Healthy living is a unique and delicate balance between mind, body, and spirit.
Without a healthy body, the mind and the spirit become imbalanced. There is no particular order on what to start with, for all parts need equal attention.
The body needs three things to survive oxygen, water, and food in that order. Obviously, we all know we need to breathe to stay alive, but with coffee, tea, sodas, sports drinks, and all the other types of liquids we drink water seems to be forgotten. Keeping the body hydrated is very important for healthy living; water supports the muscle tissue keeping it limber and agile. Water provides oxygen to the blood, and to the brain. It aids in keeping the kidneys in good running condition, and assists in proper digestive function. Numerous studies have shown that water helps lower muscle fatigue and lessens joint pain. An easy rule of thumb to giving the body enough water: drink half the body weight in ounces per day. In other words, if a person weighs 150 pounds they should drink a minimum of 75 ounces of water per day. In addition, if the person drinks any caffeine or alcohol, they should drink twice the amount in water on top of the minimum per day. To avoid floating away, one might want to grab the bottle of water instead of the bottle of soda.
The best strategy for eating healthy: if the food is synthetic, artificial, or sometimes un-pronounceable stay away from it. One should try not to eat canned foods. These foods are usually processed, overcooked, and are loaded with un-pronounceable preservatives. Fresh fruits and vegetables are incredibly beneficial to the immune and digestive systems. They provide anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, and lower the risk of certain types of cancer. Eat meats high in Omega 3 and Omega 6 oils such as, salmon, cod, halibut, rib eye steaks, and chicken. Meats high in Omega oils help the brain function properly, and aid in good digestion. Dairy products are also a good source of protein, vitamins, and the ever-popular calcium. Remember the brain and muscular system must have proteins to remain strong and keep you living healthy. Finally we get to the controversial carbohydrates; they are needed, but only in small amounts. All carbohydrates digest as sugars, so they provide quick energy. Eat heavy, grainy, and dark breads; they digest slower, and are higher in fiber. Or go grain-free all together, science is proving more and more that a healthy brain and gut is one with little to no grains. Against all Grain has great recipes to help you replace common grain based foods. I will add that organic is the best way to go with all of our food, or home grown, there is just way too much happening with pesticides, GMO’s, caged growing, anti-biotics, hormones, and the list goes on, we need to stop putting these things in our bodies. Finally, if you have food sensitivities or suspect you do experiment with going dairy free, gluten-free and so forth to eliminate culprits in your diet that may make your physical health suffer.
Taking supplements is also a good insurance program. Vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and herbs can bridge the gap in nutrition when we cannot get what we need from the foods we eat. Stay away from synthetics; the body is all-natural, and what we put in it should be all-natural.
Last but not least on the healthy body tour, is exercise! Exercise is a wonderful way to stay fit mentally, physically, and spiritually. Exercise has been proven to be one of the best stepping-stones for aging gracefully. Remember not all exercises have to be done in a gym or on a sports field; gardening, house cleaning, yoga, or outdoor hobbies can be just as good. The best method for a fitness program is one that makes a person get up and move. The one that works is the one in that a person does and enjoys. The most important thing is to just do it.
Proper body health promotes proper mental health. To keep the mind healthy one must be active, learn new things, be open minded, read, socialize, and have mentally challenging hobbies.
Mental activities exercise the brain keeping it young. Set attainable goals and reach for them; at the same time, dream and use the imagination. Mental dis-ease causes disease. Do not let stress build up, seek assistance from a professional or a friend if necessary, but do not get bogged down in stress. Stress only leads to depression, anger, unhappiness, and illness. Keep in mind (pun intended), laughter is the best medicine, literally. Laughing is a form of exercise for the mind, heart, lungs, stomach, and oddly enough it burns calories. Be respectful to self, and the whole self will be rewarded.
Besides exercise, spirituality is another essential key to growing old gracefully and living healthy. Having faith in a belief system or supreme deity is vital to a healthy spirit. After faith, companionship with friends, family, and loved ones perpetuates spiritual growth. Participating in social activities with like-minded individuals is a key to opening the spirit. Meditation is also helpful it relieves stress, relaxes the mind and the body, and facilitates better awareness. In addition, the largest benefit to spiritual health is giving. Most religions and faiths have giving as a common ground. Most of us know that what we put out in life (positive or negative) we get back in equal or greater proportions.
To live a long healthy life we must be healthy mentally, physically, and spiritually. With those three things in balance, there is less chance for illness and disease. Strive for more out of life, and learn as much as possible. Simply put: Laugh often! Love much! Live well! Play hard! Eat right!
~Joli A. Campbell