There is a lot of talk about lifestyle medicine these days and people often ask me what this really means and why it is important. I thought I would take a few minutes to address this.
Lifestyle medicine simply means that you are living your life in a way to optimize overall whole health. It’s not so much a “medicine” as it is a way of treating yourself to reduce inflammation and prevent chronic disease. Here are some of the main principles of lifestyle medicine:
1) Avoiding toxins (environmental toxins, excess alcohol, excess tobacco, plastics, pesticides, flame retardants, etc)
2) Eating healthy: avoiding processed foods, trans fats, fast foods, sugary beverages, artificial sweeteners and focusing on whole foods that are organic and non-GMO and include plenty of colorful vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats (aka the anti-inflammatory diet or Mediterranean style diet)
3) Movement: exercise, be active (especially out in nature), shooting for at least 150 minutes per week
4) Sleep: often neglected but paramount to maintaining a healthy lifestyle; shoot for 7-9 hours of sleep per night
5) Stress reduction: including a meditative practice in your daily routine, deep breathing, yoga, tai chi, among others is extremely important so that we can soothe the gut-brain pathways and cultivate a healthy mind-body relationship
6) Love: Cultivating meaningful relationships, enjoying life, laughing, singing, dancing!
These are all components of a healthy lifestyle. There is a growing body of scientific evidence that is continuously being added to that demonstrates the importance of these elements in order to obtain whole health and longevity. The best part is that these are things that you don’t need a prescription card or a doctor’s appointment to do!
Cheers to your health!