5 Simple Nutrition Steps for Optimal Physical Health
For the past several months, I have shared my thoughts and experiences mostly related to spiritual and personal growth. This sharing has been therapeutic and a great creative outlet for me. At the same time, I am not only writing for myself but also writing in an effort to help others on their journey. Spiritual growth is just one dimension of optimal health. Today I would like to switch gears a little and talk about the physical dimension of our health. Knowing that the 3 dimensions of optimal health (Spiritual, Physical, and Mental), all work synergistically with each other, it is important to talk about and be aware of each one.
Having what used to be considered a fatal illness, I have been able to turn my physical health around using 5 basic nutrition steps in junction with other things. The big realization that I had to first come to was that western medicine is about revenue, not healing. Many of the things I have learned, I never heard from my doctor. There are of course many more things that can be done to optimize your physical health. I am going to share just 5 of the nutrition steps that have proven to yield excellent results for me in my effort to be the healthiest I can be.
5 Simple Nutrition Steps for Better Health
- A daily multi-vitamin plus a vitamin D supplement: As a result of the typical American diet, research has shown that a great majority of Americans are extremely deficient in essential vitamins and minerals especially vitamin D. According to WebMD, many of our foods do not include essential nutrients such as calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. Taking a vitamin/mineral supplement can prevent deficiencies that contribute to chronic health conditions. It is not a replacement for healthy food but an important addition to our diet. On a personal note, I have been going to the same doctor for 17 years. She never mentioned my vitamin D level and the importance of having it checked. I was having a lot of general fatigue and weakness along with other symptoms. Knowing that Vitamin D is responsible for immune function, the strength of our bones, and reduction in body inflammation, I felt it important to have it checked. Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to many health conditions including cancer. Long story short, my vitamin D level was critically low. After 3 months of taking a Vitamin D supplement, my level was normal and I was feeling awesome. I could write a book on the importance of this step but encourage you to do your own research and have your levels checked. Make sure your vitamin supplements are food based.
- Cut out ALL sugar: Again, I could write a book on the harmful effects of sugar. Sugar comes in many forms with all of them having the same negative affect on the body. It is also important to remember that simple carbohydrates such as white potatoes immediately break down to sugar once in the body. Sugar is void of all nutrients and causes the body to deplete its own stores of various vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. Sugar affects every organ of our body at the cellular level. It makes the blood very thick and sticky inhibiting blood flow, and therefore vital nutrients to our organs and tissues. Sugar also kills the good bacteria in our gut that keeps our immune system healthy. This is only the surface of what sugar does to our body. It is the one of the most deadly ingredients in our diet. My over-all health improved dramatically when I eliminated sugar, including sodas, sweet tea, and sugary snacks, from my diet. It is also important to note that diet sodas and “zero sugar” sodas are just as harmful because they use artificial sweeteners. You are not doing your children or yourself any favors by giving them sugary juices and sodas to drink. Read the labels to see how much sugar is in whatever you are eating or drinking.
- Increase water intake: Our bodies are made up of about 60% water. Water is essential for digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. We lose water through skin evaporation, breathing, urine and stool. The water must be replaced for optimal function of our body. Water helps energize muscles and boost energy, it keeps your skin looking good, and helps transport waste products in and out of the cells in our kidneys. It is also important to note that about 80% of brain tissue is water. Therefore drinking plenty of water reduces stress on your body and your mind. Replace those sodas and sugary juices with water. The health benefits will be worth the replacement. Drink water at your meals. Keep a bottle of water with you in your car, at your desk, and in your bag.
- Eat Healthy Fats: Fat has gotten a bad rap however it is another essential food to add to your diet. It is important for brain health, keeping your lungs working properly, and boosting your immune system. It is also good for the heart. When you choose that 2% or nonfat milk over the whole milk, you are missing out on healthy fats that are essential. You will however want to stay completely away from trans-fats. Some healthy fat options are, walnuts, salmon, olive oil, real butter, coconut oil, avocado, and whole raw milk. Krill oil is also a great supplement to add to your diet to get the proper fats and can be purchased in many health food stores.
- Eliminate processed foods: It is vital for optimal health that you read the ingredients of everything you buy in the grocery store. The fewer the ingredients, the better. If something has 10 ingredients and you can only pronounce or identify 3 of them, it is not a good choice. All those chemical ingredients with long names lead to increased risk of adverse health conditions such as cancer. A good rule of thumb is to stay away from boxed and canned foods. One should be able to identify every ingredient listed. Stay on the perimeter of the grocery store choosing raw ingredients that have not been processed. Read the labels and know what you are putting in your body.
In conclusion, it is my belief that we have a responsibility to take care of the body we’ve been given. We only have one. We often abuse our bodies by what we put in them. There was a huge banner hanging in my elementary school cafeteria that said, “You are what you eat.” Take charge of your health by making good nutrition choices. Do not depend on your western medicine physician to keep you healthy. You have everything you need to heal yourself. Make small changes at a time until you achieve your goal. Here’s to optimal physical health for all.
I look forward to your feedback and comments. Thanks so much for sharing.
See you next Sunday for my Weekly Sunday Blog.
Peace, blessings, and good health!