. Functional Medicine

Let’s say that you go in for a medical appointment. Your stomach hurts, say, or your throat does. In conventional medicine – the type typically practiced in the United States – the doctor will get a list of the symptoms you’re experiencing and then come up with a treatment plan. This treatment plan often includes prescription drugs and, in some cases, that’s exactly what was needed. If, for example, your sore throat is because of strep throat, antibiotics are typically prescribed, and the symptoms go away.

Other times, though, the path taken by practitioners who follow the conventional form of medicine may not be ideal. Let’s taken another example. Your back hurts. It’s been hurting for a while, and over-the-counter medications just don’t seem to help. So, the doctor prescribes muscle relaxants and prescription strength painkillers. It gets better. Kind of, sort of. For a while, anyhow, until it comes back – and then the whole process is repeated.

How differently might a functional medicine professional handle the situation with your back? Well, for one thing, he or she would focus on finding the root cause of your pain. Instead of simply treating the symptoms – and then treating them again when they return – this professional sees your symptoms as clues to the core problem(s). He or she might, as just one example, talk to you and discover that you’re a caregiver who is overwhelmed by responsibilities. That puts an entirely different slant on the situation, one that would suggest to your health care professional that stress is playing a crucial role in the pain. Although you might still be prescribed medication, that wouldn’t be considered the solution. Instead, the solution would be to work on alleviating the situation – the root cause – that is the impetus behind your chronic back pain.

With an autoimmune disease, as just another example, a conventional doctor might prescribe medications to reduce symptoms being experienced. A functional doctor, though, would likely delve in more deeply to look at allergens and/or toxins that could be contributing to or even causing the symptoms. Again, he or she might prescribe medications, but that would be as a temporary solution as the search for the root cause is in progress.

In functional medicine, the professional takes a holistic approach, examining your lifestyle, the environment in which you live and work, the ways in which symptoms seem to exacerbate one another, and much more. Functional medicine focuses on the patient, not simply on his or her symptoms.  

Here’s one way to look at the differences between conventional medicine vs. functional medicine. When you have an acute problem, ranging from a sprained ankle to a stroke, conventional medicine can provide treatments that can diagnose, treat and alleviate distress as your body heals. But, although conventional medicine can be a lifesaver, sometimes literally, when a situation is acute, this type of medicine doesn’t necessarily treat chronic illnesses or pain effectively enough. For that, it’s typically necessary to take a deep dive and then create a systems-wide healing approach, which is the essence of functional medicine.

So, what’s next? Although we can’t possibly cover all the sub-topics we’d like to in this post, we do want to explore the differences between whole foods and processed foods – and why the first is so much better for your health than the second.

Whole Foods Vs. Processed Foods

An article found in FoodAndNutrition.org shares these important differences:

  • Whole foods:
    • Ideally are one-ingredient foods, such as a tomato or a piece of chicken
    • Are nutrient-dense foods that provide you with:
      • Fiber
      • Vitamins
      • Minerals
    • Have little if any added sugar
    • Have relatively little fat
    • Assist you in:
      • Reducing cholesterol
      • Regulating blood sugar
      • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Processed foods:
    • Have multiple ingredients
    • Typically have plenty of calories
    • Provide little value to your body
    • Add unwanted stuff to your body, including:
      • Added sugars
      • Dyes
      • Preservatives
      • Saturated and trans-fats, the “bad” fats

For comparison purposes, you could eat a healthy baked potato. Or you could have some instant mashed potatoes that contain, according to the article, the following ingredients: “POTATO FLAKES (SODIUM BISULFITE, BHA AND CITRIC ACID ADDED TO PROTECT COLOR AND FLAVOR), CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: MONOGLYCERIDES, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED COTTONSEED OIL, NATURAL FLAVOR, SODIUM ACID PYROPHOSPHATE, BUTTEROIL.”

The better choice is pretty clear.

Whole foods are found in your own garden, at farmer’s markets and around the perimeter aisles of grocery stores. That’s where you find fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh lean meats, eggs and fish, plus dairy products such as low-fat milk and cheeses and plain yogurts.

You can find plenty of healthy eating tips at ChooseMyPlate.gov, including an article that acknowledges how making healthy changes can be challenging – and then offers ways to incrementally make the changes that can boost your health.

The first tip is to make half of your plate fresh fruits and vegetables, varying them to keep your meals interesting and delicious. Choose whole fruits (they make a great dessert!) and veggies in a rainbow of colors, including green, red and orange. Choose whole grains, including oatmeal and whole wheat flour, along with low-fat or fat-free cheese. “Mix up your proteins,” the site advises, “to include seafood, beans, nuts, seeds, soy, eggs, lean meats, and poultry.” Manage the amounts of sodium, added sugars and saturated fats in your foods and drinks, as well. Fortunately, this summary is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the practical advice available at this site, so we encourage you to explore and enjoy.

Eating this way will help you to effectively manage your weight – crucial for so many Americans. A “troubling new report” discussed at NBCNews.com in October 2017 calls the “obesity crisis” in the United States “more unstoppable than ever.” Nearly 40 percent of American adults, the news organization shares, and 20 percent of adolescents are obese, the highest numbers reported to date in our country.

The chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health admits that it’s “difficult to be optimistic at this point,” with obesity rates rising in spite of attempts of public health officials to “improve nutrition and physical activity.”

The article also shares this dire-sounding news: “The consequences of the obesity epidemic are devastating: High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and stroke are not only killing millions of Americans annually — the obesity epidemic is also a humongous burden on the American health care system, making up $190 billion a year in weight-related medical bills.”

Enough of the Negativity! What Should You Do?!?

Fortunately, there is plenty you can do to focus upon developing and/or improving upon good health habits. These include eating healthy whole foods as described above. And, we’ll bet you’re expecting us to mention a regular exercise routine next. And, you’re right – but only sort of. It is believed that 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from sleep deprivation or disorders. And, sleep-deprived people are often too tired to exercise. Plus, they tend to take in more calories and can experience changes in hormones – those useful hormones that regulate appetite.

So, if you’re among the sleep deprived, that situation is crucial to address. How? A Harvard publication shares 12 healthy sleep habits to incorporate. These include (but are not limited to):

  • Avoiding alcohol, caffeine and nicotine four to six hours before bedtime
  • Creating a room that’s conducive to sleep, which can include heavy curtains or an eye mask, white noise appliances and more
  • Establishing a soothing routine before bedtime
  • Avoiding staring at the clock when you can’t fall asleep; that doesn’t help and can hurt
  • Keeping a consistent sleep schedule

You can find significantly more tips in the article. If, after incorporating them, you still can’t sleep well, seek help (remembering the advantages of functional medicine!).  When well rested, you’ll have more energy to prepare healthy meals – and to exercise.

Importance of Exercise

The Mayo Clinic is one of numerous resources online that provides helpful information about exercise. They share recommendations from the Department of Health and Human Services that suggests that healthy adults:

  • Get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic exercise – or, if you prefer, 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise. Spread this out over the week.
  • Participate in strength training exercises at least twice a week, covering all major muscle groups.
  • Reduce time spent sitting. The more you sit, the more your chances of developing metabolic problems increases.

And, if your schedule is packed, here is encouraging news: “Short on long chunks of time? Even brief bouts of activity offer benefits. For instance, if you can’t fit in one 30-minute walk, try three 10-minute walks instead. What’s most important is making regular physical activity part of your lifestyle.”

Improve Gut Health

The health of your gut, according to the National Institutes of Health, “plays a key role in your overall health and well-being.” Ways to improve gut health, according to the article, include eating a healthy diet, one that includes smaller, more frequent meals; exercising; getting a good amount of sleep; and establishing a quality routine.

The article also notes how “friendly” or “good” bacteria is important to have in your gut, noting that probiotics can improve gut health.

publication associated with Harvard University shares how probiotic supplements can help, nothing how a “growing body of scientific evidence suggests that you can treat and even prevent some illnesses with foods and supplements containing certain kinds of live bacteria . . . Gut-dwelling bacteria keep pathogens (harmful microorganisms) in check, aid digestion and nutrient absorption, and contribute to immune function.”

About Roger & Jane Hardy

Roger and Jane created Hardy Healthy Gut to show you that every problem in life is easier to solve when your mind and body are working properly.
And you don't have to be a health nut or fitness enthusiast to enjoy a mind & body that's firing on all cylinders.

All it takes are simple, daily habits that get easier and easier with practice.

The tips we teach are the same simple daily habits that helped us feel better in our 40's than we did in our 20's.
And these same daily habits have made our 50's and 60's a successful adventure!

Now we look forward to the future and we're enjoying getting older!

Which proves that age is just a number and that number isn't what's slowing you down.
Your age isn't the real cause of those aches, pains, and brain fog.

All of this is possible for you too, my friend!

So thank you for being here. I hope you use these tips to transform your life and enjoy retirement as much as we have!

Click here to learn more about how Roger can help you boost your success

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