Being healthy means something different for everyone and it very much depends on your lifestyle, age and other factors.
There are however 7 very important components which form the basis of being healthy and are very important to any of us.
Variety is so key not only because the nutrients contained in food all have a different function in your body. These are very cleverly dispatched as you consume food, it is the potent fuel needed for you to function to your optimum 24/7! The most common one I guess is Vitamin C which gets converted into energy which so many of us seem to lack!
Here are a few examples:
- Vitamin B for good digestion
- Vitamin C for energy
- Vitamin D and calcium for your bones
- Magnesium for nerves and muscles
- Vitamin A for your vision
The list goes on…
It is also important to mention that some vitamins and minerals cannot be properly absorbed if not combined properly.
Calcium is a perfect example as it needs to be consumed with vitamin D for it to be properly absorbed by the bones.
I would also always advise getting your nutrients from food rather than supplements as you want to retain the right balance. Too much of something can be just as bad as not enough!
You should really consume artificial ingredients as little as possible. This is so essential as you cannot get the nutrients you need from artificial foods. There is also the fact that there is no way of knowing yet what impact these manufactured ingredients are having on our bodies. Artificial sweeteners are big business but so was smoking… For more details on this topic, please refer to the nutrition section What we don’t know
Very importantly, read the ingredients when you buy packaged food. The likelihood is it has a loooong list but also includes strange pharmaceutical like names.
Because we have a tendency to diet and therefore deny ourselves some foods we love, we tend to go for the whole cake rather than just a slice!
You do need to be mindful of portions as it is best to eat smaller but often. The reason for this is that it gives your stomach an opportunity to digest properly. It means you give your stomach the breathing space it needs which in return means that you are unlikely to suffer from indigestion, trapped air and feeling sluggish. Consuming very large portions will result in your stomach expanding; it will then need more food to make you feel full and satisfied. This is when you start gaining weight.
Food top ups spread throughout the day are a great way to keep your energy levels up too but I am talking about REAL FOOD here (nuts, fruits, yoghurts, crackers, slice of toast etc.)
I am not talking about high impact cardiovascular exercise but walking alone is not only beneficial but needed for the body.
Some health benefits are:
- Better gastric mobility: this means better digestion as it increases bowel movement which ultimately helps you be more “regular”!
- Increases blood circulation: this is great for your organs to function to their optimum
- Less water retention: this is true particularly in your legs
- Strengthens your muscles: better abdomen from keeping your balance and stronger toned legs AND less risk of cellulite
- Believe it or not, it also stimulates the brain as it gets an increase in blood flow. I always find my creativity runs wild when I go for a walk
We love going for walks with my children although they do like to be a tad more quirky and add some zing to our little adventures!
All you need is at least 30 minutes a day to reap some of these benefits!! That’s 30 out of the 1440 minutes you have every day to help you keep healthy!
Just over 2% of your time daily and in exchange you can get all of the above great benefits and it is FREE!
The right amount of sleep is crucial to your health and mental wellbeing, I feel at my best after 8 hours but this can vary slightly from one person to another. The recommended average is 7 hours per day.
Day after day, your body works for you usually on average 14 to 16 hours a day and your bed time gives it the opportunity to regenerate and heal.
Some health benefits are:
- Good skin regeneration
- Better mood
- Better brain function
- More energy
- Stronger immune system
If you work shifts like I used to, it is also imperative that you get good doses of day light as this can also cause imbalance.
Mindfulness or simply put, taking time out
Mindfulness is now widely recognised and so is it’s importance.
It is simply about being present in the moment. It is about being able to take a pause and to just breathe, to be and put your perhaps chaotic multitasked world aside, even for a very short while. As much as 10 minutes a day can be truly beneficial.
It can be practiced anywhere, inside or outside but ideally, in a quiet space. It can be a walk or sitting down, lying down, it isn’t in any way prescriptive and you will probably find what works best for you once you start.
You body and mind will love you for it and this wonderful short TEDex talk encapsulates what it means so well and it would be a great place to start for inspiration.
Isolation is the biggest form of torture in prison, and for a reason.
We have become so consumed with our likeability in the virtual world, we have more friends than ever imaginable and yet, so many feel the loneliness and isolation. Added to that are the challenges and stress of conveying a perfect image of ourselves which can be so detached to our reality.
Your true friends are in the real world. They are the ones who will be able to comfort you on “those days”. Reach out to them, look out for them and spend quality time with them.
You loved ones will help you feel empowered, help you in tough times and there is something so special about a meaningful quality hug!
Life is really about keeping it simple and finding the right balance, what we call in a more fancy term homeostasis!