Have you heard of integrative health but wondered what it is? Integrative health is a holistic approach to wellness which takes into account elements that influence a person’s body, mind, and spirit. These elements could be physical, mental, social, spiritual, or even environmental. Also, it pulls from both conventional and alternative approaches, such as yoga, to support overall health and the healing process. It empowers you to take an active role in your health.
Below are six ways you can begin to make changes now for a healthier you.
Eat Real Food For Integrative Health
Real food is food that can be picked, dug up, or otherwise harvested. It is as close to its original state without being processed or altered with salt, sugar, fat, or other chemicals. Next, real food includes fruits and vegetables. Then, real food contains a limited amount of unrefined sweeteners (such as honey or maple syrup). Also, it has whole grains, nuts, seeds, and beans. Finally, real food means organic animal products such as meat and eggs.
Food contains information for your cells and your body. Most importantly, when food is processed, the higher the likelihood the information is lost. What you eat matters. Make a goal to eat more real food daily. Your body will thank you for it!
Integrative Health Means Stress Less
Stress can take many different forms. It can be emotional, physical, or environmental. Some stress can make us stronger. Ongoing levels of stress can deplete our bodies, alter our hormone balance, and lead to chronic disease. There are many things we can do to help manage stress including yoga, acupuncture or even breathing. The next time you are stressed, take a moment to visualize something which brings you joy. Holding onto that image, breath in for a count of five. Hold for a count of six and slowly exhale for a count of eight. Repeat this several times. Each time, focus on that joyful feeling. Doing so helps to activate the part of our nervous system which reduces the stress response. You can do this simple exercise during a meeting or any stressful situation.
Be Consistent With Your Workout
I don’t have time to exercise. Everyone has said this at some point. The thing is, exercise is good for your body on many different levels. It can help with weight loss, blood pressure, blood sugar control, bone development, gut health, brain health, and memory. Perhaps one of the biggest gains is the release of endorphins. They can trigger positive feelings and help counterbalance life’s stress.
If you want results, the best thing you can do is aim for consistency, especially with moderate to vigorously intense physical activity. A 2019 study of people who maintained weight loss found that those who exercised more than 2.5 hours per week, over two or more days, were more likely to maintain their exercise duration and frequency. Accordingly, when it comes to integrative health, consistency matters!
This post is sponsored by Encompass Integrative Wellness.
While sleep needs vary by person, according to the National Sleep Foundation, an average person needs between 7-9 hours per day. Yet, a poll of women ages 30-60 only get a little more than six and half hours of sleep during the workweek. Thus, lack of sleep impacts our ability to learn, think, perform tasks, compromises the immune system and can lead to chronic disease. Further, you can disrupt your sleep with alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and late night stimulation. This is including the blue light emitted from devices such as phones and televisions. To sleep better, turn off all devices and lower light exposure up to two hours before sleeping. You can also try a nighttime meditation geared towards invoking sleep.
Part Of Integrative Health Is Finding Your Tribe
Research has shown that who we surround ourselves with matters. We are naturally social creatures, and this can have positive or negative effects on our health and longevity. Here is where finding your tribe comes in. Surround yourself with supportive, like-minded people whether it be for work or socially. If you are trying to establish a new integrative health goal, seek out friends trying to achieve the same thing. We really are stronger together.
Reduce Chemical Exposure
As women, we are especially sensitive to chemicals found in our food, cosmetics, and personal beauty products. This exposure can disrupt our endocrine system, the system which manages our hormone production. These endocrine disruptors can result in increased or decreased hormone levels. You can reduce your exposure to these problematic chemicals. Try looking for items that are free from Bisphenol-A (BPA). You can find BPA in plastics and the inside lining of cans. Phthalates, parabens, and phenoxyethanol may be found in personal care products. Avoid cooking with non-stick pans. Aim to consume organic foods including hormone-free animal products where possible.
Making substantial changes is a process. Consequently, it doesn’t happen overnight or all at once. Good, sustainable change begins slowly with one thing. Pick your one thing and take that step towards a healthier you.
This post is sponsored by Encompass Integrative Wellness. Encompass Integrative Wellness is an integrative clinical nutrition practice focused on educating and empowering people to embrace food and lifestyle modifications to help them achieve real, sustainable change and live more vibrantly. They offer 1:1 nutritional counseling, group programs, custom educational talks and presentations, and corporate wellness programs.
Women & Sleep—National Sleep Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved October 23, 2019, from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/women-and-sleep
Relationship of Consistency in Timing of Exercise Performance and Exercise Levels Among Successful Weight Loss Maintainers—Schumacher—2019—Obesity—Wiley Online Library. (n.d.). Retrieved October 23, 2019, from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/oby.22535