Life Styles

What Is Optimal Health Anyway?

This happened to me recently. I had a woman attend one of my health lectures using a walker. She had just come from dialysis and was wearing a surgical boot. I asked her if she had any health concerns, and she said no. That’s right, she told me that apart from the wound in her foot that wouldn’t heal and her failing kidneys she was otherwise in good health.

I’m very thankful to live in a world with such amazing, life-saving technology as dialysis, but I’m also amazed that someone in this state would consider herself to be in a good state of health.

What does it mean to be healthy anyway? It stands to reason that there should be an accepted definition of health to use as a starting point. It so happens that the World Health Organization has one.

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

This definition has not been changed since 1948. It pretty much says it all.

The word health comes from the same root word that gives us the word holy. It’s about being whole. Being healthy is about being in balance. Balance doesn’t mean that you never lean to one side or the other. Balance is about how quickly you come back to center. Physical health is greatly influenced by genetics, environment and diet. Someone who falls and receives a scrape should expect to heal. First their genes will influence potential. Some people may not form blood clots well. Some people may have other disorders that slow their ability to rebuild tissue. Others heal very quickly.

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The environment may influence healing processes as well. If you keep scraping your knee, how quickly would you expect it to heal? Damaging influences need to be taken away. What other things are affecting your body that it is also trying to deal with? If your body is trying to deal with constant lung irritation due to bad air, the resources of your body might not be able to cover other battles, like an infected wound.

Diet is about raw materials. You are what you eat. If you are providing your body with good foods that are not saturated with preservatives you have the raw materials the cells need to perform the tasks of healing. Sometimes it is difficult to eat the recommended amounts of fresh whole foods on a daily basis, so high-quality dietary supplements can help ensure that you have the raw materials your body needs.

Studies have shown that people with better diets seem to enjoy better health. This means that they still get sick from time to time. They are still at the same risk for car accidents and paper cuts. What makes them healthier than others is measured by how quickly they come back to their balance. How is your state of balance?