The Five Pillars of Health

Just like when you build a house, it’s important to have strong foundations for your health and wellbeing. This allows us to withstand those more ‘wobbly moments’ of life and to get back on track when we over-indulge, get busy or forget to take care of ourselves. Check out these top five pillars by naturopath Rebecca Warren that will help you stay healthy and vibrant! 

Good Gut Health
Hippocrates said it almost 2500 years ago: ‘all disease begins in the gut’. Health really does happen from the inside-out and making sure you have the right balance of bugs in your digestive system is one of the best ways to build resilient health. While there are complex tests available, I recommend you start with a daily poo check! It should look like a big long sausage, come out easily, pain-free, leave you feeling empty and happen at least once per day.

Good Nutrition
And by this, we don’t mean only eating broccoli and lentils! Our nutritional needs vary depending on our age, stage of life and physical activity levels, but try to follow these principles where you can:

  • Eat at least four different coloured plants every day.
  • Include a handful or two of raw, unsalted nuts.
  • Drink at least 30mls of plain, filtered water for every kg of body weight (e.g. 60kg person need to drink about 1.8L of water each day).
  • Keep your red meat intake to max three times per week and the serving to no bigger than your palm.
  • Choose complex ‘brown’ carbohydrates as they contain more fibre and nutrients than their ‘white’ counter parts (e.g.: brown rice over white rice).

Restful Sleep
The general consensus amongst experts is that we should be aiming for 7 – 9 hours of sleep per night. If you’re finding it hard to get adequate sleep, try creating a sleep routine. This is a series of activities that you do at the same time each night in preparation for bed. An example could be:

  • 9:00pm: Last check of phone, set alarms etc.
  • 9:10pm: Shower and get into pyjamas.
  • 9:30pm: Write a gratitude list for all the things that happened that day you were thankful for.
  • 9:45pm: Read (not from a screen) in dim lighting for 15 minutes.
  • 10:00pm: Lights out.

Regular exercise
So many of us don’t move our bodies as much as we were made to! As a minimum, we should be aiming for about 150 minutes each week of moderate exercise, which equates to around 20-ish minutes each day. Ideally this would be a combination of cardio (i.e. things that get you huffing and puffing), strength (using weights, either your own body weight or other weights) and stretching exercises (like yoga).

Creating joy and fun in your life
Remember when you were a little kid and you used to do things just because it was ‘fun’? When was the last time you did something like that? Our lives have somehow become so serious and we have lost that child-like spark when viewing the world and others around us. Have a think about your to-do list. Where can you bring some light-heartedness and fun to otherwise mundane ‘adulting’?

Your ability to be healthy is not so much about being perfect 100% of the time, but more about how you bounce back if things get off track. Focusing on these five health pillars will help you continually progress forward with grace and ease. 

 

by Rebecca Warren, Naturopath.