Why Is it Important to Lead a Healthy Lifestyle?
How Amazing Is Your Body?
The body is an amazing machine with all of its different functions working together like a well-oiled machine to keep going day after day. It has many functions to perform such as respiration, digesting food, circulating oxygen and nutrients to all of your cells, sending thousands of electrical impulses so that you can think, feel, touch, smell etc. The body has certain requirements to keep it functioning well, this involves providing it with healthy food, getting plenty of oxygen from the air you breathe and of course drinking water to keep it hydrated. Nutrients are involved in all body processes and it is important that you get a good balance for your body so that it works at its maximum capacity. Basically your body needs:
Protein for building muscle and repairing damaged tissue
Carbohydrates break down into glucose which we need for energy and heat
Fats are needed for making hormones and also used for energy
Vitamins and minerals are so diverse and needed for many different functions in the body from building bones, turning the food you eat into energy, balancing fluid in the body, balancing cellular function etc.
Oxygen and water along with glucose is needed by every living cell to produce energy.
If you are deficient in any of these requirements and it occurs on a regular basis then the body will begin to struggle in performing its everyday tasks. The body may slow down, malfunctions may start to happen and disease and illness may develop.
Additionally in an ideal world everything that you take into your body would be in its purest form without any contamination but unfortunately this isn’t always true. In many cases the food you eat has been sprayed with artificial pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. If you eat processed foods it may have had artificial additives, preservatives, colours and flavourings added to it to prolong shelf life, make it look more appetizing and artificially improve flavour. Depending on where you live, the air that you breathe may be heavily polluted. Pathogens (bacteria, germs etc.) may find their way into your body via the food, air or water that you take in. And of course there is the intake of alcohol, cigarettes and drugs which are all detrimental to the body.
This may all seem pretty dire however your body is well adept at removing anything that it doesn’t want or need. The liver keeps the blood clean and neutralises any harmful chemicals that have made their way in. The kidney filters the blood, removing any unwanted waste, this is passed to the bladder and excreted in the form of urine. The lungs excrete any unwanted gases. The bowels evacuate any waste from our digestive system. The immune system kills off any germs and bacteria.
However the more you take in of the things that the body doesn’t need then the harder it has to work at keeping it clean and disease free. Also the less you take in of the things that the body does need e.g. good quality food, then the less likely the body is able to do all the things it needs to do on a daily basis.
Stress is another important factor to take into consideration if you want to improve/maintain good health. When you get stressed your body releases a number of hormones including adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol. These hormones bring on a number of changes in your body to prepare you for “fight or flight”:
Increases heart rate & blood pressure to pump blood to the muscles quicker.
Increases the blood clotting capability in the blood to stop us bleeding to death should we be attacked.
Redistributes blood from non essential organs such as the digestive system to the muscles.
Alters the metabolism and increases the blood sugar level so that the cells of the muscles can produce more energy.
Suppresses other non essential activity e.g. immune system, reproductive system etc.
As you can imagine if this happens on a regular basis, which is often the case if stress is something that is part of your daily life, then the body is going to start having problems as it is being constantly overworked.
If you keep filling a car with dirty oil and petrol and over revving the engine then at some point the car will start experiencing malfunctions and break downs. Your body is just the same, if you keep giving it poor quality food, air and water, over working it and stressing it out then at some point it will start malfunctioning, it will be unable to work at its maximum capacity and illness and disease may set in.
Top Tips for Good Health
The good news is that there are plenty of things that you can do to keep it fit and healthy. Here are some of the best things you can do:
Eat plenty of fresh plant based foods, fresh vegetables and fruit, beans and pulses, wholemeal cereals and grains. All of these foods break down into glucose so there is no need to worry about getting enough glucose into your diet for energy. If you eat a good mix of different coloured fresh, vegetables and fruit you can be sure that you are getting all of the vitamins and minerals that you need.
Eat fresh poultry and fish if you are a meat eater. For vegetarians quinoa, buckwheat, soy, rice, beans and peas are all good sources of protein
Include unsaturated fats in your diet such as avocados, oily fish, seeds, nuts, vegetable oils
Drinks lots of filtered water or herbal teas
Drink almond, oat, coconut rice milk instead of dairy milk. Check the ingredients however as unfortunately some manufacturers add water, sugar and thickeners to some dairy free milks.
Eat organic where you can to reduce the intake of artificial pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides.
Eat fresh, homemade cooked foods so you can be sure of what you are putting in your body
If you must eat ready-made meals keep them to a minimum and check the ingredients. If the meal contains ingredients that look like they belong in a chemistry set then put it back on the shelf and let it live its prolonged shelf life where it belongs – on the shelf!
The more nutritious your food is the less likely your body will be to suffer from cravings
Get out in the countryside/seaside as often as you can to get plenty of fresh air into your lungs
Take time out every day to do some sort of relaxation. There are plenty of guided meditations, visualisations and hypnotherapy sessions on Youtube that you can use for relaxation. Mindfulness is really good for people who find that they tend to worry a lot.
Exercise the body at least 3 times a week to keep those muscles firm.
Avoid or keep saturated fats, salt, sugar and processed foods to minimum e.g. dairy products, pies, cakes and biscuits, fatty cuts of meat, chocolate, sweets, crisps, sausages and bacon, and cheese and cream.
Avoid or reduce your intake of caffeinated drinks e.g. coffee, tea, fizzy drinks. The caffeine has the similar effects as stress on the body, particularly increasing the heart rate.
Avoid or reduce your intake of alcohol
Following these tips may certainly help you slow down the ageing process and greatly improve your chances for a healthier, disease and pain-free long life. However if you are already suffering from poor health then don’t worry as the body has the amazing capacity to repair itself, as long as you provide it with the right nourishment and care. Evidence shows that when the pluses outweigh the negative, health can be restored. So it’s never too late to start on that healthy living regime!
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Disclaimer: Always consult with your GP before embarking on any health regime.