Optimal health. What comes to your mind when you hear those words? A certain image? Lifestyle? A look? Perhaps it’s what happens inside of you that you can’t see… like all systems working great. Is it the “perfect” picture of health? Energetic and vibrant looking? Rosy skin? Clear bright eyes? A lack of illness or disease? Strong with the ability to do all your daily tasks with energy?
As I’ve noted before there are a lot of buzz words out there today that “health” companies use to make their product sound more appealing to potential customers, to sell you on it. Usually the words are descriptive and designed to make you think that by taking/using their product this very thing will be given to you.
Magically. No effort.
The marketing of these products is nothing less than impressive, but the times I’m choking and rolling my eyes over some of the claims….
Keep in mind these company claims are in turn, regurgitated by the sales people who largely don’t really know what they are talking about either. It has been interesting to note the fine print showing up on many labels now that these products aren’t FDA approved or endorsed.
Ok I digress… but my current thought was generated from the catch phrase on some products promising this ….
First of all, what does optimal mean ? Webster defines it as most desirable or satisfactory.
Health is defined as the condition of being well and free from disease.
So optimal health could be defined as a desirable and satisfactory state of being well physically ( and mentally) and free from disease or illness.
Sounds good, right ?
Isn’t that something we all desire and should seek to keep? Or if we have health issues shouldn’t they ( if possible) be something we strive to improve or reverse? There are many conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, blood sugar issues etc that can be changed or reversed with improved health.
But here’s where I get tripped up… every. single. time.
Why am I going to take a man made product to help me achieve optimal health? Why am I going to spend my money on a product when I could buy healthy food with it?
It does amaze me that people are willing to do so many things other than what they really should be doing which is focusing on eating real, whole foods and making changes in their nutrition and exercise program.
A focus on better food quality will go a long way to achieving optimal health. That will show up inside and out on you.
So how does one achieve optimal health?
First, it has to be something we desire and intentionally pursue. It will require consciously choosing a different lifestyle. You will have to be purposeful in your choices and decisions.
Learn to move more. Our bodies need exercise and are made to move. Active, vigorous movement allows our blood and lymphatic system to flow the way it’s designed to. Not only that exercise benefits our mental well being as much as our physical. Exercise is good for lots of reasons but that’s not my focus today 😉
Food. Obviously, your diet should be loaded with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. They should be present at all your meals. I don’t think I can stress enough the huge benefits of adequate fresh produce. To me, optimal health is achieved with good quantities of produce. Your daily food intake should also include whole grains, lean meats and dairy products.
It should be light on empty calorie foods that offer not a lot in the nutritional category. This includes of course, sugary drinks, alcohol, refined processed foods like cookies, crackers, chips, sweet breads, fast foods, salted foods etc.
Water. Our bodies are made up of a lot of water. Water transports waste from our bodies and hydrates us. Water is essential for our health. It helps our skin do it’s job of regulating body temperature through sweating, water is essential for circulation of nutrients through the body, it aids in digestion and creates saliva. Drink your water.
Your mind. Read. Learn to play an instrument. Take up a new hobby. Go back to school or take a class on something that interests you. Be willing to learn and grow your mind. Find something that interests you and become an expert on it.
Your soul. Whatever nourishes your soul, find time for it. Prayer, meditation, scripture reading, devotionals, whatever your personal preference is, find something that feeds your inner being.
Optimal health has the potential to be achieved with a balanced lifestyle that feeds the body, soul and mind. It will also vary from person to person as to what needs to be addressed to reach that goal. It requires us to be intentional in the pursuing and maintaining of it but it will be well worth our efforts.