Every one of us want to lead a healthy lifestyle as we often talk about in the phrase” Health is wealth”. However, in the present day scenario we observe the hospitals to be full with patients with deadly diseases like cancer, hypertension, diabetes, respiratory diseases, arthritis, etc. Lifestyle diseases has become a part of the life and the main reason behind them are we ourselves. The sedentary lifestyle that we lead is the root cause behind it, with lots of junk food, work life stress, lack of proper rest or exercise and wide gap in Nutrition due to various reasons. Let us therefore, take a look over the four pillars of optimal health which if we practice can give us the blessing of good health which is so rare nowadays.
The four pillars:
- Regular exercise:
Regular exercise of 15 to 20 minutes every day gives wonderful results. Exercise improves blood circulation in body and gives us healthy muscles and joints. It gives flexibility to the body. Morning time is the best for exercises. Apart from physical exercises, yoga and meditation can also be practised. Apart from physical benefits, it can also help to relieve stress which is the root cause of many diseases. However, such exercises should be personalized and best if guided by an expert.
- Adequate rest:
Complete physical and mental rest is very necessary for everybody. Sound sleep of 7-8 hours is sufficient for a body to be refreshed and rejuvenated. However, many people come with the complaints of disturbed sleep which may result the person to stay fatigued the whole day long with lack of concentration in their regular work. We should maintain a proper routine for bedtime and stick to that. Listening to light relaxing music before going to sleep also help the mind to relax and attain a good sleep.
- Positive mental attitude:
This is one aspect which is equally important but probably lacking in most individuals. Scare amount of people today live with a positive mental attitude. To have a positive mental attitude and to retain it is really challenging in a life with ups and downs and people are mostly used to pull out negativity in each and every situation. They nurture such negative feelings in mind and share with their near and dear ones, thus, spreading more and more negative. Negative thoughts are like weeds which grow on their own and can in turn lead to stress and more stress. Positive thoughts have to be nurtured in mind with care and they make our minds stress free and help us to feel happy. Positive thoughts are powerful and can bring miraculous results on our health. We have to identify the positive in each and every situation.
- Adequate Nutrition
Nutrition is the aspect which is having the greatest effect on our lifestyle. If we closely observe, we shall find there is a wide gap in the amount of nutrients a body should get and the amount that we have every day. This may be due to several reasons like:
- Crave for junk food: due to the fast lifestyle, where people overwork, they may often skip important meals and get themselves whatever suits their taste buds and readily available. Due to such regular habits, some people become addicted to junk food which lack in important nutrients and overload the body with unhealthy triglycerides and cholesterol
- Lack of food quality: Due to increasing population, the supply of food is becoming short and there comes hybrid fruits and vegetables in the market which are larger in size and less in nutrients. Adulteration of food items like milk and dairy products, unsuitable means of food preservation and farming practices with high amounts of pesticides and insecticides may cause entry of harmful chemicals in body. According to recent research the food items are much less in nutrients compared to 25-30 years back.
So, what are the important nutrients required by the body? Let us a take a look:
The important nutrients which are essential for everyone are as follows:
- Carbohydrates: They are found in food like rice, wheat, bread and potato, etc. They give energy to the body, acting as the fuel to the body. Around 6-10 small and frequent servings of carbohydrates can be taken for the energy supply in the body. Generally we do not see deficiency of carbohydrates in people, except for those who are malnourished.
- Protein: The protein makes the basic building block of the body. Each and every cell of the body from the head to toe is made of protein and thus, makes one of the most important nutrient in the body. The requirement of protein is 1gm per kg of adult body weight and much more in case of growing children or pregnant women. Protein deficiency is commonly found in individuals.
- Vitamins and minerals: They are micronutrients required in very small quantities but essential. Lack of important vitamins like vitamins A, B group vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, E or K may cause diseases. Similarly deficiency of important minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese may result in osteoporosis, etc.
- Fats: Fats are also necessary for the body. Certain vitamins are solubilised in fats like Vitamins A, D, E and K. It forms a part of the skin and has many other essential functions in the body. However, large amount of cholesterol containing foods are harmful as they may lead to heart diseases. One of the good fats are the omega 3 fatty acids which have several beneficial effects in the body. They are good for management and prevention of arthritis, attention deficit syndrome, heart diseases and even cancer.
- Phytonutrients: Traditional medicines have always known the benefits of phytonutrients which are effective and safe. The more colour we add to our diet with various fruits and vegetables, the more phytonutrients we get. The plants are subjected to the same environmental conditions as we are, but they stay strong in every weather and revive back strongly. This is the benefit of the phytonutrients. Phytonutrients give us vitamins and minerals and antioxidants which help to gain immunity.
- Fiber: It is the most overlooked nutrient. It does not provide any nutrition as such but very important for gastrointestinal health. It helps in food metabolism and digestion and many inflammatory bowel diseases may result if there is lack of fiber in diet.
- Water: No nutrient would work if we don’t take adequate amounts of water, around 8-10 glasses of safe water every day. Water helps the nutrients to flow through systemic circulation and help in excretion of waste products in the body. Due to lack of water such waste may accumulate and give toxicity.
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