There are many different theories about what causes health or disease, and no one theory has been able to explain all of our experiences as patients. However, there is now an overwhelming amount of evidence that suggest that your overall state of wellness or illness can be influenced by something called the immune system.
The immune system works in two phases: innate and adaptive. The innate immune system comes pre-programmed into existence at birth and does not require repeated stimulation to work. It includes white blood cells (lymphocytes) and chemicals such as cytokines and prostaglandins which help to fight off infectious agents and restore balance to disturbed body functions.
These molecules are involved in every aspect of human physiology, from appetite regulation to bone remodeling to inflammation. When we’re exposed to things like bacteria, viruses, allergens, or other foreign substances, our bodies respond with either specific antibodies or non-specific immunological responses.
Certain types of antibodies and cytokines are important for maintaining healthy functioning of the immune system, while others can contribute to problems if they overreact to external stimuli. This happens when their function is exaggerated beyond what is needed, leading to excessive inflammation or suppression of normal immune response.1
Inflammation is a natural process necessary for healing after exposure to pathogens or injury. Unfortunately, prolonged chronic low level inflammation is linked to several diseases and conditions including autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and aging2.
Definition of health
Having healthy or robust physical, mental, and social functioning is what defines health.
Physical health refers to how well your body functions physically. This includes things like your heart function, blood circulation, muscles, bones, and organs.
Mental health means having adequate psychological skills to cope with everyday life as well as moderate stressors.
Social health involves being able to form strong relationships that are meaningful to you.
It can be difficult to achieve all three areas of health, but anything that contributes to one area helps promote health in the other two. For example, eating a nutritious diet aids in improving overall physical health, keeping you feeling relaxed and less stressed makes for healthier emotional health, and exercising gives you more energy which helps keep you active.
Healthy habits also contribute to your sense of general wellbeing which we refer to as wellness. Healthy people feel good about themselves and perceive their lives as going well.”
What is well-being?
Being well-meaning individuals, you may have heard people talk about “health” or perhaps even seen it mentioned as an aim or goal in this or that organization.
But what does health really mean?
The Oxford English Dictionary defines health as both a noun and a verb. As a noun, it means state of being healthy, but also includes physical fitness and wellness.
As a verb, it means to be in a healthy condition physically or mentally.
So whether you use the word health for a period of time or all your life, it can mean two different things.
Difference between health and wellness
Even though both health and wellness are mentioned frequently in popular media, people often get them confused. It is very important to be clear about what each term means.
Health refers to your physical condition while wellness refers to how you feel mentally and emotionally. Being healthy is much more than just not having symptoms of disease, it includes being able to cope with daily life stressors and living a happy life.
Wellness can be described as “healthy” activity or behavior that produces positive results. For example, going for a short walk every day or working towards eating less sugar could be considered part of your wellness routine.
It is also important to recognize that not everyone will experience the same level of wellness in their lives. Yours may be different at any given time due to personal factors such as work, family, or lifestyle.
However, if you don’t find yourself in this state of wellness then chances are there’s something keeping you from doing things that matter to you. If you want help changing this read our article on why you’re feeling stressed out and tips on how to reduce stress.
Ways to improve your health
Finding ways to increase your overall wellness is one of the best things you can do for your mental, physical, and social well-being. You are already spending lots of time at work so why not make it worth it by engaging in activities that help you feel good about yourself?
There are many different types of activity that have been shown to aid in improving overall wellness. They vary from exercising to practicing mindfulness or yoga, learning a new skill such as painting, swimming, or pottery- all of which contribute to improved moods, self-esteem, and quality of life.
Research has also found that being involved with your community is an integral part of increased wellbeing. Whether this means joining a club, taking up volunteering, or just going out to support your neighborhood, these groups provide you and those around you with opportunities to connect and discuss important issues.
This article will talk more about some easy ways to add more fitness into your day while also emphasizing the importance of staying socially engaged.
Eat your greens
Let’s talk about one of my favorite health tips that can help you achieve some incredible results – eat more plants!
Many people don’t realize it, but we are spending most of our time not in active mode (sleep is inactive) and nutrition goes down the tubes.
As humans, we need energy to live so when we aren’t consuming enough nutrients or ingesting foods that contain vitamins and minerals, our bodies start to break down other things to get the needed fuel.
This happens mostly in two areas: tissue growth and blood circulation. When there’s less muscle due to lack of nutrient intake or bone thinning because of low calcium levels, for example, it becomes harder to maintain strength and balance.
Tissue growth like hair and skin slows down, which may be why many people say they feel older even though they’re still young. And when blood circulates less frequently, heart function decreases as well. This can lead to shortness of breath, palpitations, lightheadedness, and chest pain/tightness.
Luckily, eating plenty of vegetables helps promote healthy weight loss and maintenance by helping keep your muscles strong and your cardiovascular system functioning properly.
“They play an important role in overall health and disease prevention,” says registered dietician Victoria Gilkison. “And while taste might be a factor limiting their consumption at times, nutritional value usually overcomes this.
Mood and stress
Recent studies show that one of the major causes of obesity is emotional eating, which includes eating to satisfy your hunger, calm yourself or cope with emotions. You may also eat because you’re bored or unhappy, and then later feel guilty for it.
Some researchers suggest that worries about money, work and family can influence our food choices and appetite. Others believe it’s fear of not meeting other people’s expectations of how they think we should look – particularly if they are looking in the mirror or comparing themselves to what they perceive as “the ideal size”.
Research has shown that when we’re under pressure, we tend to rely more heavily on carbs for quick energy and less nutritious foods like junk food or sweets. This happens because carbohydrates are readily absorbed and take up little room in our stomachs, so we keep eating them to make us feel better.
We also have fewer sensations of taste due to low blood glucose levels, making us prefer sweet tastes to sour ones. Unfortunately these habits can lead to weight gain.
Hygiene (hygiene is important!)
When it comes to your health, what you do to take care of yourself is very significant. This includes not only how well you eat, but also how well you maintain your hygiene or personal cleanliness practices.
Many people forget that our skin is an important barrier against infectious agents. By ensuring that your own internal barriers are strong, such as keeping your stomach empty, eating nutritious foods, and exercising, then adding some simple practices like washing your hands frequently with soap and water, you’re giving your body a chance to defend itself more effectively against infection.
In fact, studies have shown that poor hand-washing behavior can be a major factor in why someone gets sick.
By practicing good hygiene, you will help prevent infections, disease, and even death. It may seem tedious at first, but eventually you’ll find your rhythm and things will flow naturally.