PILLARS OF WELLNESS
We believe the active pursuit of a balance among these pillars provides wellness to the body. Wellness prevents chronic illness by healing old inflammation and stopping the formation of new inflammation.
FOUR PILLARS OF WELLNESS
Wellness is an active pursuit of the balance of the four pillars
Our wellness program is designed to provide thorough and integrated healthcare uniquely for you. Our professionals will perform an extensive review of your medical history, an in-depth evaluation of your teeth and gum health, analyze your blood panels, and may suggest nutritional counseling, supplementation, stress reduction techniques, and sleep hygiene practices.
Our dental professionals know that inflammation in the mouth is a sign of inflammation throughout the body. This inflammation is the source of stress to the body and causes extensive damage. Let’s briefly overview the four pillars of wellness that can help you work towards a healthy state of wellness.
You are what you eat. Literally. When you consume foods, the digestive system breaks those foods down into groups, then chains, then smaller chains, then tiny building blocks which are then absorbed into the blood stream and delivered to various cells to rebuild new cells. We know that giving your body quality, whole foods prevents inflammation.
By filling your diet with a variety of whole foods, you are giving your body the best building blocks it needs to repair itself. This repair is vital for the health of our cells. After following a diet consisting of whole foods, it is beneficial to supplement with foods and spices that pack a powerful antioxidant punch and reduce inflammation.
Below are some food guidelines, but of course, every body’s needs are different. If you’re unsure what foods or ingredients you are sensitive to, it might be beneficial to do an elimination diet for one month such as Whole30, or AIP. After a given amount of time is completed, begin to add individual foods back in and see how your body feels, thinks, and responds.
- Processed, refined sugar
- Trans fats
- Refined carbohydrates
- Excessive alcohol
- Processed meats
- Fruits (especially berries)
- Vegetables (especially green & leafy)
- Fatty fish
- Tumeric & ginger
Remember, balance is the focus here. These foods specifically focus on inflammation vs. anti-inflammation; however, your body has other needs too. You need to consume a wide variety of foods that are nutrient dense. Here are some general, easy rules to follow:
- Eat the rainbow: eat as many different colors of fruits and veggies as possible.
- Eat locally in season for the highest density of various produce.
- Read every label. Ideally, however, try to consume foods that do not have a label.
- Aim for half of each meal to be vegetables.
- Typically, the perimeter of the grocery store has the cleanest and most nutrient dense food items.
Vegetables (fresh, frozen or canned)
There is little variation on the nutritional value between frozen, fresh or canned vegetables. If using the canned variety, read the label to make sure there aren’t additives such as sugar or corn syrups. Eat vegetables the way your budget allows, but most importantly, eat vegetables the way you enjoy them!
Let’s go back to high school chemistry. Remember oxidation reactions? Oxidation is when an atom loses an electron. Doesn’t mean much, I know, so let’s try a more practical example. You know when you slice an apple, and it turns brown? When the air hits the apple, oxidation occurs and causes the browning; however, if you coat the apples with lemon juice, the rate of oxidation slows down and the apples do not brown as quickly.
In a human cell, oxidation can damage DNA and other proteins and cause cellular death (the browning of the apple). When cellular death occurs, we get an inflammatory response. To prevent oxidation, we can fill our diets with antioxidants (lemon juice that slows down the browning apple), which removes the free radicals in the body and reduces the rate of oxidation. A few powerful natural antioxidants easily found are green tea, turmeric, dark chocolate and cocoa.
Sleep hygiene is the term used to describe healthy sleep habits. Sleep is a crucial part of balance because without sleep, the body carries excess stress and cannot properly restore itself. Sleep deprivation impairs learning, memory and function. If you are having trouble sleeping, or do not feel rested when you wake up, it is wise to be evaluated for a sleep condition by a medical doctor.
Sleep apnea is when breathing is interrupted while asleep. It can be very dangerous. Our professionals will assess all patients for intra-oral signs of sleep apnea and potentially refer patients for a sleep study.
Good Sleep Habits
- Regularity: try to go to sleep at the same time each day and wake up at the same time every morning. This promotes habit forming traits that allow your body to prep for a strong rest cycle.
- Avoid Caffeine and Nicotine: try to avoid these products 4-6 hours prior to your routine bed time. These substances wake your body up and interfere with sleep.
- Avoid Alcohol: alcohol is very damaging to sleep cycles. The theory of a “night cap” has mostly been debunked, and while a glass of wine might feel like it makes you sleepy, the quality of sleep is much less than quality. Alcohol prevents the flow between active sleep and reparative sleep.
- Naps: it is best to avoid naps; however, if you are unable to get through the day without one, try to let them be under an hour and before 3 PM. If you’re experiencing energy crashes mid-day, it might be a flag to monitor your sugar and caffeine consumption.
- Creating Rituals: this might be beneficial to you to signal a “wind down” time for your body to get prepared for rest mode.
- Exercise: regular exercise is an excellent tool to aid in better sleep habits. Avoid strenuous workouts 4 hours prior to bedtime if possible.
- Diet: eating a whole foods based diet will aid in your healthy sleep practices.
The benefits of exercise seem to be endless. Exercise improves the function of circulating oxygen, helps detox the cells, reduces insulin levels, strengthens bones, and fights off depression just as a start. Find an active activity that you love–hiking, running, biking, yoga, body building, dancing, anything and incorporate it into your exercise routine. It’ll be the bright spot in your regiment. Here are some tips and guidelines to reap the benefits of regular exercise.
We all have stress in our worlds. Whether it’s financial, relational, emotional or physical, we should all find ways that manage our stressors effectively. This will look different for every person but we know that reducing stress, reduces inflammation on the body. When the body is exposed to prolong periods of cortisol, the stress hormone, it wreaks havoc on our cardiovascular, nervous and immune systems. We see higher rates of heart attacks, strokes, anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure in patients who do not make an active effort in reducing their stress levels. Here are some stress reduction techniques that you can begin incorporating during your active pursuit of wellness:
- Meditation: you can easily develop the skill of meditation by using apps like Headspace or a guided meditation through YouTube. When you strengthen this skill, you may notice your fuse will be much longer and have a more mindful view of the world which will reduce your stress levels.
- Exercise: if you struggle with a shorter temper, try going for a walk or run and see how your mood changes.
- Journal: writing down thoughts and emotions helps to cleanse the brain of overwhelming emotions. Journaling allows you to process through and work out emotions so they do not build up.
- Breathe: Deep breaths, in through the nose and out of the mouth. This will help center and ground you.