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No matter the circumstances, we all want one thing—to live a long and happy life. While there are no shortcuts or guarantees to such a goal, some simple lifestyle changes go a long way in supporting good health. To find out the definition of good health, and how you can encourage your body's desire for balance, keep reading.
To live a long and healthy life, we need to understand what constitutes "good health" in the first place. Although the term will differ slightly from one person to the next, in 1948, the World Health Organization created a general definition of good health still used by healthcare providers today:
"Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity. A resource for everyday life, not the objective of living. Health is a positive concept emphasising social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities".
Good health sounds quite complicated by their definition, so it's worth breaking down some of the critical points. Good health isn't merely about being free of disease and disorder. Of course, these are the primary goals, but what the WHO emphasises is the need for balance in all aspects of life.
The human body hates being sedentary, and it's hugely important for both physical and mental health that we move about. The common misconception here is that "moving about" must be heavy gym sessions or a five-mile run—that simply isn't the case. Instead, being in good physical health is about maintaining an adequate level of fitness.
Regular, light exercise and a balanced diet (including those weekend takeaways) will always win over extremes. The key is finding foods and activities you enjoy, and sticking with them. Consistency is crucial if you want to live a long and healthy life.
Mental health is a much more prominent issue, especially in today's modern society, and our thoughts, feelings, and emotions all require a tailor-made approach to maintain good mental health.
Fortunately, some fundamental practices can help. Meditation and mindfulness techniques, spending time in nature, writing, or talking about your thoughts—all these activities can help express your emotions and encourage good mental health.
Many of the activities that support good social health go hand-in-hand with mental and physical health. Humans are social creatures by nature, and, although the need varies from one person to the next, we all crave interaction.
Talking to close friends, attending a sports club, practising a religion, even a trip to the pub—good social health is all about interaction with other people, talking and sharing experiences. Developing meaningful relationships does wonders for our physical and mental well-being, reducing the onset of chronic health conditions and feelings of loneliness.
You've probably noticed that the three aspects crucial to good health (physical, mental, and social) overlap. Each supports the other, and taking a balanced approach to all three is a sure-fire way to encourage the long and healthy life we're aiming for.
However, good health is more than just a means to living longer. If your mind and body are in good health, then the challenges of modern living take far less of a toll. Your body can afford to devote resources to functions that need them, without the rest of your biological systems struggling.
Essentially, being in good health gives your mind and body a buffer against the highs and lows of modern living, allowing you to live the best life possible. It may be an overused expression, but living a long and fruitful life is about enjoying the journey, not the destination.
When the WHO talks about disease and infirmity, they're mainly referencing noncommunicable diseases and chronic inflammation. Why? Because these two areas account for over 70% of all deaths worldwide.
Worst of all, the diseases in question aren't exclusive to low-income countries or at-risk demographics. Fifteen million people aged 30 to 69 die every year from noncommunicable diseases, with the most notable conditions including:
• Cardiovascular diseases
• Respiratory diseases
Noncommunicable diseases (NCD) are challenging to treat because they tend to not only be long-term, but the result of genetic, physiological, and environmental factors. While there's not a lot we can do about our genetics, there's a ton of lifestyle changes we can make to keep the other factors at bay, especially when you consider that the biggest contributors to NCDs are:
• Tobacco use
• Lack of exercise
• Excessive alcohol consumption
• Unhealthy diet
At a glance, you can see how a focus on good health can quickly eradicate many of the contributing factors. Although NCDs account for a considerable proportion of worldwide deaths, limiting their impact is very much within our control.
When we refer to balance in the human body, we're referencing a natural state called homeostasis. Simply put, homeostasis is a self-regulating process that ensures all of our internal systems have the resources they need, when they need them.
To make the concept of homeostasis easier to understand, imagine our physiology as a vast hanging mobile. Every axis on our giant mobile represents various internal systems, such as our immune, digestive, or central nervous system. And, from each one hangs the vast array of functions that take place all over the body.
If you experience a cold, the body instinctively tips the mobile, favouring our immune system so it has the resources it needs to tackle symptoms. Once the infection has passed, the mobile returns to an equal and balanced state—homeostasis. Internal shifting between biological functions is perfectly normal, and how a healthy body tackles the impact of modern living.
Imagine that the infection didn't pass, but actually got more severe via an external factor. Your body is unable to return to a balanced state, and, as a result, other functions that can usually cope without resources short-term begin to suffer. New symptoms develop, and the cycle continues with more and more pressure put on your body.
Supporting your body's natural drive toward homeostasis significantly reduces the impact of situations that can starve your systems of resources. It won't solve all problems (that's when medication, antibiotics, and supplements need to step in), but it gives you a fighting chance, and helps reduce the risk of simple issues like a cold developing into something far, far worse.
If you're doing everything you can to support good health, but still find yourself struggling with nutrition or getting the rest you need, that's when supplements can give you a welcome boost.
It's important to highlight that the intention of supplements is not to replace food or fix health issues. Instead, their purpose is to act as additional or short-term support when life gets a little hectic.
If you already consume a balanced and varied diet rich in whole natural foods, multivitamins are going to have minimal impact—you're already getting the support you need.
Now, take the same multivitamins, but give them to a person who eats a smaller selection of whole foods. Their diet is still healthy, but there may be specific vitamins and nutrients they struggle to get enough of—that's when supplementation becomes crucial.
Regardless of the supplement, it's essential to balance your personal needs with the benefits they offer. Fortunately, there are a handful of supplements that promote general well-being, no matter the need.
One such supplement is CBD, an all-natural compound that can support the body from within, helping to not only maintain balance, but get your body back to that crucial homeostatic state when you need it most.
We've already stressed that no supplement is an adequate replacement for good physical, mental, and social health. Still, CBD does have several unique characteristics that set it apart from traditional supplements.
First, CBD impacts nearly all areas of the body and can exert its balancing influence wherever there's a cannabinoid receptor (and a handful of other receptors). Based on the current research, CBD's impact could extend to the following:
• And much more!
Second, CBD won't get you high, only has a handful of rare and mild side effects, and is well-tolerated in humans according to the World Health Organization. When you combine those attributes with the growing body of evidence supporting CBD's use for general well-being, mental disorders, and several noncommunicable diseases highlighted earlier, the benefit looks significant.
Alongside a balanced and healthy lifestyle, CBD could prove a valuable aid in the quest for a long and happy life. Regardless of your lifestyle or needs, cannabidiol (CBD) works with your body, not against it, to help you feel at your best.