• Larissa Gilroy

Can you bullet-proof your health?

No one sets out to have poor health. In fact, health is something that we often don’t even consider until we experience an illness or if our health interferes with our quality of life.

When people see me in the clinic, they are often perplexed as to how or why they have ended up being diagnosed with a health condition. They might have had no health issues growing up and no family history to give them a clue of what might be coming. But poor health can start with factors that we might not even think to consider. Maybe life has become stressful and you haven’t been eating well. This increased stress might also be interfering with your sleep, or you might be drinking more alcohol during the week to counteract those feelings of anxiety and stress that come from your work or other life commitments. Over time you might also have gained weight and now struggle to lose it or to maintain a healthy weight. All these factors can have detrimental effects on your health that you may not see immediately but can ultimately lead to poor health outcomes.

What can you do about this and how can you unravel all the factors that have led to you where you are now? This is exactly where Naturopathy excels, because it looks at health in such a broad manner and it can help to identify where you need to make changes and give you the support to do so. It’s also individualised. What does this mean? Well, we’re all different and a treatment that may have worked for your friend or your sister might not be so great for you - as a naturopath, it’s my job to work out what is good for you. It’s also shared care in the sense that I will give you the tools to improve your health and wellbeing, but it’s ultimately up to you to make the decision to use them. There is no magic pill to make your symptoms disappear and it will require some changes on your behalf. It’s fairly universally accepted by medicine that the majority of chronic diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular disease and even some cancers are caused by poor diet, lack of exercise and stress. Mainstream medicine often doesn’t have any answers beyond medications or surgery to manage symptoms and these often lead to poor outcomes and reduced quality of life.

So while you don’t want to be constantly worrying about your health, it is important to understand that factors like your diet, lifestyle and your environment will have a tangible effect on your physical and mental health. One of the ways that this happens is through epigenetics, the way our genes behave under certain external influences such as chronic stress or air pollution. Acting in a proactive way can not only improve your current health but it may also protect you from future poor health and the benefits of this are many, from improved quality of life to financial savings on medical treatments. Ultimately there is no silver bullet for health and there are many influences

that are out of our control, but ensuring we make healthy choices in the areas we can control can make a positive difference.

If you know that your current diet and lifestyle are not supporting your long term health or you’re starting to notice signs that your body is out of balance (such as digestive complaints, trouble sleeping, anxiety or irritability, problems with your period or any symptoms that you can’t resolve), it could be time to take a holistic view of your health and make some positive changes. It might surprise you that making one change can actually trigger others. The important thing is that you start.

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