We all have a light inside us which drives life function, our passion, emotions, and allow us to engage and enjoy our life experience. When our light shines brightly, it means we feel vibrant and we are taking good care of our nutrition needs, getting enough rest, and paying attention to our emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
- How are your energy and vitality when you wake up in the morning and throughout the day?
- Is your inner light vibrant, fuelling your life and restoring your body, maintaining good health, and keeping your drive to work for your aspirations in life?
‘Health’ is the natural state of life when we live aligned with our truth and in harmony within ourselves; mentally, spiritually, physically and with others and the environment around us. A wholesome diet, healthy thoughts and life style provide the nourishment and conditions for the body to sustain life, and maintain health. But what can affect and ‘steal’ our energy and vigor?
Problems with our relationships, work, busy schedules, poor conditions of mind and excessive concern have a huge impact on health.
Good sleep is an important factor in learning and storage of long-term memory. Sleep deprivation affects mood, memory, decision-making, and visual-motor performance (Nunn et al. 2016; Vyazovskiy et al. 2017).
Toxins from food, air, water, plastics and products we use regularly are continuous stressors on the immune system which can weaken our defences.
When it comes to food, we all have heard the saying we are what we eat. Highly processed and refined foods are nutrient and fibre deficient. They cause a myriad of hormonal imbalances and low-grade inflammation in the body which over time lead to development of chronic illness. We should eat a varied and balanced diet including foods from all food groups: protein (meat, eggs), wholegrains, vegetables and legumes, leafy greens, fruits, monounsaturated and omega-3 fats (such as oily fish, avocadoes, raw nuts and seeds, flax and chia seeds).
Food should be simple, and to make it simple there are two principles common to most traditional diets: high fibre, low sugar. These is no need to count kilojoules or calories when we cook our meals mostly from wholesome and minimally processed foods.
Since I started to study human physiology and nutrition, I have come to appreciate another aspect of foods besides providing energy, and the building blocks for the tissues in our bodies. Food contains numerous phytochemicals which give colours, flavours, scent, or form part of the fibrous structure in plants. Hence why we should “eat the rainbow” on our plate.
These active compounds interact with our genes and exert various beneficial effects:
– neutralize free radicals,
– upregulate our antioxidant enzymes,
– regulate liver function and detoxification,
– strengthen immune system,
– prevent cancer,
– promote anti-inflammatory effects
(Hodges & Minich 2015; Malireddy et al. 2012; Son et al. 2008).
Recently we have discovered we are also what we feed our microflora – the microorganisms living in our colon, mucous membranes and skin. A diet deficient in fibre or one that excludes an entire food group such as wholegrains can be very harmful to our intestinal flora and lead to dysbiosis, an increase in pathogenic bacteria and microorganisms and reduced beneficial species (Tuohy, Fava & Viola 2014). Bacteria in our intestine feed from the fibre in our food, but as part of the process we benefit. As bacteria ferment fibre, they help us digest foods, increase absorption of nutrients, produce vitamins and short chain fatty acids, produce molecules which modulate and strengthen our immune system, regulate blood sugar, and manage body weight.
Furthermore, the gut microflora communicates with the brain and influence human health and mood. Depression and anxiety can originate from an unbalanced gut flora, and specific strains of probiotic bacteria have shown to improve mood disorders and mental health (Foster & Neufeld 2013; Zhou & Foster 2015).
A food intolerance is a difficulty in digesting certain foods. This can happen for many reasons: enzyme deficiency (such as lactose, gluten), naturally-derived molecules (such as salicylate, histamine), food additives (sulfites, nitrates), food poisoning, to name a few. Food intolerances can trigger ongoing inflammation and reduce vitality.
Health is positive vitality not simply absence of disease. A wholesome diet provides the nourishment the body needs to replenish its vitality, detox and eliminate toxins, restore and maintain the integrity of the system. But a healthy life also needs balance. It is important to take time out of our busy schedules to:
- enjoy a nourishing meal and eat mindfully,
- sleep 7-8 hours a day,
- nurture spiritual needs,
- practice a healthy physical activity,
- pursue your favorited hobbies,
- practice self-care,
- spend time with loved ones in our lives,
- healthy sun exposure and connect to nature,
- unwind, relax, laugh.
Nourish and take good care of your WHOLE SELF. Enjoy your life experience to the full and live RADIANTLY!
Hodges, R & Minich, D 2015, ‘Modulation of metabolic detoxification pathways using foods and food-derived components: A scientific review with clinical application’, Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, vol. 2015, no. 760689, pp. 1-23, < https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jnme/2015/760689/ >
Foster, A & Neufeld, K 2013, ‘Gut-brain axis: how the microbiome influences anxiety and depression’, Trends in Neurosciences, vol. 36, no. 5, pp. 305-312, < https://tinyurl.com/ya57yf6j>
Malireddy, S, Kotha, S, Secor, J, O. Gurney, T, Abbott, J, Maulik, G, Maddipati, K & Parinandi, N 2012, ‘Phytochemical antioxidants modulate mammalian cellular epigenome: Implications in health and disease’, Antioxidants & Redox Signalling, vol. 17, no.2, pp. 327–339, < https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3353820/
Son, T, Camandola, S & Mattson, M 2008, ‘Hormetic dietary phytochemicals’, Neuromolecular Medicine, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 236–246, < https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2635914/ >
Nunn, C, Samson, D, & Krystal, A 2016, ‘Shining evolutionary light on human sleep and sleep disorders’, Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, vol. 1, pp. 227-243, < https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4972941/ >
Tuohy, K, Fava, F, & Viola, R 2014, ”The way to a man’s heart is through his gut microbiota’–dietary pro- and prebiotics for the management of cardiovascular risk’, The Proceedings of The Nutrition Society, vol. 73, no. 2, pp. 172-185, < http://www.ebschost.com >
Vyazovskiy, V, Walton, M, Peirson, S, & Bannerman, D 2017, ‘Sleep homeostasis, habits and habituation’, Current Opinion in Neurobiology, vol. 44, pp. 202-211, < http://www.ScienceDirect.com >
Zhou, L & Foster, J 2015, ‘Psychobiotics and the gut–brain axis: in the pursuit of happiness’, Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, vol. 11, pp. 715-723, < https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4370913/ >