3 Keys to Optimum Health
Apr 06, 2011 02:59AM
Your body is composed of more than 10 trillion cells. Each cell performs thousands of functions daily. When these cells can perform their functions properly in coordination with the needs of the rest of the body, you have health.
The tissues and organs of your body perform different functions. To be healthy, all the organs and tissues of your body need a proper flow of blood and energy. Even without symptoms, your body can have diabetes, heart disease, cancer, or the beginnings of arthritis, due to the systems in your body not functioning properly. Health is not the absence of symptoms, but rather it is a body that has all of its systems functioning at 100%. When functioning properly the body can heal and defend itself against all types of problems leading to health, increased energy, feelings of youth, vitality, and longevity. The three items necessary for optimum health are exercise, complete nutrition, and having the proper flow of blood and energy to all of the tissues in your body.
Your body needs to move! Although a structured, regular exercise program would be best, you can achieve most of your health goals by simply walking 20 to 30 minutes per day. In fact, a recent study followed 40,000 post-menopausal women for seven years. Those who regularly engaged in moderate exercise had a 41% lower early death rate than those who did not exercise. A seven year study by the University of Minnesota involving 12,000 men found that those who walked or did similar exercise for an average of just 20 minutes a day were 37% less likely to die of coronary disease than those who exercised less than that.
Give your body the nutrition it needs on a daily basis to repair and rebuild itself by consuming enough fresh vegetables and fruits. Our nutritional needs have changed drastically in the last century due to an increase in stress, pollution, and a depletion of nutrients from our soil. Our foods lack the same amount of nutrients they once contained. The accumulation of stress, pollution and lack of nutrients results in the formation of an enemy to the body called free radicals. Over time, free radicals destroy the cells of your body. When this takes place in the skin, you get wrinkles. When it takes place in the joints, you get arthritis.
Vegetables and fruits are a primary food source that contains the micronutrients which destroy free radicals. According to the Institute of Food Research, having enough fruits and vegetables in your diet can drastically reduce your risk of cancer, heart attack, and stroke. Scientific studies conclude that we should consume a minimum of 5 to 8 servings of fresh fruits and green vegetables per day. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health examined the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and the risk of stroke. It was found that men and women who consumed 5 to 6 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables per day were 31% less likely to suffer from a stroke, and that the risk may decrease by as much as 6% per daily serving. Studies of eye degeneration have found that Vitamins A, C, E and zinc are related to preventing eye degeneration leading to blindness.
In addition, you must consume enough complete proteins to give your body the necessary building blocks that it needs to repair tissue, grow during youth, and have a properly functioning immune system. According to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, protein in humans has at least two important functions:
1. Unlike fat stores, body proteins compose muscles and enzymes. Therefore a loss of protein means a loss of muscles, enzymes, and as a result, a loss of body functions.
2. Protein also contains nitrogen. During an injury or illness, nitrogen must be mobilized from the body to assist the immune system. If adequate nitrogen is not available, the body’s capacity to withstand an acute illness or injury declines.
If we don’t take in enough complete protein, our body’s immune system will not have the building blocks that it needs to properly function and our immune potential diminishes. Not all protein sources are the same. Your body’s specific needs can be determined and you should be on a program that insures that you exercise, consume enough fruits, vegetables and complete protein.
Stress can interfere with the proper flow of blood and energy to the organs and tissues throughout your body. Stress can be physical, chemical, or emotional in nature. Emotional stress can come from internal or external causes. Low blood sugar and hormonal imbalances can make a person more emotional. To reduce this cause of emotional stress you can modify your diet and also look to see if there is a lack of blood or energy flowing to the related tissues. If stress is being caused purely by outside factors then engage in activities that can create a more positive outlook. A California State University study found that a 10 minute walk is enough to increase energy, alter mood, and affect a positive outlook for up to 2 hours.
Reduce the harmful effects of chemical stress on your body by making sure that you get the proper nutrients that will provide you with antioxidants to destroy free radicals.
Finally, physical stress is caused by injuries from falls, auto accidents, poor posture, lack of exercise, and repetitive stress injuries and a physical approach is required to treat them. You can reduce the physical stress on your body by eliminating any interference in the proper flow of blood and energy caused by tension or trauma. Acupuncture, massage and chiropractic adjustments are all physical therapies that promote blood circulation and increase energy.
Sylvie Morin is nationally board certified in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine. She is the owner of Health For Life, located at 2202 S. Babcock, Suite 103 in Melbourne, 768-2600.