Proactive is trending, and here’s why
There’s been a lot of talk these days about preventative care. It’s the concept of taking a more proactive approach to our health and well-being, rather than waiting for something to happen and addressing it in the moment. It’s about practicing physical and emotional health maintenance on a daily basis.
Why has this become so important?
Since Covid-19 started to gain momentum in early 2020, there’s been a clear and increased interest in immunity-boosting vitamins and supplements. A study conducted by The Institute of Human Nutrition Sciences found that Google searches for immunity-regulating supplements like vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, omega-3, garlic, ginger, and turmeric have increased dramatically worldwide.
Talk of proactively caring for our health is everywhere. And we think it’s about time.
Proactive versus reactive
As science is still trying to understand this disease, one thing is certain: our physical and emotional well-being is our best insurance. Keeping your body adequately equipped to combat potential infection is kind of a no-brainer under any circumstances, but particularly in the midst of a pandemic. You wouldn’t walk out the door without an umbrella if you heard thunder in the distance, so why wouldn’t you take the opportunity to protect yourself internally from the elements, too?
Proactive is grabbing that trusty umbrella before you leave the house. Reactive is going back to get it after your clothes have already been soaked.
Being proactive about your health and the health of your family is the best way to safeguard immunity. We can trust our bodies to swing into action when something unfamiliar enters the picture, but there are things we can do to help it ahead of time to give it a better chance. And the stronger the defense system that’s already in place, the better equipped our bodies are to handle what comes our way.
Well-being is a daily practice
Whether your kids are strapping on backpacks for a new school year, or you’ve started going back to the office, we’re all thinking about protection. We’re inundated with news stories and social media posts about masks and lowering our risk of exposure, which are all really important right now.
But, what we’re not talking about enough are the lifestyle choices that we make every day. Well-being starts with proactive self-care. These are the things we can do proactively to improve our overall health, and in effect, improve our outcomes should we catch a cold, the flu, or SARS-CoV-2.
“Health and wellness are the cumulation of behaviors, thoughts, and actions we take daily. As Benjamin Franklin put it, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. What we do daily can either add to our health or subtract from our health. Investing in your health makes it much less likely that you will get sick and, if you do get sick, places you in a better position to weather the storm unscathed,” - Dr. Richard Harris, MD, PharmD, MBA.
7 Tips to Keep Your Immune System Strong
1. Get enough sleep
Hearing that you should get 8 hours of sleep a day is almost as familiar as “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. But, is it accurate? Recent circadian rhythm studies point to a different conclusion. If you’ve been trying to correct a sleep pattern that doesn’t meet that 8-hour mark, stop thinking about that number and start thinking about what seems to work best for you.
The truth about sleep is that it varies from person to person. Recommending 8 hours a day is an average, but you might find that you do just fine with 7, though less than 7 has been shown to increase the likelihood of adverse health events. Maybe your partner or your teenager needs 9 to function, and a little extra if the body is in recovery mode from an illness or injury. Find what works and make sure that you’re getting what you need. Try to go to bed on time and wake up around the same time every day. Consistency and routine are key.
2. Get enough rest
You might be asking yourself “Isn’t that what I’m doing while I’m sleeping?” Well, yes and no. Sleep is a type of rest, but there are others. In her TED Talk, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith MD explains that there are actually 7 types of rest:
- Physical- sleep, cat naps, savasana
- Mental - taking work breaks throughout the day
- Sensory- take a break from screens, close your eyes and unplug
- Creative- immerse yourself in nature or go to a museum
- Emotional- have honest communication, drop the need to people please
- Social- don’t force yourself to attend social events, aim for deeper conversations rather than large-group small talk
- Spiritual- meditation, meaningful connection to those around you
Incorporate real, scheduled moments of rest into your daily routines. Rest is important for our physical and emotional health, and these meaningful ways to recharge help us connect with ourselves, our environment, and our loved ones.
3. Feed your body well
Good nutrition is the cornerstone of good health. There are a lot of fad diets out there making various, often competing, claims about fat-intake, fasting, appropriate amounts of meat and dairy, anti-inflammatory foods, you name it. Investigating the scientific claims behind these diets can take you through a dizzying wormhole. Who has the time for that? Unless you’re a dietician, you’ve probably got better things to do.
Here, we like to keep things simple. Eat well. Feed your body things that help it do its job. Don’t make it work too hard. This concept is summed up pretty succinctly on the cover of Michael Pollan’s 2009 book, In Defense of Food: “Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Food: What the Heck Should I Eat by Mark Hyman is another great book on nutrition. The most important aspect of nutrition is to just eat real, unprocessed food (fruits, veggies, meats) and more fruits and veggies than meat.
4. Hydrate Regularly
In the heat of a scorching afternoon or post-workout, it’s normal to reach for a big, cold glass of ice water. We do it without thinking. But what about first thing in the morning, or on your commute to work? How about a glass of water before dinner, or reaching for water instead of a mid-day sugary snack?
Unless you live in a dry climate that’s constantly reminding you of thirst, you’re probably not carrying a water bottle around with you. But you should be. Proper hydration plays an important role in removing waste from our bodies, normalizing our internal temperature, lubricating our joints, and it helps protect sensitive tissues. Hydration also keeps you alert!
5. Manage stress
As much as we are what we eat, the same applies to what’s going on in our heads. Stress takes a toll on our minds and bodies. If we’re constantly consumed by stress, it shows.
“Chronic stress is the most insidious root cause of disease. Stress has a mental component (I feel overwhelmed) and a physical component (increased heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugars, brain fog, increased central body fat, etc.) caused by hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Stress mitigation and management techniques are not optional when it comes to optimal health. Mindfulness and the growth mindset work to regulate the body's mental and physical components to stress. As William James said, The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another,” Dr. Richard Harris, MD, PharmD, MBA
One way to take a proactive approach to stress is by meditating in the morning. Studies have shown that regular mindful meditation practice is proven to help people manage stress, anxiety, and pain. It’s also one of the 7 types of rest mentioned above, so it’s like a double-dip of well-being for your mind and body.
6. Take the Right Immunity Supplements
Since searches for “immunity” have been trending for over a year now, it’s no surprise that there’s an overwhelming amount of information out there about supplements. It’s easy to get lost in a loop of what to take, what’s actually based on scientific efficacy, and how much you should be taking daily. It’s a lot to absorb, literally. Between work, family, and squeezing in time for self-care, who wants to spend hours online reading medical journals?
Well, thankfully, we do. Which means that you don’t have to. With the Fluent™ Immunity 10 Day Power Pack, we’ve done the scientific deep-dive and the shopping for you. This is a 10-day immunity reset that’ll get your system in tip-top shape. Each Power Pack contains:
When it comes to boosting immunity, it’s about how different vitamins and minerals work together. A wide range of effectively dosed combinations offers strong immune support that’s scientifically proven to give you the best immune-boosting results. The Fluent™ Immunity 10 Day Power Pack is not only convenient, but it saves you the time and trouble of researching and label-reading. Bonus points for avoiding the dreaded, unexciting trip through the vitamin and supplement aisles. Immunity, efficacy, and convenience all in one.
7. Talk to a Doctor
What goes through your mind when you think about calling your doctor? According to a recent poll conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago and the West Health Institute, most Americans feel hesitation and stress. Not only can access to healthcare be prohibitively expensive, but a trip to the doctor can be time-consuming and sometimes complicated.
The system of communication between hospitals, insurance providers, and patients is “multi-faceted”, to put it kindly. We make appointments, sit in waiting rooms longer than expected, and what qualifies for coverage is unreasonably hard to discern. Weeks or months later when we get the bill in the mail, we’re often left even more confused. It’s no wonder that 45% of Americans 18-29 and 28% of Americans 30-49 years old do not have a primary care doctor.
There IS a better way.
The Fluent SmartExam is a home health tool designed to help you conduct medical exams remotely through one simple, handheld device. Now you can monitor your health, securely share medical exams with a doctor and get care for the whole family from the comfort of your couch. Even in your pajamas. Whether you’re feeling a little under the weather, suspect a cold coming on, or maybe your energy levels have been low lately and you just want to explore possible causes, you can get helpful answers to your questions with the Fluent SmartExam and a virtual care visit.
Effective care is about confidence
When you’re confident about how to care for yourself and your family, you feel good. We believe in simplicity because when you understand what works and why, you become health fluent. You build confidence through your ability to make informed decisions. Because real answers to your health questions shouldn’t be so hard to find.
We offer a simple and painless path to finding answers. The bottom line when it comes to the well-being of our families is that we need to trust the advice we’re getting. Whether that comes from a visit to the family doctor, a virtual visit with one of AskTimely’s trusted physicians, or messaging with an AskTimely healthcare specialist, you want to know that you can count on the science.
We are the science, and we’re here to help you navigate a better way to health fluency.