Too often these days we are told what health is by pointing out examples of what it isn't. People talk about the rising trends in obesity and diabetes, in the low quality of standard American nutrition, in how too few people exercise, and how the number of heart attacks and other disease related deaths are rising through a negligence of our basic health. Yet all these things tell us what health isn't, not what it is, so perhaps it's a good idea to go back to basics and examine what the word health should mean to all of us. Does it mean ripped muscles? Does it mean never catching a cold? In today's article we're going to take a look, and let you know.
The idea of health has evolved greatly, but still revolves around some basic tenets. Health to the Ancient Greeks involved being physically and mentally active; indeed they thought you could not be truly healthy unless you exercised both the mind and the body. As such all citizens were encouraged to partake in physical competitions and games while also practicing their minds and increasing their sharpness by engaging in philosophical pursuits and being active citizens of their nation states.
Since then, the idea of health has often changed, but today what we understand health to mean involves some basic tenets as well. We know that getting plenty of sleep, eating nutritious whole foods and getting plenty of exercise all lead to increased health. But how much of each is necessary?
What this means is that any visit to the supermarket is fraught with peril as our senses are bombarded with temptation and offers to plug our desires for fat and salt and sugar. When we were primitive hunter gatherers, such substances were rare and good for us in small doses. Now that we can create them at will, we are far more likely to abuse them, eating them happily instead of pursuing balanced diets that are rich with nutritious food. When you enter the supermarket try and follow this simple rule of thumb: anything that is not advertised is probably natural and good for you. Avoid anything that is trying to make you buy it, and eat only what your grandmother would have served at her table.
Doctors advise that we should all be getting at least eight hours of sleep, though most of us force ourselves to get by with far less than that, aided in part by coffee and accepting dull, lethargic days. We are also told that getting plenty of sleep is the basis of remaining strong, fit, and having a powerful immune system. Second, correct nutrition involves eating a wide array of colorful fruits and vegetables, along with plenty of protein, some fat, and some carbs. Starchy carbs should be avoided, and we should endeavor to eat plenty of lean protein such as fish and poultry to ensure maximal health. Finally, we should all strive for at least thirty minutes of exercise a day if not more, so that we are able to retain our strength which both helps our skeletal and muscular systems remain young and holds diseases at bay.
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