The 6 Essentials for Health

The fastest and most effective way to deal with common health complaints is to go back to the basics.  While it is more popular to look for “Supplement  X” or “Program Y”, often the bottom line for low energy, poor memory, weight management, attention deficits and general malaise is failure to give the body the basic things it needs to function efficiently.

When looking for ways to optimize health and feel your best, there are 6 basics that must be in place BEFORE looking into supplements and interventional treatments.  These are the FOUNDATION your body needs to function well and they are essential for everyone.

First, you must have the proper nutrient intake to meet the needs of the body.  Your body needs a consistent supply of quality proteins, carbohydrates and fats along with the vitamins and minerals they contain.  These are best obtained through organic whole foods.  You really ARE what you eat and your body uses protein, carbohydrates and fats as building blocks for growth and repair as well as the raw materials for hormones, neurotransmitters, muscles and nerves.  Nothing happens in your body without the assistance of vitamins and minerals so if you want to feel your best, you need to give your body what it needs to work efficiently.

Second, you must have stable blood sugar.  Fluctuations in blood sugar can really knock you off your game.  Everyone has experienced both the sleepy “carb coma” from an overly starchy meal as well as the irritability and inability to function when blood sugar drops too low.  The goal is to avoid the highs and lows by eating nutritious, balanced meals and snacks throughout the day.  Combining healthy carbohydrates with protein or healthy fats at regular intervals throughout the day will keep your blood sugar on an even keel.

Third, you need routine exercise.  Our bodies were meant to move and today’s modern lifestyle tends to favor long periods without activity.  The aim should be to exercise at least 30 minutes EVERY DAY.  This can be just a gentle walk but it needs to be the baseline upon which you can add a more energetic workout 3-5 days a week to increase the benefits.  Sometimes just a quick jog up and down a flight of stairs will be all it takes to restore your motivation and focus at work.

Fourth, you must get the proper amount and quality of sleep.  Most people require 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per day.  If you have a problem getting to sleep, you can try a hot bath in Epsom salts before bed or a cup of chamomile tea.  If you get to sleep and then wake in the middle of the night, you may have low blood sugar (even though you may not feel hungry when you wake up).  Try eating a small snack of carbohydrate and protein before bed such as fruit and yogurt.  If you wake up to go to the bathroom,  stop drinking liquids 2-3 hrs before you go to bed.

Fifth, you must be drinking enough fluids throughout the day.  Dehydration will affect brain function and can contribute to headaches.  The general recommendation is to drink 1 oz of fluid for every kilogram of body weight.  To figure out how much you weigh in kilos just divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to get your minimum fluid requirement.  For example, if you weigh 140 lbs, you weigh about 64 kilograms which means you should be drinking at least 8 glasses (64 oz) of water a day.

Finally, you need an effective way to handle stress.  Everyone has stress from time to time but chronic stress can be harmful unless you have a method of releasing it and calming down.  Gentle exercise like walking or yoga as well as meditation or relaxation techniques can be very helpful in helping you to transition back to a more peaceful state of mind.

Take a look at how you are doing in these 6 areas.  If you see a weakness in any of these areas, make the correction first before you start looking for a supplement or other intervention.

Having a firm foundation for your health will insure that if you do need additional support, you will be treating the problem, not the lifestyle!

 

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