10 Ways to Invest in Your Health
It has been amazing to witness people all over the world in the past few weeks quickly adjust to new ways of living, working, and creating new routines to keep healthy. With these changes, we’re also given an opportunity to invest in ongoing wellness for ourselves and our families and create new healthy habits together. Over the next few weeks, Viome will be providing tips on eating the right superfoods for you in affordable, more convenient ways, and how to support your gut microbiome to improve your overall wellness.
We will also call on our passionate Viome community to share what they have learned about their health, recipes they have created using their Superfoods, and the results they are experiencing. Our mission is to enable people to take back control over their health, and ultimately prevent and reverse illness. We believe the key to this starts with understanding your unique body and gut microbiome. We hope this article, the links below, and upcoming tips help you on your journey!
1. Viome gives you a guide to your gut
Your gut microbiome needs you to feed it specific foods that give it the fuel to work optimally. An optimal microbiome can help boost health, wellness, immunity, and longevity in very real and noticeable ways. Getting precise food and nutrition recommendations (such as our Gut Intelligence™ Test results can give you) enables you to keep digestion smooth, sleep sound, and assists your gut microbiome to become more balanced to help boost immunity.
Viome provides many free resources for you to learn more about your microbiome. Visit the Viome blog and the Viome science page where you can also download our free eBook at the bottom of the screen and learn more about your gut microbiome.
2. Your immunity is now a priority
Now more than ever, it’s essential to know what specific nutrients your body and gut microbiome needs to sustain ongoing immunity. How do you know if what you’re eating will help stimulate the production of healthy nutrients that your body needs, or hinder your gut microbiome by producing toxins that may cause inflammation? Knowing what foods you should eat more of, as well as which foods you need to stay away from can help reinforce the richness and diversity of your microbiome. This supports your microbes and your gut lining, which is critical to immunity, to be more capable and stable in immune response, ready to eagerly fight off sickness and infection. Read more on the gut microbiome in this article on microbiome diversity and richness.
Learn more about the connection between your gut and immunity on our Immunity page, and articles on our blog.
3. Avoid expensive and fad diets and supplements that don’t work
We’ve all experienced the hope and anticipation of trying the latest diet (think keto, low calorie, low fat, cabbage soup, etc.) and despite sometimes getting good initial results, it just didn’t work out. But—here’s the secret; you haven’t failed with fad diets. Diets have failed you ( and your wallet).
Fad diets rarely work because the usually generalized information doesn't take into account your unique microbiome (what you eat day-to-day, where you live, who you surround yourself with, your personal health history, what you've eaten your entire life up until now, etc.). In addition, fad diets can be exceedingly expensive, from the endless books, fees for coaches and apps, expensive fake shakes, custom-prepared meals, and supplements you may not need.
Ultimately you need to find a diet that works for your unique microbiome. It should be personalized with specific foods to eat more of, as well as avoid. It should also have only the supplement recommendations that will support your microbiome. Your eating plan should enable you to maintain a sensible, healthy diet; easily sustainable for healthy (and more affordable) living.
For more tips on spotting a fad diet see our blog.
4. Wellness, sleep, and your microbiome
One of the most important commodities for good health and wellness is sleep. You hear it from nearly every health report online, in magazines, or on the news. Although making sure you stick to a healthy sleep schedule and aim for 8 hours every day is more than just your typical health "craze," there is much more to managing your night-time routine. Just as you can influence your waking routine, scientists have determined poor night-time practices, as well as a poor diet, can change your gut flora and put you at risk of insomnia.
Find out more about how your microbiome impacts sleep.
5. Use your Viome recommendations to build a superfood pantry and freezer that lasts
Your gut needs you—now, more than ever! Your health is a priority investment, so eat what your body needs. You may be currently eating more staple foods like pasta or canned goods, which seem to be the main items people are stocking up on. Fresh, whole ingredients are increasingly coming back in stock at stores, however, and used in the right way they can be very affordable. You can help your gut to properly utilize the nutrients found in these foods by remembering to add in your personalized superfoods. Try a few of these tips:
Alternative organic staples - Underused foods like rutabaga, turnips, swiss chard, cinnamon, and turmeric which may be superfoods for you are often relatively inexpensive.
Shopping strategy - In some cases, shopping for fresh organics at different stores (specialty and discount supermarkets like Aldi, Lidl and Trader Joe’s) can help you be more economical while finding those personal superfoods you want to stock up on.
Remember to read the label - Make sure there are no hidden ingredients from your avoid list, or our ‘common foods to avoid’ and stay away from highly processed foods with artificial ingredients, high sugar levels or unhealthy fats.
Add a fresh superfood into already made foods - Using healthy canned (stick to BPA free) or prepared foods can be just fine, if punched up by adding a fresh superfood from your personalized list like quinoa, leafy greens, or fresh herbs.
Don’t ignore the freezer aisle - Freezing is one of the best ways to preserve nutrition. Frozen veggies and fruits are typically picked at their peak of freshness and retain their vitamins and minerals over time. Using frozen food can also reduce food waste both in the supply chain and in your pantry—30 to 40% of all fresh food produced is thrown away. Stocking up on healthy frozen superfoods can help you save money and eat well at the same time.
Make simple superfood soups - Making your own soup is easier than you might think, is very affordable, and also allows you to monitor the amount of salt used (canned soups are notoriously high in sodium). Simply start with a superfood veggie (or two), cook it with complementary herbs, add in a healthy broth (vegetable, meat, or bone broth depending on your preference) and blend until smooth. Soups can last 3-4 days in the fridge or longer if frozen.
6. Healthy recipes and meal planning: The Viome Community Challenge
Now that many of us are spending more time at home, and eating more meals at home, it’s a great chance to try eating more healthy, whole foods. Cooking from scratch can be a more efficient way to get the exact nutrients you need. Plus, making healthy meals at home is comparatively less expensive versus eating out, especially when you use versatile meal prepping methods.
But, it is not always easy to know which foods are right for you. Viome helps you understand which foods are nutritionally best for you, categorizing your personalized superfoods, and avoid or minimize foods for your unique gut microbiome. This takes the guesswork out of healthy eating. Our Gut Intelligence Test has over 100,000 users, and an increasing number of them are contributing to recipe ideas, especially for superfoods they may have only just heard about, or never thought of eating before. The Viome Community and the Viome-Inspired Recipe Group are two great places to start. Keep a lookout for our upcoming Recipe Challenge and submit your own superfood recipes to the community!
7. Healthy grocery shopping habits
A trip to the grocery store can be stressful at the best of times, but now it is even more of a challenge. It’s important to remain focused to reduce stress levels and bring home what you want, and nothing you don’t need. There are new questions to factor in: What might or might not be available? What is affordable? How can you be sure to not waste money on anything that won’t provide the best nutrition? How can you know what you stock your kitchen with will nourish, sustain and help strengthen your gut microbiome and support your immunity? Some simple tips include planning ahead with a list, having ‘substitutions’ to swap out, and of course, try not to go shopping when you’re hungry. For Viome users, the Viome app is a handy reference point to take into the store to remind you of foods to avoid, and your superfoods in order to get the best bang for your nutritional buck.
Now is a great time to support local farms and farmers who may be struggling through this crisis, and many are offering delivery or pickup with a contactless drop of fruit and veggies directly into your trunk - find them at localharvest.com, Eat Wild or USDA directories.
8. Fitness habits you can adopt at home
When it comes to athletes, their gut bacteria plays an even more significant role in how well they perform and how quickly they recover. Gut microbes are responsible for how our bodies break down carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and regulate the body’s energy. These microbes influence the body’s inflammatory response, stress resilience, neurological function, and even impact mental strength—all of which are important to athletic performance. We will be sharing resources from our fitness ambassadors on how you can stay fit and healthy at home during this month, but as a starting point you can find out more about the connections between the microbiome and fitness on our blog.
9. Investing now to save later on increasing healthcare costs
Viewing your personal health as an investment may not be an activity that pays back in immediate dividends, but it will certainly pay off in the future, as well as open doors to new health and wellness journeys.
Technological advances have made it easier to access health information and created new avenues and platforms for a more balanced, well-rounded life. U.S. healthcare data shows that investments in health early in life contribute to consistently healthier lifestyle choices later on. Investing in your own health is an investment in the health of your community and family. Find out more about the truth on healthcare costs on the Viome blog.
10. High-priced beauty products vs. beauty from the inside out
What does food have to do with skincare, beauty care or healthy aging? Everything!
People will desperately spend thousands of dollars to overcome acne, find that magic bottle of anti-aging serum, and cure chronic skin conditions. Those who use these products spend on average $57 per month. The anti-aging market alone is estimated to grow to $330 billion dollars globally by 2021.
Instead of having to focus on applying chemicals to the skin, there is now rising evidence that the foods you eat can affect overall inflammation and resulting skin conditions. Read more in our blog articles on healthy skin and dermatology.
Our Viome testimonials show many instances of people who found that switching to the right foods for their microbiome helped in clearing up skin complaints. You can find some of these on the Viome YouTube channel, as well as the Viome My Story page.
Across the next few weeks, we will be sharing more ways to #investinyourhealth, the science behind your microbiome, and taking care of your body in these new circumstances. If there is anything you would like us to focus on or if you have your own tips to share with the community please comment below or on our Facebook or Linkedin pages and we will try to incorporate the suggestions!