Your body is the one resource you always have with you. Whether you’re referring to the mind or the body itself, health is an investment that can’t be taken away easily. It’s the underpinning of everything we do, because everything we do involves our body and mind.
Whole body health governs our lives in a way almost nothing else does. And getting it right is one of the most important factors in living a happy, fulfilled life. Alexy Goldstein is the founder and CEO of New U Life Corporation and a certified homeopath. He believes that whole body health is within reach of everyone. I recently had the chance to interview him to find out more about whole body health.
“People often treat vitamins like antibiotics,” says Goldstein. “Proper nutrition isn’t some silver bullet you take when you’re already sick. It’s a fortress you build before the attacker gets there. You can’t build a wall after infectious agents are already in there.”
Nutrition takes many forms, but most people know the gist of it in Michael Pollan’s famous formula: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” By “food,” Pollan explains he leaves out anything that is already processed, as it isn’t strictly food anymore.
People spend a lot of time on fad diets and chasing the latest “superfood” trend, but remembering the basics and making sure you have key nutritional elements in a balanced diet will get you far. Supplements may also help shore up elements that are hard to get in a regular diet. Some elements also work together synergistically, so a supplement that has multiple ingredients that work together can be of benefit.
“This isn’t rocket science,” Goldstein says. “Exercise will help you lose weight, though diet is a much more important part. But exercise has a host of benefits for blood flow and cardiopulmonary health, regardless of weight. And it doesn’t have to be high impact.”
Exercise can become more challenging as you age and the body rebels against tasks that used to be much easier. But at any age, exercise can help tremendously with overall health.
Hormones will change as we age, and some hormone therapies or natural methods that stimulate hormone production can help. Growth hormone production slows down as we age naturally, and in some individuals that can be lower than the expected baseline. Natural methods can help slow that decline.
3. Mental (and Brain) Health
Many of us work with our brains more than our bodies, and sometimes we neglect to take care of them the way we should. Mental health and brain health have a surprising effect on the rest of the body.
“A positive mental attitude helps with our overall bodily health, as does an active, high-functioning mind,” says Goldstein. “There are nutritional supplements and foods that can help increase proper brain function and some that can inhibit, just as there are with the body. And getting proper sleep is essential as well.”
The mind can have a pronounced effect on health, both directly and indirectly. Take depression, for example — some of the coping mechanisms for depression like overeating, binging, or substance abuse can have effects on the body that are not directly related to depression, but this mental health issue also causes dramatically increased levels of stress hormones which directly affect the whole body.
A healthy brain will deal with stress better, help us think quicker, and increase our alertness. These things can, in turn, affect fatigue for the rest of the body as well, and the knock-on effects (good and bad) can be dramatic.
4. Sleep — and Plenty of It
“Our society ignores this pillar of whole body health more than just about anything else,” Goldstein notes. “Sleep is one of the first things to go by the wayside in our always-on lives, and it has clear effects on our health. A proper night’s sleep will make your brain run faster, your body recover better, and your overall health improve. It even has effects on your production of human growth hormone.”
Sleep is the body’s rest and recovery process, something like an oil change. Your car might run for a while on the same old oil, but sooner or later things start to seize up, and it won’t run as well on a daily basis. Insufficient sleep can even affect life expectancy.
These four things are bedrock parts of whole body health, but they can’t be understood individually. “Whole body health by definition is about more than just being strong or eating healthy or getting an extra hour of sleep a night,” Goldstein explains.
“Whole body health is a lifestyle, and though you can help your health with supplements and medicine, you can’t cover up damage you’re doing elsewhere. It’s synergy, and the parts come together to make something greater than the whole.”
The body is made up of systems that work together. Though we might think of mental health, sleep, brain health, exercise, nutrition, supplements and all the other things we do for our bodies separately, they form a united whole.
That’s the basis of whole body health: healthy living is greater than the sum of its parts.