Future Proofing: non-prescription doctor’s orders for a longer life.
If you’ve ever seen me in the clinic, you’ll know that my intention and my goal for each of my patients is to help guide them through a programme to be as healthy as possible. My philosophy is that a healthy body is a fertile body, and my hope for each new patient is to optimize whole-body health to support fertility, pregnancy and, of course, a healthy baby. Here are the most science-backed, researched lifestyle medicines you can apply to your own life right now.
Whole food plant-based diet.
Do you remember when the Canada Food Guide was a pyramid? The base was “bread and cereals”, and the tip was “fats”. It’s pretty different from the current recommendations, with the image of a plate, half-filled with non-starchy vegetables and the other half divided equally between lean protein and whole grains/carbohydrates. The evidence keeps piling up; a diet high in plants has a protective effect against most major diseases including cardiovascular and metabolic. So, as it turns out, your parents were right: you need to eat more vegetables. In fact, fully half your plate should be piled with them. Also, your portion of carbohydrate should consist of colourful starchy veg (such as butternut squash or yam), whole grains such as brown rice/millet/quinoa, and small amounts of whole-grain bread. When planning your proteins, consider boiled eggs, fish and chicken with limited red meat and try to eliminate all processed meats such as cold cuts and bacon. Lentils, beans, and nuts also fit into this category. One of my favourite high protein foods is lentils cooked in salted bone broth.
Regular physical exercise
We’ve been hearing for years about not only the many benefits of regular exercise but also the negative impact of a sedentary lifestyle. “Sitting is the new smoking”, they say. Everybody knows how important it is for cardiovascular health and lean body mass, but there are other compelling reasons to build exercise into your everyday life. Apparently, exercise enhances the function of adult stem cells. I usually recommend my patients who are not used to vigorous exercise start slowly by adding movement into their daily lives. Examples are standing whenever possible instead of sitting; walking or riding your bike to the places you need to go; taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Since Covid, a lot of my patients have taken the opportunity to start an exercise program at home. There are lots of telehealth services that allow you to meet with a trainer online. Working from home allows many of us to add small, frequent bursts of exercise into our daily routine. There’s some really great research about “exercise snacking”, i.e. taking small one minute breaks for an intensive burst of exercise throughout the day. Think 20 pushups or one-minute high-knees running in place.
According to the centres for disease control, adults from 18-60 years old need a minimum of 7 uninterrupted hours of sleep per night. Your body uses that time to undergo a host of processes it can’t do while you’re awake, engaged in the multiple activities of your busy day. In fact, your brain uses that deep state of rest to pump cerebrospinal fluid through your brain, rinsing away old cells and waste for a new, fresh day. Do you ever feel after a good night's sleep like your mind has been washed clean? Well, it has.
How can acupuncture help?
By stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, acupuncture has the effect of supporting deeper sleep and reducing anxiety. It also aids digestion and can reduce the discomforts of exercise or sports injuries.
This is by no means a comprehensive list. I could add addiction management, reducing inflammation, stress and anxiety. These are all also of primary importance. They don’t come in pill form, but they are truly the best medicine.
If you are interested in getting some help, give Acubalance a call at 604-678-8600 to schedule your 15 minute Discovery Call with one of our experienced practitioners, or go ahead and book your initial consultation here.