What is good health?
“You can have all the riches and success in the world, but if you don’t have your health, you have nothing,” goes a popular saying. And it’s true. No amount of money can buy good health. But what is “good health,” exactly?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Sounds good, but what does that mean?
Most of us would probably agree that health includes:
- Maintaining good energy levels during work and play
- Feeling well rested after a good night’s sleep
- Interacting positively with family and friends on a regular basis
- Managing chronic medical conditions effectively
- Having an optimistic outlook and good quality of life
Some people choose to eat a specific way for health-related reasons. For instance, people with diabetes may follow a low-carb lifestyle because it helps keep their blood sugar in a healthy range and may reduce their risk for complications.
However, many of us make food choices based on our desire to lose weight. We use “health” as the rationale for focusing on weight loss, when — if we were honest with ourselves — sometimes weight loss is more about looking a certain way than feeling healthy.
A key piece of the good health puzzle is having a healthy relationship with food. This often has less to do with what you eat than how you think about food.
Having a good relationship with food means different things to different people. But at least one part of everyone’s interactions with food should include recognizing that food must nourish us. Focusing on how food choices affect weight can interfere with that.
As long as our heads remain firmly attached to our bodies, a healthy body and a healthy mind are really the same thing. Stressful interactions with food can damage our health as much as eating foods we know will make us feel lousy.