are you healthy

A question to ask yourself, am I healthy? There are five determinants of health that can make or break your holistic wellness journey. Today I will tell you what they are, and help you to understand how they affect your health.

Choosing health is a daily pursuit followed by suitable action steps.

Choosing health over pleasure can be difficult, but with more knowledge, you will be able to make better-informed choices.

1. Food/Other Consumed Items

With that said, the first determinant of health is what you consume. This includes what you eat, drink, smoke, and anything else in between. Anything that you put inside your body will either help or harm it. The choice is completely up to you.

Each time you eat anything, your insulin will either spike or level out. Insulin is a hormone that is made in the pancreas and regulates the amount of glucose in the blood. 

Due to the typical American diet, most people lack insulin which causes Pre-Diabetes and Type II Diabetes to develop. This is a disease that most people, knowingly and unknowingly, face today. Thus, when you form healthy eating habits and a plant-based lifestyle, your health outcomes will be greater.

In addition, you must decrease and/or halt the amount of drinking and smoking you take part in. This will aid in better health outcomes coupled with a change in eating patterns.

2. Healthy & Unhealthy Environmental Factors

Moreover, health is affected greatly by the environment in which you live. Research shows that those who live in a polluted area with surrounding factories are more likely to have negative health outcomes. Between inhaling the chemicals that roam the air and lacking healthy grocery options, they are more likely to develop diseases. As a result, the environment has an effect on the health of these individuals.

Many people do not realize how important it is to breathe uncontaminated air as often as possible. This is why it is recommended to get at least 2 hours of fresh air daily. When meeting this minimum suggestion, you are able to improve digestion, lower blood pressure, and strengthen the immune system to name a few. 

There are plenty of reasons to spend more time outdoors than inside. You will not only feel better physically but mentally as well. The sunlight you receive will aid in the absorption of vitamin D in the body. This in turn will help enlighten your mood, increase productivity, and aid in mental clarity. All of these health outcomes will lead to a more well-rounded, healthier life.

3. Stress Levels

In addition, stress has a major effect on the state of one’s health. Stress is your body’s response to a change in the internal or external environment. When stress occurs, the hormone cortisol is also released into the bloodstream. There are two kinds of stress, eustress, and distress. 

Eustress is the good stress you get when you have a big project coming up at work, or you are about to give birth to a baby. Distress is the bad stress that occurs with repeated challenges such as financial strain or dealing with a chronic illness.

Distress can lead to health effects like:

These are all a result of the body trying to return to its normal non-stressed state of being.

So, if you find yourself feeling these symptoms, take a second and evaluate what could be causing your stress and why. This can very well be the answer to your health concerns. In a previous blog, I offer some ways to cope with stress and attain better health outcomes.

4. Sleep

Furthermore, another determinant of health is the amount of sleep you attain or lack thereof. When asking yourself if you are healthy, sleep must be considered in that answer. The number of hours you sleep can have a detrimental or beneficial effect on your health. The recommended amount of sleep for optimal health is between 7-9 hours daily.

The benefits of getting adequate rest include a:

All of these are reasons you should aim to get appropriate sleep each and every day. On my own wellness journey, I noticed that when I started sleeping 8 hours per night everything changed. My mood was better, I felt more rejuvenated the next day, I wasn’t getting sick as often, and my mental focus was 10x better.

I would definitely say that making sure you have a schedule that works for you is very helpful. When you create a schedule for the day, be sure to end at a certain time in order to prioritize rest.

5. Movement

Lastly, the determinants of health also include the amount of exercise or lack of that you get throughout the week. It is so important to keep your joints moving, and the muscles working. This will ensure that you are able to walk without pain, hike, or bike even in your 80s. This is a way to ensure that you are healthy from your youth through your elder years.

Exercise can lead to:

All of which are likely with an active lifestyle, however, the contrary can happen if someone is not active.

Living an inactive lifestyle, you will be more likely to have unstable blood sugar levels, weight fluctuations, sleep issues and so much more. This is why it is worth your time to get movement daily, as it can greatly increase your health status. 

Now that you know the five determinants of health, how will you use this to your advantage? Is there anything that you want to work on improving? These are questions you have to ask yourself.

Then, you can make an action plan to move forward in your holistic wellness journey.

Start here today, there is nothing but healthier possibilities on the other side. 

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