With the new year comes the inevitable overload of friends, advertisers, and acquaintances sharing new goals and “new yous,” and yet for many, those goals will never be accomplished. So many times we make resolutions to get healthy and trim only to find ourselves losing motivation weeks or days into a new health and fitness routine.
One way to prevent a lack of motivation and the desire to give up on our goals and resolutions is to understand why health and wellness is so vital to our ability to thrive. For example, if you tell yourself you want to lose 30 pounds in order to fit into those old jeans but don’t create an active plan to do so, you’ll likely lose focus and switch back to your old habits rather quickly. On the other hand, if you learn how healthy foods can nourish your body and how processed foods can harm it, it’s much easier to say no to unhealthy habits negatively affecting your health and to create a healthy meal plan that nourishes the body and mind.
Here are ten suggestions to help jump start your desire to get healthy with more information on why each is essential to overall health and wellness to keep you informed and motivated to stay on track in order to accomplish your goals.
Want to feel better, think better, focus better, and have more energy? Cut out inflammatory foods - the biggest causes of stomach discomfort and gastrointestinal problems.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to an injury or an illness. In an optimally functioning human body, inflammation would speed up the recovery process by signaling the need for the regrowth of cells, identifying pathogens, and triggering antibodies. During the recovery process, inflammation helps to prevent further damage and infection to the body while it heals. Inflammation in and of itself is not dangerous, but when unhealthy eating habits lead to prolonged inflammation, this can prevent the body from being able to heal and protect itself from infection and illness.
Some foods are known to cause inflammation if eaten in large quantities over a period of time. Those with food allergies and sensitivities are even more at risk for developing prolonged inflammation. Inflammation can also be caused by environmental factors such as an allergy or sensitivity to dust mites, pollen, pet dander, and other organisms.
It’s easy to understand how inflammation can occur following a physical injury, but the causes of internal inflammation may not be as clear. For those with food sensitivities and allergies, inflammation is the result of damage to the lining of the digestive tract, which is caused by an attempt to absorb nutrients from foods the body cannot easily digest. Even without a food allergy or sensitivity, prolonged exposure to inflammatory foods can create inflammation throughout the body which can lead to fatigue, joint and muscle pain, and more. Some of the most common foods known to cause inflammation include:
You can’t fight inflammation in the body without addressing gut health. Cutting out inflammatory foods and adding more anti-inflammatory foods to your diet can speed up the healing process. Adding more physical activity and eliminating as much stress as possible can also help prevent and reduce inflammation.
In the same way that there are foods that cause inflammation, there are foods that fight inflammation. Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods, along with healthy eating and a fitness routine, can help your body heal from the effects of stress, illness, and internal and external injury. Some of the foods that are known to have anti-inflammatory properties include:
Reducing inflammation in the body as well as inflammatory markers in your bloodstream allows your body to rest and relax rather than attempting to heal from a barrage of ailments and damage caused by an unhealthy diet and lifestyle. This in turns provides more energy and stamina while also significantly lowering your risk of diseases and health conditions like arthritis, lupus, irritable bowel syndrome, cardiovascular disease, type 1 and 2 diabetes, Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and more. Research has also shown those who have fewer inflammatory markers are much less likely to be obese and have depression, anxiety, high cholesterol, and other concerning health conditions.
As with inflammation, hormone levels can indicate a serious problem in the body. Our bodies produce dozens of natural hormones which regulate bodily processes and functions. Hormones play an active role in helping our bodies function. Thyroid hormones regulate hair growth, energy levels, weight, and other factors while brain-regulating hormones like serotonin affect focus, memory, and mental health and anxiety, depression, restlessness, and more. When hormone levels are too low or too high due to lack of exercise, unhealthy lifestyle habits, and chronic disease or ailments, our minds and bodies will not function optimally.
READ MORE: What Do Hormone Levels Indicate?
Working with a health professional to determine where your hormone levels are currently and where they should be in order for your body to function optimally is the first step. At Riverside Village Clinic in Nashville, we work with you to assess your current health and create a plan to promote healing and wellness through vitamin and hormone therapy, gut health healing, wellness programs, and more.
HORMONE THERAPY WELLNESS PROGRAM
This by far the most obvious piece of advice we could impart if your goal is to become healthier, and yet for many of us, work, family, and other factors prevent us from having the time to devote to a regular fitness routine. If the idea of going to the gym doesn’t sound appealing, consider taking more nature walks at local parks with friends or family. If you don’t enjoy lifting weights or running on a treadmill, consider joining a pilates or kickboxing studio, many of which offer free classes and trials to allow you the opportunity to learn what works for you and what doesn’t. If you live in an apartment or condominium, take advantage of community gyms and walking trails to get your daily workout in. If you’re a busy mom or professional unable to schedule visits to the gym into your daily routine, consider using workout apps or membership programs which offer fitness routines you can complete from the comfort of your living room.
We’ve already discussed the effects of reducing stress and inflammation on the body and the mind, but in today’s world where it seems our to-do list will never end and our busy lives will not come to a halt, how can we incorporate more peace and calm into our days? Meditation is one of the easiest ways to promote positive wellbeing and peace of mind. In addition to helping you remain grounded, focused, and positive, meditation has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression. A few ways to include meditation in your daily routine include:
One of the main causes of inflammation and gastrointestinal disorders are food allergies and food sensitivities. Each individual is different, and the way in which our bodies process various foods, herbs, and spices can vary greatly. For those with Crohn's or Celiac disease, a food allergy may be much more obvious, but for others, the signs can be more subtle, yet just as harmful to the lining of our digestive tissues.
When the body is unable to digest foods properly, the lining of the digestive tract can become irritated and inflamed. Avoiding these inflammatory foods can help reduce stress and gastrointestinal problems. The signs and symptoms of food allergies and sensitivities can include:
In order to understand which foods to avoid, an allergy test can determine which foods affect you adversely. A health professional can provide you with a detailed explanation of which foods and organisms cause a reaction in your body. At Riverside Village Clinic, our gut wellness program helps identify food allergies and sensitivities in order to create a wellness plan that allows you to feel better, look better, and thrive. Some common food sensitivities and allergies we can identify are caused by the following foods:
Energy levels and lifestyle go hand in hand, and if you’re eating processed, inflammatory foods, chances are you’re having trouble focusing, sleeping well, and finding the energy to complete your daily to-do list. Regular fitness and a healthy diet can certainly help, but vitamin levels are also important. Like hormones, vitamins are essential for helping our bodies function properly. If your vitamin levels are off, your body will respond with less energy and less focus.
A wellness clinic that offers comprehensive vitamin panel testing such as that offered at Riverside Village Clinic will provide you with an overview of which vitamin deficiencies you have and which supplements you would benefit from adding to your wellness plan. Riverside also offers monthly vitamin injections as part of the wellness club which allows individuals to pay a flat monthly rate which includes membership into the wellness club and the following perks:
JOIN THE WELLNESS CLUB
Just as your body needs care and attention, so does your mind. Practicing meditation and relaxation as well as eliminating stress and inflammation as much as possible can promote positive mental health. In addition, seek professional help if you are experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety. If you are experiencing mental health problems, a healthcare professional can determine whether or not a vitamin deficiency is the cause of your anxiety or depression. Research indicates individuals with low vitamin D levels are at a much higher risk for developing mental health disorders, so working with a health professional to create a wellness plan is essential for working to prevent mental health complications. In order to help prevent low vitamin D levels, take the following steps:
Sun exposure provides a natural source of vitamin D. Aim for at least 20 minutes of sun exposure per day, but don’t neglect sunscreen to prevent sunburns and skin damage if you plan on being in the sun for extended periods of time.
Your diet can also be a primary source of vitamin D. There are a variety of foods that are rich in vitamin D and other nutrients, including:
Exercise has been shown to help combat depression and anxiety through the production of endorphins in the brain. Exercise also helps the body process vitamin D.
Need a push to get rid of all the excess clutter and items around your home taking up space? Research has shown clutter can create chaos while clean spaces promote calmness. Clear out the extra stuff, clear out your mind. The following books on decluttering, organizing, and simplifying provide more information on the mental and physical benefits of clearing out your spaces.
This one should be a given, but cutting out processed foods can significantly impact your health for the better. Food is fuel for the body, but fake food is fake fuel. Think of this way. Food is medicine. Every time you eat you are either hurting or healing your body. Eating processed foods will provide absolutely no nutritional value and only damages your internal organs and tissues, which prevents you from living the life you want to live and being who you want to be. The next time you make a trip to the grocery store, consider the health benefits of choosing non-processed, whole ingredients - medicine with no prescription needed.
Understanding how our bodies work is important in order to understand how we can fix what’s not working.
Holistic wellness is the practice of viewing the body and mind as one unit in which food, fitness, stress, and other factors can affect any and all parts of the whole. While traditional medicine segments these and supplements any problems with pharmaceutical fixes. There’s a wealth of information available regarding holistic wellness. Here are a few resources to get you started.
Riverside Village Clinic in Nashville offers a holistic approach to health and wellness by combining traditional medicine with the belief that the health of the mind, body, and spirit work hand in hand. From hormone and vitamin therapy to natural supplements, Riverside Village Clinic works to provide a complete understanding of what the body needs in order to create a personalized treatment plan that works for each individual. Schedule an appointment with our providers today in order to start your journey to a healthier, happier you.