Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tuesday's Topics- Healing from the inside Out

I will start with this disclaimer: I am not responsible for typos this morning, especially with y's, m's, u's, i's and n's! I'm working with a big bandage...but I just can't stand another day without some serious blogging!

Healing from the inside out

Speaking of bandages, let's talk about healing today.  It occurred to me that this healthy lifestyle is worth more than just blogging rights...that there should be, and is, a reason I have made these choices for my life- eating a plant based diet of whole foods and exercising regularly.  I am constantly asked why.  Why do I eat the way I do? Why do I run so much?  So lately, I have been inclined to consider the motivation behind my decisions.

One thing came up time and time again this month (unfortunately)...healing.  Wound healing to be exact.  I've heard many arguments about how a plant based, whole foods diet can help reverse the affects of disease (diabetes, heart disease) but it never occurred to me that a healthy lifestyle can also aid in wound healing.  Until I had wounds to heal, that is.  And I was reading last month's Whole Living magazine (formerly Body + Soul) and came across an article about healing.

Healing from a cut is a complex system.  It takes many parts to heal just one.  The clotting system springs to action to stop the bleeding, The circulatory and cardiovascular systems deliver white blood cells to the wound site to fight off bacteria and protect from infection.  Your stress response kicks in to divert resources toward the wound.  All these systems are hard at work in your body and it takes a healthy body to spring to life and react to the injury.  Research has shown that good nutrition can speed healing, and logically this makes sense.  Moderate exercise can also aid in healing- increasing circulation, which brings oxygen and nutrients and flushes out toxins.  

The article also cited a 2005 Ohio State University study that evaluated the effect of marital discord on simple wound healing.  When a couple is hostile toward one another, wound healing slowed.  When a couple was harmonious, wound healing improved.  In couples with higher levels of hostile behavior, healing slowed by 40 percent!  So not only is nutrition and exercise important but so is our attitude and emotions. (Read here about Healthy Emotions) Negative emotions can trigger stress hormones such as cortisol which inhibit the immune system and can slow healing, while positive feelings boost healing through "feel-good neurotransmitters such as dopamine and oxytocin."

Why does this matter? Well if you are like me and have become accident-prone as of late, you will understand the importance of speed-healing! I get so frustrated when I am injured, because it typically means I can't do all the fun things I want to.  It is difficult to type with a finger bandaged.  It is difficult to run with a scraped and bruised knee.

So, do I have a testimonial of my own on how my wounds healed at record-breaking speeds because of my healthy diet and exercise?  Well not really-- but to be fair, there wasn't really a control.  I had no comparison for my healing speeds.  But am I happy with the speed in which my wounds healed? I suppose.  I was up and running just one week after my terrible scooter incident.  And I'm now typing just two days after I sliced off the back of my finger (gruesome, huh?).  I wouldn't try healing without a diet of whole foods, however.  Inside me, I know these claims to be true, even if I don't have my own science experiment to prove it.  I wouldn't try healing these awful injuries any other way.  And to me, that is all the testimony you need.

Do you believe that a whole foods diet and exercise can help speed the recovery of wounds? Or even aid in healing other diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes? How about a positive attitude and harmonious relationships- can that help speed recovery time? Tell me how you feel in the comments.

Information gathered from "Mind Body Healing", Whole Living Magazine, September 2010

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