I have now been a Naturopathic Doctor for almost two decades. These are the common issues that challenge my patients.
People do not drink enough water. I read once that by the time a person feels thirsty they are actually down a liter in body stores. So waiting to feel thirsty is not optimal. Chugging a large glass of water will just make you have to run to bathroom within a 1/2 hour. The ideal is to sip four to six 8 ounce glasses a day, between meals. I have seen chronic coughs, sinus issues and headaches stop when water intake has been increased.
People do not get adequate sleep. By adequate, I mean a good amount and a good quality. The average adult needs 7- 8 hours nightly. The quality of the sleep is effected by when the sleep takes place. The body naturally starts to make melatonin at 9 p.m. It stops most of this production by midnight. Growth hormone, which has a huge hand in the body’s ability to heal, is made during moderate exercise and when a person sleeps deeply between the hours of 1 and 3 am. If you are not managing to be in a deep sleep during this time, you have missed out on a good part of your body’s healing time. Yes, that does mean that overnight shift work is not a healthy choice. I have seen people get away with it for years at a time, but no one get away with it as their main career choice as an adult, without health repercussions.
People do not eat enough vegetables. When I sit with new patients almost everyone knows this is a problem, however this does not seem to be a motivator. Many of the adults guilty of this have children. These parents are very careful to make sure that their children eat their veggies, but they are not so careful to get their own. Eating more vegetables gives you more energy, better skin, better stool and will help you maintain a healthy weight. If you have young children you might be able to get away with avoiding your vegetables while they get theirs, but they won’t have to get very old before they pay more attention to what you do rather than what you say and then they will be adopting your bad habit.
People don’t play enough. Parents are so busy getting their kids off to their classes and sports events, but make no time for their own fun. Why do so many of us accept that when you reach a certain age, have obligations and a mortgage, that the fun is over? For optimal health I think it is essential for people to strive for a balance of work and play. Go for walks, watch a movie, read a magazine, catch up with friends, learn to play an instrument, dance ……