Health & Nutrition
Health and Nutrition have been a focus of our attention. Many are considering alternative natural options and remedies.
Health & Nutrition
Why not have the Aha moment? The ‘Leaky gut’ concept and the Ah receptor inspired me to write about this evergreen topic. The Ah receptor protein has roles in regulating immunity, stem cell maintenance, and cellular differentiation We have undoubtedly contributed to the expansion and demand of psychologists, psychotherapists, and psychiatrists. Most dis-eases in our body begin with the gut. This occurs due to the leaky gut as the 60 trillion intra-epithelial lymphocytes fail to repair and neutralize the toxins from entering the bloodstream.
With modernization and lifestyle changes, nutrition, dietary fads were hyped and occupied a significant place in our lives. It was the fear of disease and death driving us towards nutrition and gym rather than a motivation to stay healthy and get rid of the unhealthy habits of over-eating. I might be a little harsh in my judgement; however, most of the dietary weight-loss programs fail due to a lack of consistency to change the habits which take a great deal of commitment and courage or even encouragement from loved ones.
Unfortunately, with the modern fast lifestyle, fast food companies boomed and promoted unhealthy products like burgers, pizzas, cigarettes, alcohol, coke, etc. Were the fats in the burgers added for taste or gut? Any consumption in moderation is always good; however excessive addictions, smoking, alcohol consumption puts the body at war rather than nourishment making it difficult to get rid of the symptoms leading to the disease.
Even if we proclaim ourselves to be modern, I still believe in the old-style herbal and natural remedies with little or no side effects. Did you know that kale, broccoli, salads (full of Vit C and K) are natural dopamine and serotonin enhancers? Avocados, nuts, cheese, milk, pineapple also help in the production of these happy brain chemicals. “Listen to your body first and then consult an expert. Your body will tell you what to eat, and throw out what it doesn’t need”, a comment I heard from a spiritual guru made me laugh and yet realize the profound truth in his statement. It works in many cases.
Old traditional Grandma’s home remedies in my house bring great results without side effects. Cardamom lifts and boosts up your mood naturally and is a good cure for mild depression. Bach flower remedies have proven to heal patients with emotional traumas, loss or grief, mood swings, depression, panic attacks, lack of confidence, low self-esteem issues.
The Ayurvedic concept of sattvic bhojan (quality meal) focuses on the concept you become what you eat. Anti-inflammatory spices like Turmeric, Triphala in daily cooking helps detox and increase the gut power, cleansing and healing holistically. Curcumin in Turmeric helps in improving memory and has proven to be a strong antioxidant in treating patients with Alzheimer’s and Cancer. Black pepper increases gut absorption several folds. Tripahla is a magic medicine for smokers, asthma, skin patients. Clove has antimicrobial qualities and protects us from Cancer.
Obesity and Cancer besides mental illness are the biggest killers- a consequence of our modern lifestyle and stress, status quo competition. We have been debating for years whether a Vegetarian or Non-vegetarian diet works in the long run and gives longevity, health, and disease-free bodies. Research has shown that heart disease can be reversed with simple lifestyle changes and a plant-based vegetarian diet. A broad study conducted on patients with Ischemic Heart Disease in 2017 showed massive improvement in physical and mental fitness and weight loss within 6 months and some patients dropped medication too. The patients were empowered with the benefits and knowledge of a plant-based diet.
Another study conducted by the clinical research unit from the University of Alabama Hospitals in Birmingham shows a great achievement in weight loss by monitoring the patients with LED(low energy density) meals with large amounts of milk, vegetables, grains, dried beans – minimum fat consumption. The other group was eating HED (high energy density) meals with large amounts of fat. The key difference between this trial and other weight loss approaches was the patient was informed to focus on diet rather than exercise.
Do we eat to live or live to eat? An important question that helps us reflect on major activities during the day. Food must become part of your system. Fish is the best choice, the simplest form of life during evolution, and the simplest energy code that can be metabolized by the body. Gradually, we become what we eat. So, the animal qualities of anger, rage find expression through the consumption of spicy or non-vegetarian food invariably. The simplest energy code will run farthest in evolution.
Some people are well informed and consciously making changes to the diet and lifestyle; however, a majority do struggle with breaking the habitual patterns and tend to divert to sugar, alcohol, food, shopping, pleasure addictions- the common happiness traps.
Ayurvedic ancient healing medicine evolved around 5000 years ago in India. Like Homeopathy, Naturopathy, it’s a holistic approach to health and wellness which depends on a delicate balance between mind, body, and spirit. The focus is on the balance of panchmahabhoota (5 elements) within the body which reflects in the external circumstances. Ayurvedic principles of conscious longevity not only boost your immunity and capacity for joy but also provide an approach to your health and life that helps you stay calm and rooted in your truth – no matter what life brings your way. Different tools of breathwork, meditation enhance self-awareness and increase neuroplasticity, boosts digestion and lymphatic drainage. It also aids in a transformational cleansing to boost stem- cell production and cellular anti-aging repair.
Ayurvedic philosophy shows how to tap into your most subtle, yet powerful self and your dharma or purpose. It helps you shift the physical and emotional patterns to bring balance and better health and connect with the healing power of your spirit.
Many yogis, saints have attained this blissful state of joy with sadhana(discipline). Yoga, Acupressure, Tai Chi, Qigong, EFT are some natural alternative forms of healing. Nutrition along with the above modalities practiced consistently can lead us to a healthy, balanced life.
Shelf value and modernization have led to more consumption of candy, soda, cereals which could cause inflammation in the body. Trans fats consumption through pastry, cakes, doughnuts leads to inflammation of adipose tissue. MSG – found in pre-packaged soups, fast foods trigger inflammation of the liver. Luckily, the usage has decreased due to mass awareness.
The low-fat craze took America and the whole world by storm Looking at the darker history of the Coco-cola conspiracy in 1955, caffeine- a mild stimulant and diuretic along with 55 mg salt is added/can. Sugar is added to hide the salt. Food companies knew low fat processed food is tasteless. To make it palatable, sugar was added. High carbohydrate food with fructose poisoned our system. Browning agents, fructose lead to atherosclerosis, CVD, etc.
50,000 years ago, humans consumed 100-300g fiber/day. Today we hardly consume 12-15 g fiber/day and substitute it with trans-fat, unfortunately. Kids with a can of soda tend to eat more as fructose doesn’t suppress hunger. Chronic fructose exposure causes metabolic syndrome and leads to Type 2 diabetes, obesity, liver, and heart diseases.
The recent COVID – 19 situation has turned our lives upside down. Nature’s way of warning us, not to take our mental, emotional, and physical health for granted.
For decades, researchers, scientists, nutritionists have been investigating public health from nutrition, mind, body, and mental health point of view. Undoubtedly, a healthy mind resides in a healthy body. In 2015, WHO compiled a list of widely feared diseases likely to cause severe outbreaks in near future.
Bushmeat could cause the next pandemic. This is a hugely complex problem where researchers and government agencies must educate people at greater risk to avoid eating bushmeat or infected meat. Salmonella, influenza, TB, HIV, SARS, EBOLA, and now COVID -19 all originated in animals and then transmitted to human beings. Despite social and cultural sensitivity, clear breaches in law need to be enforced to save our species. It certainly is a wake-up call for us.
As the old saying goes – Health is Wealth. Our health is our priority. Only we can indulge in self-care and choose to live a healthy, long life. With awareness and changes in lifestyle, all of us can certainly reduce mental illness. Soon, we can have many countries with healthy 101-year olds like Japan.
Disclaimer: The above article should be read as general information and remedies only and hence should not be considered specific or individual advice of social, medical, or legal nature. Please seek professional advice if needed.