5 ways to tell if you’re healthy — without any tools or tests

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

Entering health data into your phone or constantly checking your watch to see how much your blood has oxygen starting to feel like a chore?

We live in a time where the line between our bodies and our data is becoming increasingly blurred. With the availability of apps that track our menstrual cycles and watches that can tell how He stressed we are, there is pressure to keep track of every incremental change in our health metrics. If we don’t, how can we know if we are healthy?

While tracking such metrics can be useful (or even fun), it’s not necessary to live a healthy life. In fact, if you stay in tune with your body, you’ll be able to gauge your well-being through a few key patterns.

Here are some health facts.

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you are ‘regular’

This applies to both bowel movements and menstrual cycles (for people who have one). 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 anywhere from three a week to three a day is considered normal. (Bonus points if you normally go at the same time every day.) Painful or infrequent bowel movements can be signs of constipation or irritable bowel syndrome — conditions that indicate a reason for a visit to the doctor.

Regular bowel movements can also be signs of health the gut microbiomethat some researchers believe we are alone beginning to scratch the surface how connected it is with other systems of our body.

Another pattern: regular menstrual cycles (occurring every month between 24 and 35 days) are not only a sign of regular reproductive health. ovulation, but they are also a signal that your hormones are balanced. Hormonal imbalances can be the product of stress (which has a host of effects on well-being), over-training, or illness, such as thyroid disease. For menstruating people, the monthly cycle can be one of the first things thrown off track when there’s a disruption in the carefully orchestrated hormonal dance. (Note that while you are taking hormonal birth control pills or get a hormonal IUD, your body won’t have a “normal” menstrual cycle, and a missed or late period may not be that important.)

Most days, you wake up feeling 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-deprived, or even chronically sleep-deprived, lack of sleep contributes to a number of social and health problemsincluding hormonal imbalances, mood problems and even a greater risk of a heart attack.

If you’ve been feeling sluggish, foggy, or just plain tired for days, a fresher feeling may come after a change in schedule or stress reduction. But if you have at least 7 hours and think you should be many more energetic than you actually are, could signal a more serious health problem 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 on how to sleep better.

A young man sleeping soundly on his side

When you get enough shut-eye and wake up most days feeling refreshed, that’s a good sign that your body is getting the rest it needs.

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You don’t have funky breath

A little morning or onion breath is par for the course, and your breath may be a little ragged if you’re dehydrated. But a strange taste or smell in your mouth during the day after brushing your teeth can be a sign that something is wrong.

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

“For example, extremely fruity breath can be an indicator of diabetes, bad breath can be associated with reflux, a fishy smell can mean kidney failure, a sour mouth can be a sign of sleep apnea. sleep”, he said.

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

Your urine is pale yellow

Urine that’s pale yellow is a clear indicator that you’re hovering around a healthy hydration level, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Drinking enough water is one of the easiest ways to keep your body healthy, as hydration helps important processes like regulate body temperature, prevent infections, and improve cognition (hello, dehydration brain fog). So if you normally urinate a lighter shade of yellow as opposed to a solid, dark color, you can take some comfort that your body is getting enough water. How much you need, of course, depends on many factors including activity level.

Read more: How much water should you really drink every day?


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You eat a well-balanced diet, but you don’t restrict yourself

Believe it or not, eating enough fat is not only good for you, but also essential for your health. And there are a growing number of dietitians and nutritionists who are finding more health benefits building dishes around basic nutrients, rather than cutting them out or singling out any food as “bad”. More restrictive diets, or diets that require you to track the calories of every food you eat, can lead to disordered eating and yo-yo dieting without lasting health outcomes.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical 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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