5 Natural Ways to Know You’re Healthy

5 Natural Ways to Know You’re Healthy

This story is part of Health by NumbersCNET’s deep dive into how we quantify health.

The line between our bodies and the plethora of health data we extract from ourselves is becoming increasingly blurred. With the availability of applications that track our menstrual cycles and clocks that can tell how stressed we are, there is pressure to stay on top of any incremental changes in our health metrics. If we don’t, how can we know if we are healthy?

While tracking such metrics can be useful, and even fun, they are generally not necessary for our health (unless your doctor has given you specific instructions, of course). In fact, if you stay in tune with your body, you’ll be able to gauge your well-being through a few key patterns.

Here are some health clues.

Two ladies laughing and having a good time outdoors.

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you are ‘regular’

This applies to both bowel movements and menstrual cycles (for people who have one). Like the non-existent hands on our smart watches, our bodies like to keep up.

Having at least one bowel movement a day is a good sign that your digestive system is working properly, and anywhere in three a week to three a day is considered normal. Regular bowel movements can also be signs of healthy living. gut microbiome. Some researchers believe that we are only starting to scratch the surface to understand how connected that microbiome is to our other body systems. (Bonus points if you usually go at the same time every day.)

On the other hand, painful or infrequent bowel movements can be signs of constipation, which can indicate a lack of some key nutrients your body needs to move, like fiber or water. In some cases, simple adjustments to your diet it could help your body find its rhythm. You may also find that adding more physical activity to your routine can positively affect your bowel movements. If you check all of those boxes, a health condition like irritable bowel syndrome may be at play, which should prompt you to pay a visit to the doctor to find the root cause.

Another pattern: Regular menstrual cycles (occurring every month between 24 and 35 days) are not just a sign of reproductive health and ovulationbut they are also a sign that your hormones are balanced. hormonal imbalances it can be caused by stress (which has myriad effects on well-being), over-exercise, or illness, such as thyroid disease. For people who menstruate, the monthly cycle can be one of the first things to go off course when there’s a break in the carefully orchestrated hormonal dance.

Missing periods in people who don’t have them could be a sign that you’re not eating enough. Your body needs enough calories and nutrients to have a healthy menstrual cycle, and people who are underweight or have an eating disorder may temporarily miss your period.

Note: while you drink hormonal birth control pills or have a hormonal IUD, your body doesn’t follow a “normal” ovulation pattern, which means your menstrual cycle depends on a different hormonal balance and a missed or late period may not be a big deal, health-wise. (This is especially true for IUDs that stop your periods, or if you choose skip your week of inactive or placebo pills in your birth control packet). Still, a missed period could mean pregnancy, so get checked out if you’re worried.

Most days, you wake up feeling well rested

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep for optimal health. And while there is no shortage of reasons why many people fall asleep late, or even chronically sleep deprivedlack of sleep contributes to a variety of social and health problemsincluding hormonal imbalances, mood problems, and even an increased risk of a heart attack.

If you feel lazy, confused, or just plain tired on many days, a fresher feeling can come after a time change or stress reduction. But if you have at least 7 hours and feel like you should be much have more energy than you actually have, it could indicate a more serious health problem, such as sleep apnea or a deficiency of nutrients such as iron. If that’s the case, make an appointment with a health care provider to get to the bottom of it.

read more tips on how to sleep better.

A young man sleeping soundly on his side

When you get enough sleep and wake up most days feeling refreshed, that’s a good sign that your body is getting the rest it needs.

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You don’t have funky breath

Some morning or onion breath is par for the course and your breath may be a little off if you’re dehydrated. But a strange taste or smell in your mouth during the day after you’ve already brushed your teeth could be a sign that something is up.

“Fresh breath is a good indication that your gut health is in balance,” said Dr. David Borenstein of Manhattan Integrative Medicine. the healthy.

“For example, overly fruity-smelling breath can be an indication of diabetes, bad-smelling breath can be associated with reflux, a fishy smell could mean kidney failure, a sour mouth can be a sign of sleep apnea “, said.

Like our gut microbiome, there is evidence to suggest that an alteration in our mouth microbiome can affect our health in more general ways. According to the Mayo Clinic, poor oral health (including cavities or gum infections) could increase your risk of developing heart problems, pregnancy complications, or even pneumonia.

Your urine is pale yellow.

Pale yellow urine is a clear indication that you are circling around a healthy level of hydration, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Drinking enough water is one of the easiest ways to keep your body healthy, as it helps with hydration. important processes like regulating body temperature, preventing infections, and improving cognition (hello, dehydration brain fog). So if you normally urinate a lighter shade of yellow instead of a strong, dark color, you can feel reassured that your body is getting enough water. The amount you need, of course, varies based on many factors, including your activity level.

Read more: How much water do you really need to drink each day?

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You eat a well-balanced diet, but don’t restrict yourself

Believe it or not, eating enough fat is not only good for you, but also essential for your health. And there is a growing number of dieticians and nutritionists who find more health benefits in build plaques around core nutrients, instead of removing or mark any food as “bad.” More restrictive diets, or diets that require you to keep track of the calories of each food you eat, can lead to disordered eating and yo yo diet no lasting health results.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

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