Good Nutrition: Essential to Your Success!

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Anna-Cajsa JohanssonBy Anna-Cajsa Johansson

What are some of the main things that you can start and stop doing today to ensure you are successful both professionally and in your personal life?

When the pressure is on, the things that you choose to nurture yourself with will make the difference between staying strong or crumbling.

To keep both your mind and your body in a position where you can operate at a high capacity and efficiency, build a loving relationship with food full of enjoyment, and place a high value on the choosing and preparation of it. This is what is going to be part of you as your cells regenerate, using nutrients as materials.

How can you ensure that you nutritionally support yourself in a way that enhances your health and   helps to prevent the serious conditions that effect women’s health? Here are a few musts that will significantly help along the way.

Stop: Bad fats – Start: Good fats

Good for; Cardiovascular, Intestinal conditions, Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Inflammation

For a long time we have been led to believe that high fat content is bad when what we should be concerned about are the types of fat we eat.

The bad…

Hydrogenated fats – These are not natural, processed chemically, and used broadly as they are cheap. They are difficult, at best, for the body to metabolise and can become stuck in the system as the body isn’t able to use it and dispose of in the usual way. Due to their effect on blood circulation, they can significantly contribute towards cardiovascular disease.

Trans fats – have been altered by chemicals or heat and can in similar ways to the above not be digested by the body. As examples, trans fats are often in processed or deep fried foods as well as crisps and are very bad news, as it raises the ‘bad’ LDL and lowers the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol linking to heart disease.

Margarine – contains additives and is highly synthetic so it has adverse effect on your health. The body will struggle to process the substance and will cause more health issues.

The good…

Butter – is natural and a great source of vitamins (A, D, E and K), minerals and healthy fatty acids. It has a perfect balance between omega-3 and omega-6.  Butter also contains butyric acid which is an anti-carcinogenic and also works to help regulate metabolism as well as decreases inflammation. Always buy organic dairy where you can as non-organic produce often carry traces of hormones, antibiotics, herbicides and pesticides.

Coconut oil/butter – which you can use in the same ways as butter, has a unique combination of fatty acids making it both amazingly nutritional but also medicinal. Along with being useful for brain disorders, containing lauric acid that helps kill bacteria, viruses and fungi, it that actually increases the amount of fat you burn, lowers bad cholesterol and it is delicious to cook with. Coconut is one of the best things you can use as cooking fat as the heat doesn’t damage it.

Avocado – contains an abundance of nutrients including 20 different vitamins and minerals. They are a great source of potassium which helps reduce blood pressure. Loaded with powerful antioxidants that are beneficial for healthy eyes avocados are a great source of fibre.  Other great sources of good fats are nuts, seeds and cold pressed oils.

Stop: Processed food – Start: Raw foods

Good for: Prevention of cancer; Reducing free radicals; Nutrients; Immune system; Digestion

Processed food, food that contains artificial and refined ingredients, and do no good for your health. Usually full of sugars and processed salt, discussed further below these foods are often produced using artificial flavouring to trigger a strong response in your brain creating a craving for it.

You lose most of the nutrients by overcooking vegetables while gently steaming them for a few minutes means that you get a lot more of what your body needs to stay strong. A natural compound that is present in organic fruit and vegetables, savlesterol, is suggested to trigger an enzyme that will cause cancer cells to break down. Going a step further and including raw elements in every meal is a great way to boost your health.

To include raw foods in your diet has extensive benefits and means you can avoid some harm too;

  • Higher content of C and B vitamins, sensitive to heat they are often lost when cooked
  • Higher in nutrients
  • Benefits your skin as beta carotene, high levels in tomatoes and carrots when raw, digestion turns this to vitamin A which stimulates cell growth, and build collagen which promotes skin elasticity
  • Good fats can become bad fats if baked or fried
  • Half the protein is lost in protein rich foods
  • Cooking carbohydrates and protein at high temperatures causes carcinogens to form

Stop: Stimulants – Start: Mediation and Herbal Teas

Good for: Inflammation; Mineral absorption; Organs; Self-awareness; Stress levels; Digestion

Tea and coffee  there are some benefits of coffee but it also affects mineral absorption and hydration in a negative way and releases stress hormone in to the system. This means issues like anxiety and tension can increase. If coffee is something you really enjoy then keep enjoying it but it might make a big difference to your health if you cut down the amount you have to a couple of times a week and also consider always having it after a protein rich meal as this will help your body process it.

Sugar – is often strongly associated with the most common serious illnesses that affect us, heart disease, cancer diabetes and obesity. Its effects on blood sugar levels and metabolism, as well as the liver, are extensive. Processed foods mentioned above are often full of sugars to create flavour.  Sugar links to the inflammatory response, causing reactions in the body. For more on this please see Migrant Woman Issue No.8 – article on Allergy and Tolerance.

Alcohol – takes a lot for the body to process, especially for your liver and it also has high sugar content. There are serious conditions relating to large quantities but also at a limited but regular use there are some side effects in that it inhibits the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals.

Meditation will help you stop craving stimulants and get you feeling more in harmony and stronger overall. It has been proven to; help overcome stress, increase your libido, improve digestion, lower blood pressure, decrease the risk of a heart attack, help deal with anxiety, depression and more.   Some other good practices that will support in this way are Yoga, Mindfulness and Chi Kung.

Herbal teas are a great way to increase the intake of antioxidants and they make great remedies when drunk a few times a day.

Stop: Emotional Eating – Start: Mindful Nurturing

Good for: Maintaining a Healthy Weight; Absorption of Nutrients; Avoiding Digestive Issues

Emotions, stress and food – We look for fullness, a feeling that settles our mind and brings contentment as well as pleasure. There is an aspect of this where we use food to temporarily try to create that feeling, for removing stress, or giving comfort or reward. Including junk food and sugary food, we call this emotional eating and it is not a long term solution. It doesn’t fix the underlying emotional issue and it also creates feelings of guilt as well as being very unhealthy for our bodies.

This search for fullness is a big part of the feminine side of us all. Keeping stress levels down by looking after yourself physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, with practice, is another key factor.

Take the time to prepare your food – when cooking for one don’t make this an excuse to have a ready meal. You are the most important person in your life, prepare and cook with love as you would when cooking for others that you love.

Eat your meals in a nice and relaxed setting – In front of the TV is a no, especially watching the news, as what you are taking in along with the food is also what you are nourishing yourself with. Don’t eat your meal when feeling angry or distressed. A ‘fight or flight’ response is activated, body processes will shut down which are deemed as less important in face of the perceived danger, and the digestive process is one of these.

Chew your food properly – about 30-35 times in fact. We often rush or are preoccupied while eating. You will increase the amount of nutrients absorbed, better digestion avoiding problems like constipation and bloating. It will help you maintain a healthy weight.  It takes a certain amount of time for you to register that you are full so you are less likely to over eat and more likely to maintain a healthy weight if you take the time to chew properly. You’ll eat less and get more from it.

Spend a moment eating with your eyes before starting your meal and if it feels appropriate to you, express your gratitude for your food.

Before you go…

In choosing what you eat you have the power to gain control over many aspects of your health, to protect yourself from illness and to remove unnecessary worry and confusion of your mind. After all, to be able to look after people in our life we have to look after ourselves first.

You get back what you put in. Professionally we know this, we know it when it comes to exercising the physical body, our thoughts and our mind. Nutrition needs to be considered in the same way. Consume food and drinks that strengthen our energy rather than draining it.

MORE INFO

The topic is only introduced here and could be discussed in much greater length. Any request for further information, support or questions in regards to the above are welcome.

Anna-Cajsa Johansson at vilaterapies@gmail.com

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