5 natural ways to know you’re healthy

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This story is part Health in numbersCNET’s deep dive into how we quantify health.

The line between our body and the plethora of health data we scrape from ourselves is becoming increasingly blurred. With the availability of apps that follow our menstrual cycles and watches that can tell how stress we are, there is pressure to keep tabs on any gradual changes in our health metrics. If we don’t, how can we know if we are healthy?

While tracking these metrics can be helpful — and even fun — they’re usually not necessary for our health (unless your doctor has given you specific instructions, of course). In fact, if you stay in tune with your body, you can gauge your well-being through certain key patterns.

Here are some health clues.

Two ladies laughing and having fun outside

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You are “regular”

This applies to both bowel movements and menstrual cycles (for people who have one). Much like the non-existent hands on our smartwatches, our bodies like to keep a rhythm.

Having at least one bowel movement a day is a good sign that your digestive system is working properly, and between three a week and three a day is considered normal. Regular bowel movements can also be signs of good health. gut microbiota. Some scholars believe that we are just begins to scratch the surface to understand how connected this microbiome is to our other bodily systems. (Bonus points if you normally drop by at the same time each day.)

On the other hand, painful or infrequent bowel movements can be signs of constipation, which can signal a lack of certain essential nutrients your body needs to get things done, like fiber or water. In some cases, simple adjustments to your diet could help your body find its rhythm. You might also find that adding more physical activity to your routine can have a positive effect on your bowel movements. If you tick all of these boxes, a health condition such as irritable bowel syndrome may be at play, which should prompt you to see a doctor to find the root cause.

Another pattern: regular menstrual cycles (occurring every month between 24 and 35 days) are not only a sign of reproductive health and ovulation, but they also indicate that your hormones are balanced. Hormonal imbalances can be the product of stress (which has myriad effects on well-being), excessive exercise, or illness, such as thyroid disease. For menstruating people, the monthly cycle can be one of the first things to get out of hand when there’s a disruption in the carefully orchestrated hormonal dance.

Missed periods in people who don’t have them could be a sign that you’re not eating enough. Your body needs enough calories and nutrients to have a healthy menstrual cycle, and people who are underweight or have an eating disorder may temporarily lose their periods.

To note: While you take hormonal birth control pills or if you have a hormonal IUD, your body does not follow a “normal” ovulation pattern, which means your menstrual cycle depends on a different hormonal balance and missed or late periods may not be a big deal from a health perspective. (This is especially true for IUDs that stop your period, or if you choose to skip your week of inactive or placebo pills in your birth control pack.) concerned.

Most days you wake up well rested

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep for optimal health. And while there’s no shortage of reasons why many people are sleep late, or even chronically sleep deprived, lack of sleep contributes to a variety of social and health problemsincluding hormonal imbalances, mood issues and even an increased risk of heart attack.

If you feel sluggish, foggy, or just plain tired for several days, a cool feeling may occur after a schedule change or stress reduction. But if you get at least 7 hours and think you should be a lot more energetic than you actually are, it could signal a more serious health issue like sleep apnea or a nutrient deficiency like iron. If so, make an appointment with a health care provider to get to the bottom of it.

Read more tips for better sleep.

A young man sleeping deeply on his side

When you close your eyes enough and wake up most of the time feeling rested, it’s a good sign that your body is getting the rest it needs.

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You don’t have great breath

Small morning or onion breath is normal for the course and your breath may be a little off if you are dehydrated. But a weird taste or smell in your mouth during the day after you’ve already brushed your teeth could be a sign that something is wrong.

“Fresh breath is a good indication that your gut health is balanced,” Dr. David Borenstein of Manhattan Integrative Medicine told The Healthy.

“For example, overly fruity breath can be an indication of diabetes, foul breath can be associated with reflux, fishy smell can mean kidney failure, sour mouth can be a sign of sleep apnea,” a he declared.

Like our gut microbiome, there is evidence to suggest that disruption of the microbiome in our mouths can affect our health more generally. According to the Mayo Clinic, poor oral health (including tooth decay or gum infections) could increase your risk of developing heart problems, pregnancy complications, or even pneumonia.

Your urine is pale yellow

According to the Cleveland Clinic, pale yellow urine is a clear indication that you are around a healthy hydration level. Drinking enough water is one of the easiest ways to keep your body healthy, as hydration aids important processes like regulating body temperature, preventing infection, and improving cognition. (hello, dehydration brain fog). So if you normally urinate with a lighter shade of yellow as opposed to a strong dark color, you can find peace that your body is getting enough water. The amount you need, of course, varies depending on many factors, including activity level.

Read more: How much water do you really need to drink each day?


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You have a balanced diet, but you don’t limit yourself

Believe it or not, eating enough fat is not only good for you, but also essential for your health. And there’s a growing number of dietitians and nutritionists who are finding more health benefits in build plates around core nutrients, rather than cutting or refer to foods as “bad”. More restrictive diets, or diets that force you to track the calories of every food you eat, can lead to eating disorders and yo-yo diet no lasting health benefits.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

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