The Seven Pillars of Health


We’ve all heard that a healthy diet, exercise, and stress management are the keys to good health.  Then why is it that many are suffering from poor health? Good health is more than just the absence of disease or infirmity.  It is a matter of function.  One can be unhealthy and not know it because an illness has not been diagnosed yet.   

For the body to function optimally, it needs more than just a healthy diet and exercise.  The seven pillars of optimum health include nutrition, Vitamin D, intermittent fasting, detox, fun, mindset, and sleep.

Health begins on your plate.  Your body cannot function properly if it lacks vitamins and minerals. Nutrition is critically important for maintaining good health because nutrients have an epigenetic effect on your genes. [1]  You may not be able to change the genes you were born with but with proper nutrition, you can change the way your genes behave.  Nutrition can alter DNA expression and impact your overall health and longevity. [2] [3] [4]

Incorporating colorful fruits and vegetables daily into your diet is important if you want your body to function properly.  However, most people do not consume nearly enough to reach their minimum requirements.  Most Americans are deficient in vitamins D, E, A, and C and are lacking in magnesium and calcium. [5] Taking high-quality bio-available supplements will fill in that gap.  

There’s a Greek saying that says:

Where The Sun Does Not Enter, the Doctor Comes.

That’s because, without enough sun exposure, you become vitamin D deficient.  

Vitamin D is the most important vitamin because the Vitamin D Receptor is found in almost all of the cells in the body. [6] Vitamin D helps strengthen bones, regulate the immune system, the neuromuscular system, and helps protect against several forms of cancer and autoimmune disease. This vitamin is so important that your body can create it if there is adequate exposure to sunlight.  The UV light from the sun starts the vitamin D synthesis and the liver and the kidneys play a role in turning the vitamin D into a hormone that the body can utilize.

Only 20 minutes a day of sun exposure (without sunscreen) is enough sunlight to start the Vitamin D synthesis. 

Intermittent fasting is an effective way to prevent insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and a host of other diseases.[7]  Intermittent fasting is a time-restricted pattern of eating in 24 hours.  You shorten the period when you eat during the day.  For example, choosing to eat only within a 10-hour window and restricting any caloric intake for the remaining 14 hours of the day. The ratios of time when you eat as opposed to when you don’t can vary. The more accustomed one is to fasting, the longer they can stretch the time of not eating, so their rations can be 8:16 and 6:18.  It is the most effective way to train your body to become a fat burner versus a glucose (sugar) burner. Intermittent fasting helps metabolize extra fat reserves, lowers inflammation, helps hormones communicate better in the body, and helps the body detoxify on a cellular level. [8] [9]  More astonishing benefits of intermittent fasting are discussed in chapter five of my book, Turn Head At Any Age.

We are constantly bombarded with chemicals, toxins, food additives, alcohol, and environmental toxins daily. Detoxifying the body daily is paramount if you do not want to get sick.  Even sick people can see a dramatic improvement in their health when they start detoxifying.  

You can gently detox every day by juicing fruits and vegetables. The best fruits and vegetable for detoxing the body are:

  • Berries
  • Lemons
  • Citrus fruits
  • Pineapple
  • Papaya
  • Pomegranate
  • Watercress
  • Dandelions
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Beets 
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Ginger
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Cucumber

These fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants that help remove free radicals from the body.  Parsley, ginger, and cilantro are natural chelators that help pull heavy metals from the body.   

What you put on your body is just as important as what you put in it.  Many everyday personal care products, perfumes, cleaning agents, and makeup are loaded with a toxic soup of chemicals and endocrine disrupters. Skin is porous and whatever you put on your skin gets absorbed in your blood.  The chemicals bypass the liver, which is designed to protect the body from toxic overload.  Be mindful of what you are using, read the labels, and actively look for cleaner alternatives that are organic, phthalate, and BPA-free.  The fewer ingredients the better.  You can check the toxic load of your personal products by looking them up on the EWG’s Skin Deep website.

Everyone needs some fun in their life.  Fun can account for exercise and stress management all in one.  Do something that makes you feel joyful, happy, and alive.  We all need healthy outlets in life to offset our everyday stress and responsibilities.  Exercise is a great way to decompress and reduce stress.  Other fun activities can be going outdoors, hanging out with positive people, fishing, hiking, etc.  It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut.  Don’t fall into that trap no matter how busy you are.  Make time out for yourself otherwise, your body will force you to. Fun is your antidote to stress.

Your thoughts shape your health and create new neurological pathways in the brain. The more you dwell in your negativity, the stronger your negative neuropathways become. 

A negative mindset is toxic because it unnecessarily increases cortisol levels.  Elevated cortisol levels that last for prolonged periods cause inflammation and opens the door to disease.  Stop focusing on what you are lacking, what could go wrong, dwelling on your frustrations, and be thankful and appreciate what you have.  Practicing gratitude and focussing on what God has blessed you with rather than what you think you are lacking is a great way to detox your negativity. 

Also, be mindful of the words you use.  Your words will speak your truth and become your self-fulfilling prophecy.  Stop saying “I can’t” and replace it with “I Can”.  Put yourself on a verbal diet and replace your negative words with positive ones (kinda hard to do) for a week.  Your perspective will begin to change. 

Adequate sleep is extremely important for optimum health.  When you do not get enough sleep your body will complain.  Severe sleep deprivation can be lethal. [10]   

Sleep is needed to rest the body and allow the brain to detoxify.  Sleep is essential for hormone regulation, repair and regeneration, modulation of the immune system, energy conservation, cognition, and brain waste clearance modulation. [11] If you do not get enough sleep, all these important functions are interrupted.  Chronic sleep deprivation and insomnia increase the risk of brain injury and are associated with the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. [12]  

Bottom line, if you want to be healthy and enjoy life as you age, make sleep a number one priority. 

The foundation of excellent health rests on these seven pillars.  Make it a point to incorporate mindful habits in your daily routine to support your foundation.  You will be rewarded for your efforts.

Dina Arvanitakis
Dina is a certified functional medicine nutrition coach and author that is passionate about health and wellness. As a health advocate, she coaches clients on how to implement anti-aging techniques and weight-loss strategies and solutions so they can become their own powerful success stories. She believes that everyone can enjoy a healthy vibrant life once they are empowered with knowledge and the right tools to make effective changes in their lives. A healthy you is a FABULOUS you!