Am I healthy?
Everyone needs to be healthy. There is not a single logical person on this planet who should not want to have a properly functioning body. A healthy body is more likely to lead to fewer illnesses and a longer life.
So how do you know if your body is healthy? And, if it’s not healthy, how can you get healthy?
Well the answer is simple…
If you are taking care of yourself properly, keeping your body nourished through optimum nutrition, hydrated through sufficient water consumption and strong through regular exercise, then you are more than likely maintaining a healthy body.
If you cannot honestly say that you are doing these things, find some quick and easy tips on how to nourish your body below.
Obesity and excess weight are significant problems in the modern age – both for the person affected and for the NHS. Eating a poor diet (e.g. high in saturated fat, refined sugar, synthetic ingredients etc), comprised largely of ready-meals and other “fast” or convenience foods, is one of the most common ways in which you may be failing your health. Such foods are nutrient-poor, providing empty calories that not only fail to nourish your body, but can actually actively run you down. Many of the elements in these food types are “anti-nutrients”, meaning they can sap your body of nutrients, making you more unhealthy and more prone to illness.
The other side of the coin are those people who fail to eat enough (or at least enough of the right things) on a daily basis, because they fear putting on weight or are just short on time. It is not all about quantity; it is also about quality. Starving yourself is never the road to good health. Once again, this can lead to a body that is badly in need of nutrients. In reality, the best way to achieve a healthy body through optimum nutrition is to ensure that you are properly fuelled, with a good number of calories from nutrient-dense foods.
To achieve this, you actually need to eat a reasonable amount of food a day. Of course, depending on your body type, lifestyle and any health conditions, you may have to eat more or less of a particular food group or type. But the general rule of thumb is to eat three good meals a day, with a couple of healthy snacks in-between, to promote a healthy metabolism and prevent your body from going into “starvation mode” and clinging on to its fat reserves. In other words, by providing your body with the food (nutrients) it needs to function correctly, it will actually promote not only better immunity, higher energy levels and enhanced state of mind, but also healthy weight loss which will naturally follow.
One of the most important aspects of building a healthy body through optimum nutrition is ensuring a regular supply of quality protein – the nutrient that provides the building blocks of our bodies. Review your daily diet and consider if there is enough protein in it. What type of protein are you eating? All proteins are not equal. Animal sources, for example, the most common protein source, provide protein that is high in saturated fat. It can also be high in contaminants such as antibiotics, medication etc, that have been administered to the animal. Animal protein, does however, offer a source of complete protein – i.e. protein that contains all of the essential amino acids required by our bodies.
The key is to seek protein sources that are not only low in saturated fat, but are also high in dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals, beneficial oils and digestive enzymes. Ideally, these sources should also provide a complete amino acid profile. From this perspective, fish and plant protein (foods such as legumes, hemp, wheatgrass, soy and rice) can offer some of the best sources. Plant-based sources of protein are not always complete and balanced, but you can achieve this through careful meal planning and ingredient combinations. Alternatively, you can supplement your diet with a high-quality, preferably organic, protein powder, for a reliable source of complete and balanced plant protein. And this way you don’t have to eat a mountain of vegetables to achieve the desired amount of protein every day!
By adding high-quality protein to your diet on a regular basis, you should have higher energy levels and a faster metabolism. If the source is plant-based, you will also benefit from the greater level of nutritional input in the form of phyto-nutrients, fibre, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats.
Vitamins and minerals
This leads on to ensuring that your body is getting enough nutrients on a daily basis via all the other elements of your diet too. Coupled with regular exercise, doing so will be the best way to ensure a strong immune system. Vitamins and minerals, for example, are involved in every process in your body and so, ensuring appropriate intake will only naturally serve to enhance your health and vitality.
Eating a varied and well-balanced diet is the first and most obvious means of accessing vitamins and minerals. However, even the healthiest of foods no longer offer the nutritional content they once did (due to, for instance, intensive farming, long-distance food transportation, long shelf-lives etc). As such, to ensure the quality and range of nutrients you are consuming daily, you may wish to supplement your diet with vitamins and minerals in the form of capsules or food-based powders.
Regular body detoxification can also be a useful means of achieving a healthier body. Surrounded by environmental and other pollutants everywhere we go, coupled with poor dietary habits, use of medication etc, toxins naturally build up in our bodies over time. In many cases, this may overwhelm our body’s natural detoxification systems (such as the liver), leading to the accumulation of toxins in our systems. By doing regular cleanse and detox programmes, and exercising, you can make sure that you are clearing out your body and lessening its load. So start eating foods that are rich in dietary fibre – a natural ‘broom and sponge’ for the intestines. Fibre-rich foods help “pick up” all the toxins and other unwanted matter that can build-up in the gut, sweeping it out of the body as it leaves. Cleanse and detox supplements can also support such programmes.
Once you know how to practice healthier ways of living, and are familiar with them, it becomes far easier to follow them. So start practising healthier eating habits to get yourself on the fastest road to a healthier you.
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