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The six secrets for a long and fulfilling life (you will not find them in the pharmacy)

diseases conditions and symptoms

We live in very dynamic and challenging times that bring both benefits and some negatives for us and our health. A quick online search shows that as of 2015, over 95% of the world's population had health problems, with over a third of them having more than five diseases. Either way, there is no one who wants to be sick, so it is important to realize that our health is entirely in our hands and there are many things that can support it in a good direction.

What researchers say about the recommendations

The potential clinical impact of applying medical practices in lifestyle to the leading causes of the disease begins with the understanding of their biological impact, especially on common, inflammation-mediated pathways leading to multiorganic and systemic disease. The health effects of diet, sedentary lifestyle, chronic stress, medications and other aspects of lifestyle (sleep, drug use, negative emotions and attitudes) are mediated through common subcellular, epigenetic and other mechanisms. This in turn can cause bacterial dysbiosis - a condition in which the gastrointestinal flora is disrupted), and there is cell damage often in the form of oxidative stress [ref. 1] 

These biological pathways often end with the inflammatory response, which then forms a circle that causes more cellular stress, dysbiosis and related epigenetic changes. If these processes continue for a long period of time, we can already talk about a self-sustaining condition of chronic inflammation

Chronic systemic inflammation is an early precursor to the scourge of our time - heart disease, type 1 and 2 diabetes and depression, other endocrine, autoimmune, rheumatological and neurological diseases.

Some things like genetic damage and mutations are not controlled by us. But many of the other factors that lead to the development of these health problems are subject to control and change. 

The six secrets to a long and fulfilling life

Whole plant-based food

Diets high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and fewer animal products and highly processed foods are associated with the prevention of many diseases. Such a diet, for example, is the Mediterranean diet. This diet is of an anti-inflammatory nature and can be used as a means of prevention of the most common cardiovascular, metabolic, cerebral, hormonal, kidney and autoimmune diseases, as well as 35% of all cancers.

Regular physical activity

For decades, sports guidelines consisted of daily moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity. This type of physical activities provide mental and physiological health benefits, including improved detoxification, anti-ageing effect, weight control, cholesterol control, blood pressure, maintaining cognitive function and more.

Regular restorative sleep

Sleep helps cells, organs and the whole body function better, detoxify and regenerate. Regular continuous sleep from seven hours a night for adults, eight to 10 hours for teens and 10 or more for children is needed for good health, support for immune function, reduction of inflammation and more benefits.

Stress management and discharge

Although to some extent stress is useful for our body, prolonged stress can overload the brain and body and trigger autoimmune processes. Chronic stress increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, intestinal function disorders, obesity, depression, asthma, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurological diseases and cancer.

Stress management actually means freeing ourselves from it, clarifying what is causing it, how we can accept it and transform it through breathing techniques, spiritual activities such as yoga, meditation or by practicing drawing, sports, dancing and other activities.

Limitation of dependencies of a different nature

Many factors justify the increase in opioid substance abuse, but there is also a new modern addiction that we have not encountered before, namely dependence on screens. More efforts need to be made to understand the factors that predispose to these addictions in order to try to prevent them and to have adequate care for people who have already developed such addictions, including appropriate therapies and integrated care.

Positive psychology and social interaction

If we understand and appreciate everything we have achieved in life and everything we can enjoy, if we are grateful for this,  it has a significant impact on psychological health. Every person, apart from meeting basic needs, seeks self-affirmation, respect and security that they can build with the help of others and give back the same. Take, for example, the Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs - there is no way to go further up the next staircase if you have not satisfied the basic needs of lower levels. 

It has been scientifically proven that social connectivity, namely the quantity and quality of our relationships, has perhaps the most powerful health benefits. Although in months of social isolation, work from home and limited social contacts, we should try to maintain our contacts and friendships, because they keep us alive, connected and firmly on the ground. People who live alone, have a limited range of contacts and participate in few social activities, are at higher risk of increased morbidity, weaker immune system function, depression and cognitive decline. [ [ref. 2] ]

  1. What researchers say about the recommendations

    • The six secrets to a long and fulfilling life
      • Whole plant-based food
      • Regular physical activity
      • Regular restorative sleep
      • Stress management and discharge
      • Limitation of dependencies of a different nature
      • Positive psychology and social interaction


    There are many different things to help us live better, starting with healthy eating, sports and more conscious life. Managing stress and bad habits are also techniques that can make life easier and enjoyable. Last but not least, the relationships we build with other people are important - we all want others to be kind to us, but first we have to be kind to them. Social relationships have been shown to be crucial for a happy life.


    1. Prioritized Research for the Prevention, Treatment, and Reversal of Chronic Disease: Recommendations From the Lifestyle Medicine Research Summit
    2. The American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) from the American Public Health Association (APHA) publications

    The author

    Bettina Tsvetkova is a Bachelor of Marketing and Master of Entrepreneurship, a fan of healthy eating, power sports and cycling. Author of over 1500 scientifically based articles, product texts and promotional materials on a healthy topic for Bulgarian and foreign websites. 


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