Six Stress Busting Tips, Continued --
The Importance of Good Nutrition
By Kitty J. Boitnott, Ph.D. , NBCT, Certified Life Strategies &
Stress Management Coach
Last week, I wrote about the six stress busting suggestions that can lead to a more balanced life and optimal health. I wrote specifically to the first "tip" which was the importance of staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water every day. Your body needs to be properly hydrated for optimal health, and many people, while being aware of that fact on an intellectual level, walk around mildly or even severely dehydrated much of the time.
Having spent a fair amount of time discussing the merits of staying properly hydrated last week, this week I would like to turn to the second suggestion in the list of six which is no less important and sometimes just as difficult--if not more so--to put into practice: the importance of eating for good nutrition.
Just as our bodies need an adequate amount of water to stay healthy every day, our bodies also need to be fed food that is full of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. Thrown into the mix is the fact that we also need to pay close attention the proper amount and types of foods that we ingest for good health. The messages that we receive and the millions of dollars that we spend on diets and diet supplements every year point to the fact that we have lots of knowledge but little real understanding of how to use what we know for our overall health and well being. Furthermore, the confusion is exacerbated by the fact that everyday, some new health expert is announcing the latest and greatest diet breakthrough!
The fact of the matter is that our body is made up of trillions of cells and each and every one needs to be not only properly hydrated each day, but each cell also needs certain nutrients in order to function properly. Generally speaking, you can't go wrong if you eat a diet of whole foods (i.e., no highly processed foods which are, frankly, far too abundant in our current society) that are rich in vitamins and minerals that our bodies need. Concentrate on appropriate (and I cannot emphasize that word "appropriate" enough) amounts of protein, healthy fats, carbohydrates (in moderation), and fiber. If you have issues with gluten sensitivity, and many of us do whether or not we are totally intolerant of gluten in the diet, consider cutting gluten out of your diet completely to see if you feel better. Consider whether you are taking in more calories in a day than you need to in order to maintain a healthy weight for your age bracket. Eating a diet that is healthy and will provide your body with the nutritional balance you need is something of a complicated proposition, but the stakes couldn't be higher since not heeding what your body needs nutrition-wise can lead to heart disease, diabetes, auto-immune disorders, and a whole host of other ailments that are costly not just because they require medical attention but because they rob you of the sense of health and vitality that is so critical for a life filled with energy and enthusiasm.
I am not a nutritionist, so if you need professional help in this realm, I highly recommend that you either do the homework you need to do for yourself and your family or you seek the guidance of a certified and professionally trained nutritionist who is an expert in this area. Most importantly, tune into your body if you haven't done so already and make sure you are feeding it the types of foods that it craves for optimal performance. If you tune in to the messages that your body is already sending you, you will know exactly how to fine-tune your diet.
Next week, I will write about the importance of getting a good night's sleep for optimal health and a sense of well-being. Until then, I hope you will consider incorporating the first two suggestions into your daily routine...drink the water you body needs for optimal performance and start revamping your diet if you need to in order to improve your overall nutrition for a healthier and more energetic body.