Importance of life style on long-term health
There is a popular quote by Buddha: “Every human being is the author of his own health. To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.
Research strongly suggests that our long-term health is linked to a large extent by our lifestyle i.e. the way we look after our mind and body. Certain conditions such as diabetes, obesity and heart diseases occur as a result of several factors such as genetics, diet, exercise, environment and behaviour. As a specialist in women’s health I have noticed that the effects of some conditions affecting women’s health, such PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), can be modified by diet and exercise.
Lifestyle medicine is an emerging concept in medicine, which focuses on prevention of non-communicable diseases by introducing changes in our lifestyle. These include modifying our diet, physical activity, avoiding harmful substances such as smoking/alcohol, having healthy relationships and reducing stress.
Let’s take the example of diet and nutrition. There is emerging evidence to suggest that a healthy plant based diet is associated with an improvement of Health-related quality of life (HRQoL index)3 . This could be related to certain anti-inflammatory properties and increased nutritional value in the plant based diet due to the presence of vitamins, fibres and micronutrients such as iron.
Initiatives such as ‘Plant Me’ are a great way forward to promote a healthy lifestyle in the society. It not only allows customers to be in control of their nutrition by being able to ensure the quality of the vegetables in their diet but also provides an opportunity for all age groups in the family to be in involved in physical activity, thereby promoting a sense of togetherness and well being. Children can be taught the value of nutrition at an early stage, while elderly members can keep themselves busy or active in the comfort of their homes, which is even more relevant in the current global pandemic.
By making small but consistent changes in our lifestyle we can start to improve our health and wellbeing. However, determination and consistency is the key!
1. Lifestyle medicine: a new medical specialty? Sayburn A. BMJ 2018; 363:k 4442
3. Changes in plant-based diet quality and health-related quality of life in women. Megu Y.Baden et al. Br J Nutr. 2020 November 14; 124(9): 960–970
No financial benefits to declare. Views are my own and does not represent views of any organisations that I work for.
Author: Dr. Manju Nair, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist
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