Well Being; the Connection between Mind, Body and Soul Is Essential to Our Overall Feeling of Good Health. Here in Part One of Our Series Taken from the Bodyshop Book Wellbeing We Bring You Ways to Improve Your Life by Improving the Way You Feel
THE MIND-BODY CONNECTION
A sense of wellbeing rests on a direct and harmonious relationship between mind and body. Stress can challenge that harmony - not the short-term stress that excites and inspires us, but the long-term stress that makes us physically and emotionally ill. The trick is to recognise and understand our responses to the pressures of modern life.
The over-production of hormones that results from long-term exposure to stress can disrupt the normal functioning of the mind and body, leading to a host of symptoms from indigestion and aching muscles to anxiety, anger and depression.
There is also evidence that stress affects the immune system making you more vulnerable to infections. You must learn to relax and identify what it is that is causing you stress. Focus on the problem, not the feeling it leaves you with. Take control - the worst thing is to feel that you are a victim of circumstances.
It's not only what you eat, but also how you eat that makes you healthy. In general, there is one simple guide to good eating - the less the food has been processed, the more it benefits your body. Eating wholefoods gives you not only vitamins and minerals, but also phytochemicals. These give plants their colour, taste and defence against the damaging rays of the sun and are being touted as the vitamins of the Nineties.
It normally takes high-fibre foods 12 to 24 hours to pass through your intestines. Meat takes about 48 hours and in an elderly person it can take up to two weeks. To test your intestines, eat lightly-cooked or raw corn on the cob. Try to swallow the kernels whole. You will be able to see them in your bowel movement. Measure the time from eating the corn to your movement to see how well your intestines are working. Most common problems arise from the intestines being too slow - toxins can develop which are absorbed into your blood. We need 37g of fibre per day to achieve a healthy intestine and regular bowel movement.
GRAINS AND VEGETABLES
A diet high in fibrous foods such as brown rice, pasta, couscous, bread, vegetables and fruit will help maintain a healthy system. Try to eat grains and vegetables at every meal. This will ensure that you have the basic ingredients for health.
Eat a wide variety of foods to ensure you get the nutrients you need and increase your ability to feel satisfied after each meal.
The body produces free radicals, toxic molecules of oxygen, in its fight against bacteria, but the molecules also oxidise - literally rust - the body's healthy cells. They are implicated in everything from cancer to the ageing process. But you can combat free radicals with a diet rich in antioxidant nutrients. The most common are vitamins A (beta-carotene in carrots and broccoli), C and E, and the minerals selenium, zinc, manganese and copper. The average Western diet can be naturally low in selenium, which means a supplement may be valuable (vitamin E helps its absorption). And so many people will undoubtedly find it reassuring that red wine is a good source of copper - which may help explain why the French have Europe's longest life expectancy.
All of us are exposed to pollutants that are toxic to our bodies. They are present in the foods we eat, the liquids we drink and the air we breathe. In the long term and in large quantities they are associated with increased risks of cancer so it is helpful to find ways to eliminate them from your body. Turn the page for some suggestions.
Laughter relaxes tense muscles, eases tiredness and stimulates circulation. It even helps fight off infection and viruses by raising levels of immunoglobin A in the blood, which helps promote the activity of the white blood cells that are part of the body's natural defence system. Who would have thought that a reaction which is so universal could pack such a positive punch? …