• Joao B. Costa

Updated: Mar 17, 2019

We are so used to being prescribed medication for our conditions that sometimes we forget about how our lifestyle can change our health and well-being. So why not prescribe Lifestyle Medicine?

This concept is based on the fact that our health is affected by different factors such as nutrition, sleep, exercise or stress. All these factors play a major role in the development of medical conditions but most of the time are ignored. By prescribing a lifestyle change, you can address one or more factors and change it so you can feel better physically or/and mentally.

Our body took millions of year to reach to this point of development but, for the past 30 or 40 years, has been submitted to new stressors that affect the way we live and our health. The food we eat is different, the way we move or work is different, the time we spend with ourselves and others is not the same. There is a very interesting article about how food consumption and patterns have changed over the years, you can check it here. It shows an increase in calories consumed per person, meat consumption and in the use of vegetable oils in general. Today we have more people overweight and obese in the world then underweight or malnourished. This all happened in the past 50 years or so.

What about exercise? There is another article about this subject that you can consult about exercise and chronic disease.(click here) It states that 3 days of physical inactivity can create glucose intolerance and how the reduction of daily steps from 6203 to 1394 for 3 weeks affected plasma insulin during an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) progressively increasing 53%, 61%, and 79% after 1, 2, and 3 weeks, respectively.

These are just 2 factors of your lifestyle we can chance so we can feel better and fitter. If you take a look into your daily routines, which factor do you think is affecting your health the most? How can you change it? Here is some food for thought.

Our body is in constant balance and is up to us to try and maintain it.

Me and Dr Rangan Chatterjee at the Prescribing Lifestyle Medicine Course - 2019

It was a pleasure to finally meet Dr. Chatterjee and learn from him and his experiences.

This just highlights the importance of Medicine on the prevention of disease and promotion of well-being.

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  • Joao B. Costa

A few years ago, I decided to stop (or massively reduced) alcohol intake. I read many articles about alcohol and its effect on the body and mind. I concluded it was a wise decision for me to make. From sleep to blood pressure, alcohol has a major impact on your health.

One of the things I read that had a major impact on my decision was the research about alcohol consumption as a risk factor for certain types of cancer. Alcohol is metabolized in the body to acetaldehyde, which is then converted to acetate. Even though this process is normally quite efficient there is a certain amount of aldehyde that can affect the cells and have a toxic effect, hence the fact it is considered, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, as a Group 1 carcinogen. Alcohol will increase oxidative stress in the liver which can lead to inflammation and consequently liver disease.

Alcohol consumption can also have an effect on our sleep (disrupted sleep), blood pressure and it will increase your calorie intake. 175 ml glass of wine will have generally 160 Kcal while a pint of beer will have around 180 Kcal. for you to burn this out you will have to do, roughly, 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercise.

Being healthy is not just about eating the right foods but also removing the stressors to your body. By doing Dry January you might lose those extra pounds, improve your blood pressure or even improve your sleep.

If you want to learn more about the effects of alcohol on your body visit:

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