Dubai: In the post COVID-19 era every human being is looking for a quick reset button to reboot and start life afresh on the health front.
International holistic health and lifestyle coach, Luke Coutinho who was in Dubai to educate students of the Global Indian International School, Dubai in healthy living at an early age, told Gulf News, the best way to do that was getting back to basics in life.
Integrated health approach
“What we need to do is take the integrated medicine approach which means every good thing, be it sunshine, music, nutrition and so on, that triggers well-being and healing is taken into account. Integrative medicine does not discriminate between medicine, nutrition or homeopathy. Instead, it embraces all forms of medicine and healing, keeping the patient in the center and the patient’s interest in mind,” explained Coutinho.
The inflammation pandemic
In the recent times non- communicable diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cancer and cardio vascular conditions have been manifesting in younger people. Dubbed as lifestyle diseases, they are attributed to chronic inflammation in the body.
Coutinho explained why inflammation was being triggered. “Inflammation is actually a natural immune response from our body to protect us from diseases. When the immune system senses a threat, be it an oncoming cold, cough or fever, it secretes an inflammatory response to repel the enemy. However, in modern times we are causing so much damage with constant invasion of our mental, physical and emotional well-being with sleep deprivation, wrong food choices, high stress, and overt physical workouts and so on that there is accumulated stress. Our immune system then responds to this with chronic inflammation and forgets to switch off the inflammatory response. Being in a constant state of inflammation gives rise to several diseases including cancer “
Good health is about common sense
Every individual can make some basic changes to their lifestyle to re-boot to good health. “we need to align ourselves back to the natural rhythms of life to regain health. A lot of healthy choices such as breathing right, chewing food slowly, rising with the sun, having a good breakfast and lunch but a very light dinner before sunset and getting a good night’s sleep are all inexpensive and easy to adapt choices,” advised Coutinho.
He specifically emphasised on the need for proper sleep when the body is able heal and repair itself. “A sleep-deprived body is your biggest curse when it comes to health and wellness. The chronic deprivation of it can increase your risk of a heart attack or diabetes. Your heart is a muscle that needs recovery. Lack of sleep increases your insulin resistance and makes you more prone to type 2 diabetes and a gamut of metabolic conditions. So, adopt a fixed sleeping schedule and sleep deep.
“You could have access to the best diet and exercise regimens in the world, but if you are sleep-deprived all the time, your body is going to fail you at some point. When we sleep, our body takes time to heal and repair. The very fact that sleep is an inbuilt mechanism in our body establishes the fact that sleep is non-negotiable,” he elaborated.
Tuning the body to circadian rhythms
Getting the body in sync with the natural rhythms is also know as being in harmony with the circadian rhythms. Coutinho attached great importance to this.
“Circadian health is not just about focusing on sleeping well and on time. It is about several other activities we do through the day that affect our health, right from our meal timings, to workout timings, the amount and timing of caffeine intake, our snacking habits, how we spend our start of the day, the amount of time we spend in nature and more.”
Coutinho’s message to UAE residents is to maintain an easy to follow health routine that is designed to succeed. “It should be doable. The key is simplicity. The body is unique and so every day is different and so are its needs. Today, your body might need more carbs and tomorrow maybe less, so one needs to find out what works for them. Listening to your body and cultivating mindfulness is my biggest mantra. If you are mindful, you know what your body exactly needs, and that makes living a healthy life easier,” he concluded.
Top tips for all to restore good health post pandemic
● Wake up with the rising sun.
● Avoid looking at gadgets right after waking up, and use this time to connect within, with nature, soak up natural sunlight and expose yourself to nature in any way possible.
● Avoid eating anything until the sun rises.
● Consume coffee or tea only after three hours of waking up.
● Eat, workout, sleep, and wake up around the same times every day to build a rhythm.
● Consume maximum calories for breakfast, lunch, and minimum for dinner. Let dinner be the leanest meal of the day.
● Eat the last meal of the day before or during sunset and fast through the night (dry or intermittent, based on whatever is comfortable) and only break it the next day after sunset. This automatically results in a 12-hour effortless fast in the most natural way.
● Keep a two to three hour gap between dinner and bedtime.
● Disconnect from blue/artificial light close to bedtime. Such kinds of lights suppress melatonin secretion. This should be done at least 1-2 hours before bedtime, the earlier the better. Plan your day if you want to fit in television or other modes of recreation.
● Meditate — No matter which form of meditation one is doing, they all teach one common thing — connection with inner self, and it is this grounding and connection that plays a role in bettering your emotional health and developing a resilience towards your stressors.
● Physical workout: Physical movement is therapeutic and it doesn’t have to be a workout. Even movement and simple activity works like medicine for the body. Our body is not designed to be as sedentary as we have become no. It is designed to move.
Luke Coutinho at the Global Indian International School in Dubai on 14th October 2021. Photo Clint Egbert/Gulf News