5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Can Dramatically Improve Your Wellbeing
by DK Kara MD on Aug 16, 2021
KaraMD and Dr. M. Kara M.D. were recently featured in Authority Magazine as part Candice Georgiadis's series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”.
Dr. Kara has 30+ years of experience with patients. After spending the early part of his career treating patients at The Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Kara spent the last several years focusing his work on functional medicine and natural remedies to help people live healthier lives.
In 2018 he created KaraMD, a line of supplements focused on digestive support, heart health and reducing inflammation as the gateway to overall health.
Dr. Kara is considered an authority in the world of fitness and wellness, and more so in wellness because of his background. He was trained with a conventional medical training and internal medicine at one of the largest, most renowned and probably best hospitals in the world: Cleveland Clinic Foundation. He spent a lot of time learning from my patients regarding how they were using diet, exercise and stress reduction.
His medical degree gives the best of medicine, in particular when it comes to testing, which regardless of how you look at conventional medicine, testing does really help you get to the root cause of the problem in many cases.
But he also has the desire to use more unconventional methods in particular such as lifestyle change, dietary changes, exercise, and stress reduction, which a lot of practitioners don’t do. He also considers himself fairly well-versed in certain botanicals and what impact that can have on our health. One of the main reasons he started KaraMD was because I really wanted to do it right.
Why Is Good Health So Important?
Putting a healthy lifestyle into practice is difficult for many reasons, and there are three big reasons. The first one is stress reduction. We don’t operate well under stress, it’s hard to adopt new routines under stress and basically, like I always say to my patients, we just weren’t built for the 21st century, whether it be mentally or physically.
The second would probably be industry, whether it be the food industry, agriculture and the way foods are cultivated. All of the above create nutrient deficient foods in conventional supermarkets that make it difficult to get really nutrient dense ingredients alongside the kind of vitamins and minerals we need to thrive and do well.
The third would be time, or lack thereof. We’re just busy, busy, busy. It’s one of the reasons I say we’re not built for the 21st century, we’re not built to be as busy in finding time, to be healthy, to exercise to take the time to go to the better markets and get the better foods, it takes time takes a lot of time. A lot of us just don’t have that time.
What Are The 5 Pillars of Good Health?
Five non-intuitive lifestyle tweaks that I preach to my patients, and what I call the five pillars of good health. Some of them may seem intuitive, but I’ll try to explain why they’re perhaps not the first one. When I talk to people, I always say I would actually put it as one, two, and three and that’s diet and nutrition.
Now that may seem to be intuitive: you eat better, you’re going to be healthier. The reason it’s not is as I outlined earlier are there are so many reasons that can get in the way.
As an example, I’m going to use oranges and the vitamin C content of an orange. It’s believed and there’s decent evidence to show that an orange 50 years ago or 40 years ago — when cultivation methods were more natural, ground was cycled pesticides, herbicides were not used — that that orange probably had in the vicinity of 250 to 300 milligrams of vitamin C per orange.
An organically grown orange, moderately for today, is believed to have somewhere in the vicinity of 150 milligrams. So even organically grown oranges are not quite where they were though they can reach 200 milligrams, which is not bad. Non- organic, more conventional oranges, i.e. the stuff you get off the normal grocery shelf, is no more than 50 to 60 milligrams.
The non-intuitive part of eating healthy is that a lot of people think that they are eating healthy. Unfortunately, they’re not because they’re buying nutrient poor foods. So, what’s the tweak for that? People have to do their best to go to places like farmers markets where things are growing more naturally. Certainly, buy organically wherever possible, and if you can’t get certified organic, try to avoid products that have been grown with herbicides or pesticides.
The second would be stress reduction. Again this seems intuitive. Reduce stress and you will do a lot better. It’s relatively obvious, but I think that is what is not intuitive is that it’s more important than exercise and some of the other pillars. It is extremely important and second only to nutrition and what food are you putting in your body. Another non-intuitive part of this is actually quite simple. Going into a period of quiet and silence five times, once or twice a day, whether it be at your desk or in the morning before you go to work or in the evening when you settle down.
Just having a five to 10 minutes of quiet solitude without interference from the outside world can go a long way towards stress reduction. Of course, we have other methods. Yoga is a great method for stress reduction. Exercise can actually be a method for stress reduction. So those are those are what I would put as number two to achieve stress reduction.
The third is exercise, which is relatively obvious but what’s non-intuitive is that it doesn’t have to be for or a long time. People think that no pain, no gain. Honestly a 30-minute brisk walk five times per week can go a long way towards making a difference. The benefits of exercise, and there are multiple benefits, is stress reduction. The second is cardiovascular benefit because it’s good for the heart and getting the heart moving. As a muscle, getting the heart to pump more rapidly, for any period of time several times a week is good.
Exercise is also great for bone health. It’s been shown that exercise can reduce osteoporosis. This is a big deal, especially in the more elderly. And of course, muscles themselves. I always say a body at rest stays at rest, a body in motion stays in motion. So, exercise I would easily put it as number three in terms of a pillar.
Fourth, and people always find it interesting, is to optimize your hormones. This is a mix of conventional and nonconventional medicine. It’s perhaps not as intuitive, because people don’t look at that and think it’s important. In fact, a lot of the conventional medical industry does not pay attention to optimizing hormones, but a part of the aging process occurs when our hormones start to decline. We are living longer and what I always tell my patients is, if you your hormones start to drop at 40 and your life expectancy is 70. By the time they really drop, you’ve got maybe 10 more years.
But if your hormones start to decline at 35, or 40, and you live into your 90s, which many, many, many people are, well, now you’re looking at a 20-to-30-year period with very low hormones. That’s not very good physically or mentally for that matter. The aging process starts to really, really set in and that’s why I put optimizing hormones at number four.
Number five is disease mitigation. What I mean by disease mitigation is that if your cholesterol is high, bring it down. If you have to use a medication to bring your cholesterol down, it is the lesser of two evils. If your blood sugars are high, bring it down. Of course, diet and exercise are a great way of reducing blood sugar, but if you have to use a medication, use a medication bring the numbers down. Same with blood pressure to prevent hypertension.
If your numbers are high and through conventional medicine, eating less salt, exercise, stress reduction, etc. and you can’t bring those numbers down, then use medications again. I don’t like medications but sometimes they are the lesser of two evils. The one evil being the disease process, the other evil being the medication itself.
What Can You Do?
Beyond making these lifestyle tweaks, you can join the KaraMD community.
We have a Facebook page, an Instagram account and a YouTube channel. On the KaraMD website there’s also a lot of great information in our blogs that people can use to improve their health and well-being.
References & Disclaimers
✝✝This noted statement is based on independent research and is not necessarily the opinion of the author