The Health Dilemma
More people die each year because of their lifestyle choices rather than infectious pathogens and diseases and is still the case now amid the COVID-19 pandemic, if you wondered…. Consumers spend trillions of pounds on food that makes them sick, and then spend another trillion to treat the illnesses caused by their diets. Lifestyle choices, such as our diet, are the main cause of heart attacks, cancers, diabetes and dementia. Most consumers today are unaware how unhealthy their diet and exercise choices are making them. Often misinformed by the packaging of a product as what’s the back, the real deal, is not easy to understand.
Personalised nutrition and lifestyle guidance have been proven to aid in this growing problem. However, in today's institutionalised health system, this approach to wellness has not yet become widely accepted. The reason for this is that neither the food nor health care industries can benefit from preventing or curing diseases. Therefore, very little corporate-sponsored research is conducted about lifestyle and nutrition interventions. Furthermore, government research is slow and understaffed.
Another side of the problem is that personalised medicine is too complicated to implement within the existing medical system since it requires additional research, trials, and changes in infrastructure. This health revolution has its hurdles and limits. But I am optimistic and things are slowly changing for the better.
The Tilting Point
Despite these hurdles in personalised medicine, increased interest is occurring among private practitioners and consumers. This is resulting in a growing trend towards ‘democratised’ medicine and it is now easier than ever for people to take control of their health as opposed to relying on the current system, which is fine-tuned for acute illness and treatments. Many sick individuals are already attempting different alternatives. This is evident by the growing popularity of the supplements' industry, also known as nutraceuticals. Historically, nutritional supplements were consumed by body-builders. But demand is now also generated by consumers interested in overall well-being and vitality. According to the estimates in the Nutrition Business Journal report, the global nutrition and supplements market stood at $96 billion as of 2012. A year later, it was approximately $104 billion globally. Going forward, The market shows a CAGR (Compound annual growth rate) of between 6% and 7%. Although this is a good start, we need a wider and more proactive approach.
People around the world are desperately seeking better ways to get healthy, but most of them lack the knowledge or are paralysed by too much information for it to be effective long term. The growing access to information makes this even more of a reality, as it allows consumers to learn and educate themselves about their health options including personalised medicine.
The question is, what can you do now to make a difference in your health?
Here are five easy steps that you can take today toward better health.
1. Educate yourself
It all starts with you as an educated individual. Optimising your health is a lot easier when you adopt a personalised approach based on your bio-individuality. This is because what works best for someone, might not function as well for you. So, unless your choices are influenced by your uniqueness, the changes you adopt might not necessarily be beneficial to you. Whether you are looking to lose weight, get more energy or prevent disease, a personalised approach can help you make the right choices to attain your goal. Gene testing and the implementation of Nutrigenomic principles are crucial steps to cracking your health code.
2. Learn about your strength, weakness and fine-tune in to your own biology
We all have our strengths and weaknesses. When it comes to your physiological processes, it is important for you to learn about where you might need support. Learn to optimise your body by using the right tools and understand just how far you can push yourself. By exploring your genetic makeup, as well as understanding what is happening in your body right now, thanks to functional testing. By doing so, you will become fine-tuned with your own biology and learn to adjust and adapt your lifestyle accordingly and eventually learn how to improve it based on scientifically validated data rather than the latest trend.
3. Genes do not equal fate, going beyond genetics
When it comes to your health, nothing is set in stone. It isn't because you have a gene variant that is associated with a disease, that you are predestined to develop. Other factors such as diet, lifestyle, and environment must also line up with your genotype for it to express itself. This is why you must first learn about your health priorities and the habits that need to be implemented to optimise your health.
4. From the simple basics to tracking health optimisation
For most of us, improving our health involves going to the gym and adopting proper nutrition with superfood… being branded as such… but this is the ego fuelled version of wellness we are being marketed, however not necessarily the most effective approach. This approach can be effective within weeks for the most self-disciplined, they stick to the plan but then quickly reach a plateau and then repeat the same cycle of getting results and losing them all over again, to start this same yo-yo cycle again, which isn't healthy in the long run. This recipe is often jeopardised when life gets in the way and puts an end to those good intentions, leaving us with the feeling of frustration and failure.
There is a healthier approach to better health…
It all starts with the basics such as good sleep, nutritious real food, proper hydration, breathing, movement, grounding and connecting with our loved ones and human alike, once these strong foundations are laid, we can then talk about health optimisation. Tracking and measuring your progress to rectify potential imbalances over time, can make a difference and keep you on the right path. Tracking will make you more engaged in your own health optimisation journey. This is not only true for your health, but also with any other goal you might have in life. For example, if your goal is to lose weight in time for the holiday season, you can track your body fat percentage. You could also track a few other body measurements like waist, upper thigh, hips and chest. Visual progress is also helpful, so take before and after pictures regularly. Posting your progress on Instagram is optional….
You might want to look at the nutrition side of things and make sure you are getting your macronutrients ratio right (protein, carbohydrates, and fats). As well as looking at all others body systems that may be imbalanced which could be impacting your progress. For example, tracking markers that are important to you, like insulin sensitivity, liver toxicity etc, inflammation etc. If chronic inflammation is a potential issue, then that should be your priority rather than religiously going every morning for a HIIT session that may just create even more inflammation.
5. Change your mind-set and play the infinite game
Many people will take their health for granted and think the health care system will take care of it. This mindset may lead you to a path of dependence and disease. When this may sound like an exaggeration, the numbers do not lie…1 out of 2 people in the UK develop a chronic illness after 65 years old, leading to the increased likelihood of living with multiple of these conditions for the last decade of their life.
Your health is your responsibility, so step outside the status quo and regain control of it. It is in your best interest to start small to get the basics right, to then understand what your priorities are, and start adopting the changes that count. To finally develop a mindset of constant growth, allowing trial and error to occur. Health optimisation is a journey. A sort of infinite game that improves itself over time as you learn about your body. What’s more is that you now live in a very exciting time when platforms like Omnos are working hard to democratise the science behind health, to make the complicated simple via a very friendly dashboard, with very targeted personalised recommendations. Meaning you can skip all the guesswork and focus on making the necessary adjustments to improve your longevity and quality of life.
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