[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n order to truly optimize our health potential, we need to understand what exactly heath is. Most of us would associate health with the absence of symptoms, so let’s understand symptoms. If an individual is sneezing, coughing, throwing up, and having diarrhea, we are trained to believe that he is sick. However, if the purpose of a sneeze is to clean out your sinuses of irritants, mucous, and germs, then we would expect a sneeze to be great for us. It may not be great for everyone around us but our body is only interested in our health. A cough cleans your lungs, throwing up cleans your stomach and diarrhea cleans your bowels. So if cleaning is good, why label a person with these symptoms as sick when in reality it is his health and ability to heal that is producing these symptoms. Instead, we treat these natural immune responses with antihistamines, cough suppressants, and even pink goo in an attempt to stop the cleansing and force the body to keep inside what is was trying to eliminate in the first place. Think about it, this would be equivalent to someone who has a fire in their house and is attempting to turn off the fire alarm instead of the fire.
Health is not the absence of symptoms but more importantly, the ability to feel and the ability to adapt. The individual who walks around saying “I can eat anything” or “I haven’t been sick in the past 20 years”, is the one who has to wonder if his immune system is reacting to an invasion or ignoring it. If someone were to suffer a heart attack today, it doesn’t mean he was healthy yesterday because he had no symptoms. Cancers are usually identified through routine exams without the patient ever having a symptom. Therefore, the absence of symptoms does not mean you are healthy and having symptoms, does not mean you are sick. We live in a society where our “health care” is actually “sick care”. If you truly want health care, the responsibility is up to you. It is much easier to preserve your heath than it is to restore your health.
What can we do to preserve our health?
1. Nutrition: “you are what you eat”. Nutrition 101: If it didn’t swim, walk, fly, or grow out of the earth, chances are you shouldn’t be eating it. Keep food in its most natural form possible. For example, eat chicken, not chicken nuggets or brown rice and not puffed yellow rice.
2. Exercise: “if you don’t use it, you lose it”. People will drive around for 10 minutes in the mall parking lot, looking for the closest spot, just to avoid having to walk. Escalators, elevators, and remote controls; exercise is up to you
3. Sleep: “it is not the quantity, but the quality that is important”. Take a sleeping child out of a car, put him in bed, change his clothes to pajamas, and he doesn’t wake up; that is sleep. If you spend all night in bed tossing and turning, it doesn’t matter how long you sleep, chances are you will wake up feeling more tired than when you went to bed.
4. Positive mental attitude: Don’t stress over everyone else’s problems. Be selfish and worry about your health before you worry about anyone else’s. Stress could be one of the most consistent factors affecting your health.
5. Keep your spine in line: Your spine protects your nervous systems which is the communication network between your brain and your body. Problems in the spine can lead to chronic muscular tension, which can affect your sleep, creating a lack of energy to exercise, placing you in a grumpy mood, which may lead to binge eating of junk food.
Your health is up to you. I recommend a good physical evaluation and a functional spinal analysis by a Chiropractor. Improved spinal health can result in more restful sleep. If you awaken with more energy, you may be motivated to exercise. Exercise will improve your state of mind which will help you make clearer decisions as to what you should be eating.
If you truly want to be healthy, you must stop waiting until you are sick to care for yourself and start caring for yourself so you won’t be sick.
Dr. Roberto Fernandez has been a chiropractic physician in the Kendall area for over 20 years. For more information, go to www.miamifloridachiropractor.com or call 305-270-8800.