As communities across the globe band together during the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual education has surged. Temple Health and Bioscience District (THBD) recognized the need to shift virtual events early on and launched the E-Learning Series Webinar program as an online education portal. In the latest webinar on July 28, 2020, THBD was honored to host Dr. Patricia Sulak as she discussed “Upping Your WELLNESS Game: Building Your Defense to Take on Any Offensive Attack.”
Dr. Sulak is a nationally recognized physician living in Temple, Texas with a practice at Baylor Scott & White Health, researcher, speaker, and medical school professor. She graduated from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio School of Medicine and was named a Distinguished Alumnus. In addition to her busy clinical practice, she presents throughout the country to businesses, organizations, and healthcare institutions on disease prevention through healthy living. Her book “Should I Fire My Doctor?” and comprehensive wellness program Living WELL Aware empower individuals to take ownership of their well-being.
Dr. Sulak kicked off her presentation with a COVID-19 update, the topic front and center on everyone’s mind. Based on an April 2020 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) study, Dr. Sulak shared that men are at a higher risk for developing COVID-19, and patients with severe cases typically have pre-existing health conditions including hypertension (57 percent), obesity (42 percent), and diabetes (35 percent). While physicians project more than 200,000 deaths in the U.S. alone from COVID-19 in 2020, Dr. Sulak provided some practical tips everyone can follow to strengthen immunity and protect from viral attack, as well as other serious illnesses.
The seven things Dr. Sulak recommends everyone does to improve their overall health and wellness are:
- Eat real food. Choose real foods (veggies, fruits, lean meats) that promote health instead of processed foods that can propagate disease and illness. Dr. Sulak recommends a plant-focused diet for overall wellness.
- Control glycemic levels. Diabetes increases the risk for infection, as witnessed in the complications associated with COVID-19. Reduce carbohydrate intake and increase protein and healthy fats in your diet to control your glycemic levels. Looking for a place to start? Explore the ketogenic diet (Keto), which Dr. Sulak praises as more than just a fad.
- Reduce calorie intake. One of the hottest trends in wellness is fasting, and Dr. Sulak emphasizes that as humans we do not need to eat all day long. Occasional, controlled starvation caloric restriction through fasting can help burn fat and increase cardiovascular health. The best way to start? Talk to your doctor and if intermittent fasting is a good fit for you, skip or enjoy a late low carb breakfast.
- Exercise! One of the best ways to strengthen your immunity is to move more. Movement is critical, and American Cancer Society and other medical organizations recommend 300 minutes of exercise a week, which can burn fat and reduce inflammation.
- Lower stress. Stress affects hormones, immunity, and neurotransmitters in our bodies. By STOPPING our busy lives, turning off all the electronics, breathing deeply, and paying a visit to ourselves, we can all take a big step toward improving overall health. Dr. Sulak recommends that individuals find the meditation plan that works best for them, whether it’s mindfulness, thoughtfulness or even prayer.
- Sleep more. Sulak says Americans don’t get enough adequate sleep. On average, we all need 7-8 hours of sleep a night, which should not be overwritten by other engagements or obligations.
- Supplement your diet. Sulak stated that many nutritional experts and functional medicine physicians are recommending older patients consider taking 1,000 international units (IU) of Vitamin D each day, 1 gram of Vitamin C, zinc and selenium. While a plant-based diet will offer plenty of these, others may need to increase intake of these non-harmful, natural supplements.
By following these tips, Dr. Sulak encourages an optimal state of health, known as wellness. While she focuses on the physical component, she also encourages individuals to consider and improve their psychological, social, economical, and spiritual health.
To view Dr. Sulak’s webinar recording in full, visit templebioscience.org/elearning. At the Living WELL Aware website, Dr. Sulak offers a free wellness score that individuals can use to gauge their overall health. To utilize this tool and Dr. Sulak’s free weekly blog, visit livingwellaware.com.
Be sure to tune into THBD’s next upcoming monthly E-Learning Series webinar, which will be on Tuesday, August 25 from 12 to 1 p.m. covering “Innovation in the Time of COVID-19: The Grant Process” with Earle Hager of The Neutrino Donut. Go to templebioscience.org/elearning to register free today!