Top 5 indicators of good health
Health is so much more than the mere absence of disease. Here is a checklist of several key health parameters that you can evaluate yourself with and assess your health in a more global way.
Body composition: Today, we have a greater than ever number of people who are obese or overweight. This directly contributes to the exponentially increasing rates of chronic disease and ever-skyrocketing costs of healthcare. Of course you know that obesity is so much more than a number on a scale. Having optimal body composition is true prevention against the development of chronic diseases – particularly diabetes and its major health consequence, cardiovascular disease. People with optimal body composition have better blood pressure, blood lipids and organ function than their obese and overweight counterparts.
Skin: The state of your skin can give many clues about the appropriateness of your diet and lifestyle. Ideally, the skin is smooth and clear with good elasticity. There are not dark circles under the eyes. Dry skin, acne and itchy rashes can signify that you may be eating foods that are not optimal for you (ie: acne – dairy, refined sugar products) or that you are lacking in some dietary component (ie: dry skin – water, omega 3 fatty acids and other fats). Glass of water, anyone?
Digestion: We know that the bowels are a funny subject to talk about, but they are a major indicator of the state of our health. Digestion is crucial for the breakdown, assimilation and absorption of nutrients, so it is easy to see how disturbances in digestion can keep you from looking and feeling your best. Not to mention the role digestion plays in many inflammatory, autoimmune and endocrinological conditions. Ideally, you should be moving your bowels at least once a day, but not much more than three times daily!
Energy: Do you wake refreshed and ready to start your day? Are you able to complete your workouts and stay mentally sharp? Or do you wake groggy and feel sapped of energy after lunch? If not, it’s time to take a look at what you are putting into your mouth. Adequate protein and keeping blood sugar stable with frequent meals, along with adequate hydration and a consistent bedtime routine and schedule, are top priorities when considering energy. Vibrant energy is a classic indicator of health.
Time spent in a positive mind state: Even our mental-emotional state has a powerful impact on the state of our health. Negative thoughts generate negative emotions, which create stress responses in the body, in turn releasing inflammatory signaling molecules and stress hormones, which in turn constrict blood vessels, elevate the heart rate, and basically send an alarm signal throughout the body. After many years of this, hypertension and heart disease can develop. Stress can worsen any disease state. Positive emotion has the opposite effect on the body – protecting the heart, blood vessels and brain and stimulating the immune system in a positive way.