Not sure about you, but I honestly can't remember any time in recent memory that's had us asking more questions to do with health than we have these past eight months of 2020.

The real question here is, whether people are asking the right questions when it comes to creating or improving their own personal health. Hopefully you're one of those people because the answer, is yes.

Since Covid numbers first started going up back in the spring, doctors and scientists have been looking at why some people were at greater risk for contracting the virus than others. Over the last six months, experts have pretty much all agreed that people with what's known as, co-morbid conditions, are most at risk. Perhaps you've heard this term on the news, but if not, here's what it means.

According to the CDC's website, co-morbidity simply means, “... more than one disease or condition is present in the same person at the same time. Conditions described as co-morbidities are often chronic or long-term conditions.” Another definition by Brittanica says this, “Co-morbidities tend to increase a person's need for health care and the cost of care, while decreasing the person's ability to function in the world...” Covid or not, co-morbidities are not anyone's first choice to have to deal with. And yet they are rampant in our society and have been for sometime.

Examples of co-morbidities include overweight/obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure/hypertension, cancer, infectious diseases, psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, anxiety disorder, eating disorders.

A study published in the European Respiratory Journal earlier this year concluded that, Among laboratory-confirmed cases of Covid-19, patients with any comorbidity yielded poorer clinical outcomes than those without. A greater number of co-morbidities also correlated with poorer clinical outcomes. A thorough assessment of co-morbidities may help establish risk stratification of patients with Covid-19 upon hospital admission.”

And yet, even with experts agreeing on it, news media reporting on it, and papers being written on it, the questions seem to revolve only around how to effectively keep someone with co-morbid conditions away from anyone or anything that may directly or indirectly come in contact with the virus. And while this is important for compromised individuals when dealing with Covid – or any contagion for that matter - we should also be asking questions like, “Is there anything I can do to reverse/reduce ______” (insert condition) or “What's the best way to strengthen my immune system?”

According to the above-mentioned paper, people who contracted Covid-19 who also had high blood pressure/hypertension or diabetes yielded the poorest outcomes. The good news is, these two co-morbidities are lifestyle diseases. Lifestyle diseases are just that, the result of the lifestyle a person has chosen to live. Food, drink, exercise (or not), stress, etc., all contribute. And making changes in those areas can go a long way to reversing/reducing these conditions and improving immune function in the process.

Some countries have even decided to take action in an effort to get a handle on some of these co-morbid conditions. Mexico is one of them. The Washington Post published a story back in August showing several Mexican states banning junk food sales to children. As with the sale of cigarettes and alcohol, kids 18 and under are now prohibited from also purchasing highly processed, high sugar-content foods. A wise move considering these food-like substances are devoid of any real nutrition, loaded with empty calories, cause massive blood sugar and insulin spikes, subsequent visceral (belly) fat storage, and result in, among other things, diabetes and high blood pressure. And yes, even among children. Mexican government officials are looking at the pandemic as a chance to change public health policies and come out the other side with a plan to restore health. I like it.

To answer what can you do to reverse or reduce a lifestyle disease and/or strengthen your immune system, start with thinking like Mexico. Replacing the “white” in your life (sugar, starches, soda, juice, processed items, fast food) with whole foods (brightly coloured fruits and veggies, healthy fats, lean meats and lots of water) adds vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients to bolster immune function, fibre for digestion and elimination to help flush out toxins, and when eaten in smaller portions throughout the day stabilizes blood sugar, allowing the body to release stored fat and effectively reducing blood pressure and reversing diabetes.

So although we may not be able to do much about the Covid numbers, we can absolutely take an active role in improving our own personal health. Try it. What have you got to lose except a few extra pounds and the complications that go with it?

Looking to connect with people working on creating healthy habits? Join the 8 Weeks is All it Takes group on Facebook

 

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