People frequently want to know what they can do to optimize their health. What diet should you follow? Which vitamins? What kind of exercise? In the next several blogs I will present my opinions based on clinical practice, common sense, and the literature.
The first point to make is to remind you of evolution over 3.3 million years. Evolution normally is a gradual process. Inadequate adaptations to the environment die off in one generation, and new adaptations thrive over the next few generations. For a very long time, human life was based on simple hunting and gathering, daily and seasonal cycles, limited population, and constant struggles with infectious diseases. Gradually agriculture developed, as did living in towns and eventually cities; this occurred in about the last 10,000 years (maybe even as much as 25,000).
Now, in about the last 150+ years – just five or so generations – life has changed radically on every level. We no longer live directly off the land but indirectly through genetic modification (even before modern DNA GMO practices), harvesting, trucking, preserving, and shelf storage in stores. Electricity has altered sleep cycles drastically. Automobiles, TVs, and digital screens have reduced natural exercise. Population density leads to greater risk of major epidemics, while old infectious diseases were conquered by antibiotics. Medical suppression and lifestyle changes have aggravated rates of heart disease and cancer and old-age diseases.
All these represent drastic departures from our genomically governed processes that evolved over such a long time. This much deviation inevitability takes huge tolls on health.
As a generalization, my opinions based on clinical experience are as follows:
- Adequate sleep represents about 50% of health
- Exercise represents 30% or so
- Diet represents about 10%
I will discuss these one by one in the next blogs.
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