As Parish Nurse, one of my roles is “information-sharing and encouragement for optimal health and well-being.” Today’s topic is: “Beyond Nutrition – Other Contributors to Optimal Health.”

Last month at this site, I shared suggestions for “Eating for Optimal Health.”  This month I decided to address other known contributors to optimal health and well-being. Obviously, this is a huge topic, but I found a very readable article that succinctly summarizes what the research shows:   “Keep Things Simple for a Healthy, Long Life” by John Henning Schumann, MD. You can read the article here.

As a primary-care physician in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he asserts that “there really aren’t shortcuts to health. This is what you need to do:

  • Get enough sleep.
  • Move your body throughout the day.
  • Eat well – a healthy assortment of foods. Mostly plants, and not too much. (An idea popularized by author Michael Pollan.)    [See the Parish Nurse blog from August 9.]
  • Interact socially. Isolation is not good for the body, mind, or soul.
  • Take some time to reflect on what you are grateful for.”

Dr. Schumann refers to the Blue Zones in the world where people routinely live to 90-100, without modern medical care, but still healthy and active. You can read more about that fascinating subject here.

Although there are many cultural differences, of course, I suggest that there are also valuable lessons for us from the Blue Zones.


– Ann Yeo, R.N., M.S.N., Parish Nurse