As you work to stay centered and cultivate inner calm and peace, it is important to also evaluate what you put into your body. We discussed messages and media last week, and this week I want to dive deeper into the link between nutrition and mental health. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, or an all-around omnivore, the composition of your body as a human means you are subject to certain tendencies based on the correlation between what you eat and how your body will break down those materials.
For starters, one area almost all of us are deficient in is hydration. The word has been out about how good water is for us, but are you aware of why? Two thirds of your body’s composition is made up of water, so hydrating yourself serves to replenish and preserve your body’s organs and tissues. Something else that is true is that water is the vehicle through which nutrients move from our digestive tract and into our cells for use. If you take a multivitamin or eat copious amounts of fresh produce to stay healthy, your body could be missing out on some of the nutrients you are seeking without proper hydration.
There is an adage that the number of ounces one should drink a day is equivalent to half their body weight, but quantities like this only scratch the surface of what your body could really use. One gallon of H2O per day consistently can help your body stay at peak performance with sufficient flushing of the kidneys and liver. Other benefits to drinking a gallon of water a day include clearer skin, healthier hair, and better colon health. The importance of good hydration is doubled for women who are pregnant to ensure optimal health for mom and baby.
Next, while processed foods taste amazing, and are often the most convenient to access, processed foods can weigh our bodies down in more ways than one. The least processing the better when it comes to ingesting foods that agree with our bodies as processing (by way of preserving or otherwise altering) often means the inclusion of additional fats, oils, sodium, and sugars we receive. While those items alone are not harmful, keeping their quantities low should be a priority for everyone. Overconsumption of sodium, sugar, and oils increases the risk for developing hypertension, diabetes, and hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol).