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Taking Control of Your Health: How to Find Out What Your Body Needs to Be Its Best

almond saladKnowledge is power when it comes to anything, but especially our health. In order to optimize our health, there are a few general principles we all know to follow, but what about what we don’t know?

While many individuals already know bad things are bad for them, they probably don’t know that genetics play a role in how their body or brain reacts to what they consume; whether food or medications or simply the effects of their individual environment.

Genetics, hormone levels, body chemistry, environmental factors and current health conditions exert a strong influence on total health. These things also affect how individuals respond to different diets, supplements, medications, noise and routines. 

As someone very interested in optimizing my health, I began to tune in more closely to how my body  responded to various stimuli, and it helped me ”design” a customized approach to wellness. Here are some of my favorite discovery’s (remember: everyone has their own personal experience, so what I found is not a blanket truth for others). 

Links Between Sleeping Routine and Emotional Wellness

One of the first discoveries I made when designing a health plan that was best for my unique body was the effect of my sleeping patterns. While we all know getting sufficient sleep is important, how we are getting this sleep may also impact us.

As someone who worked from home with a flexible schedule, I was not required to get up a certain time each morning, so I would often switch up sleeping patterns. But, I began to notice something interesting. When I would get into my routines of going to bed later, and getting up later, I felt much more anxious and agitated for no particular reason. But, when I would go to be early and get up early–by 6 or 7 a.m. each and every day, I felt much calmer.

No matter what pattern I was in, I was getting the same amount of sleep. Why this was happening, I don’t know, but it’s clear that I personally respond better to an ”early to bed, early to rise” sleeping pattern.

Designing an Optimal Diet

There are so many different types of diets out there, it can make  your head spin. Study after study push one way over another, but what way of eating is best?

Should you go Mediterranean or Paleo? Should I be a vegetarian or is it better to eat meat?

You will find enthusiastic proponents for each way of eating, while others will say they notice very little difference in their health nor have they  experienced negative effects. I, personally, thrive off of a vegetarian diet, while my fiancé tried it for a few months, and  felt weak and deprived. Once he went back to eating meat, he felt great. The same way some foods make some people sick and not others.

Know why? Because everybody’s bodies and their chemistries are different. If you want to find the best diet, tune into your body and see how certain foods make you feel. Keeping a food journal is a great way to establish connections between the presence of certain symptoms and the foods you are eating.

While diet advice for many health conditions are not based on firm scientific evidence, don’t let that stop you from trying the tips out for yourself. Other people may be able to eat certain foods that only worsen your condition.

Your body doesn’t lie—tuning in will help you design the perfect diet for your body itself.

Medication and Supplementation

If you have ever read the results of any study testing a new medication or natural supplement, you will never see that it was effective for 100 percent of the people; with all the differences between us, how could it be?

When it comes to taking medications, you want to be extra careful about making sure your body is in alignment with whatever it is you are using—many come with undesirable side effects or may do lots of damage over the long term. One thing to consider might be genetic drug testing, which will give you information on how medicines are specifically affecting your body, and determining what types of drugs may be helpful for you, and which ones you don’t really need, or should avoid.

Pay attention to how certain drugs or supplements may be affecting you, and don’t ignore negative reactions simply because a friend had great results with this particular substance, or your doctor assured you it was safe.

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Nora Charles is a freelance writer that has worked with many bloggers for several years now.

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  1. Isabel says:

    Good advise.

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