An Integrative Approach to National Nutrition Month
March is National Nutrition Month. This annual campaign draws national attention to the importance of making healthy food choices, combined with making time for new, or, better physical activity habits. Inspired by this year’s theme, “Go Further With Food,” I am writing this blog post to address the subject with my personal integrative approach which incorporates the whole self - mind, body, spirit and core. A few simple adjustments to your daily life can have a huge impact and make you feel better and function better.
A Healthy Mind
Look after your body and your mind will also function well. The history of human evolution shows a definitive link between our physical health and our psychological well-being. As the brain is a muscle like any other, challenge it and exercise your brain by reading, learning a new language or skill, playing chess, traveling and exploring other cultures. People with strong minds live a richer and more fulfilling life.
Meditation and mindfulness have a profound effect on the mind. Start with a morning ritual of meditation/mindful breathing for just 10 minutes. When you meditate, you are giving your mind time to clear, reformat itself for all the new information that is going to be taken in that day. Meditating also reduces stress and anxiety and promotes cognitive brain function.
A Healthy Body
Humans were made to MOVE. We must have daily physical activity. So, even if there’s no time for a full-blown workout, at least walk, move, and stretch for 20 minutes a day.
There is truth to the adage that a sound body leads to a sound mind.
Food is fuel. There is a very strong connection between what goes in your body to how your brain performs. Commit to a diet of whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables & healthy fats. Fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, help keep the waste elimination system moving. Your body knows what food to reject. So does your brain.
A Healthy Spirit
While I promote the essential value of the physical “core,” I give as much emphasis to your recognizing the core of your being - the source of who you are. This is your essence which gives your life meaning, purpose, direction, and joy.
Surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself - friendships and relationships that are rooted in love. Establish and nurture a strong social network to reduce isolation and stress and stimulate the brain through shared learning experiences and emotional connections.
Recognize your individual nature and spirit and allow yourself to be who you are. Know your value and share it with the world!
A strong mind combined with a strong body and positive attitude equals good health!
A Healthy Core
Your core is key to a healthy body inside and out.
You must protect and strengthen your spine to promote optimal function and prevent pain and injury. Since the core is 360 degrees, choose exercise systems that focus on alignment and core strength and stability, like Pilates or Yoga.
Along with your abdominal muscles, the muscles in your pelvis and hips and around your spine support your organs and stabilize your back, providing a solid center for your entire body. Perfecting your posture through core strength and stability can lead to a life free of back pain and the potential for injury.
When you provide better support for your spine, you take the pressure off discs, bones, nerves, and joints, and enjoy a healthier, optimal lifestyle.
As National Nutrition Month comes to a close, you can stay the course! Meditate. Maintain your body’s chemistry with healthy foods, feed your spirit with love and kindness, and improve your posture. Keep your whole self on track: Mind, Body, Spirit and Core.
I encourage purposeful action, and the development of mind-body awareness so you can harness and utilize both an intellectual and a physical aspect of the core’s function.
For more on this, read ‘De-Mystifying ‘The Core.’
Looking for more tips on being your best healthy self? Check out my post, “10 Tips for Being Your Best Self.”
Celebrate your steps toward optimal health, however small they may be!