Prime Nutrition – The First Choice in Life
In this world of a gazillion diet plans, we often tend to forget a much more important factor: water. Water is the baseline of any good diet. And the real gurus would raise one thing even higher than water: oxygen. It’s the “vitamin O” that truly keeps us going.
In general, one could conclude that the more we consume something (like consuming more staple foods than superfoods, and more oxygen than water), the more important it is to our health. And for this very reason I’m making a bold argument that there’s something even more important than oxygen. It’s more important than anything else, and we tend to neglect it more than any of the other items I’ve mentioned. I’m not trying to be a besserwisser or one-up yet again; rather, I’m raising a “What if?” type of question. I call this factor I’m talking about “prime nutrition.” It’s the first thing to change before beginning any diet or lifestyle design process. It’s your mind.
More and more evidence shows that most illnesses are influenced by our emotions. Acne, heart diseases, and headaches are just a few examples. Emotions have an especially strong effect on our digestion, immunity, body temperature, sleep rhythm, sexual desire, thirst, appetite, and pain threshold. For better or for worse. You see, our thoughts produce positive and negative chemical reactions in our body. The centerpiece of all this is our limbic system. It’s a primitive part of the brain, linked to emotions and moods.Changes in the limbic system cause reactions in both the nervous system and endocrine (hormonal) system. Big things.
I don’t mean to push this article toward a discussion of chakras, spiral energies or other such things, but rather to take a more practical look. I just want to cover a few examples of how much our thoughts affect our dietary objectives. After all, the diet we follow is always based on some objective or other – desire for tasty food, response to social pressures, weight loss, muscle building, living ethically, etc. With that in mind, I’ll next introduce four primary nutrition “foods” to help you in the pursuit of your dietary objectives.
Falling in love
When human beings fall in love, their whole physiology changes. Being love-struck makes your palms sweat; you feel pressure in the chest; you might experience strong mood swings. Despite the brief moments of obsessive thought it may bring, falling in love is a very positive thing. It will boost your metabolism better than any trendy cayenne-matcha-CLA-blend diet capsule. So in a way, it’s ideal for weight loss. Many who fall in love experience a powerful and lasting feeling of flow and happiness, even forgetting that they need to eat regularly. Their increased hormonal activity (especially dopamine production) can compensate for the lack of food. Love is one of strongest primary nutrition sources, actually so strong that some people “overdose” on it – an event that has been found to lead to various mental illnesses. But just like most awesome stuff in life, love is good for your body, in moderate doses.
Having the blues
We all occasionally feel a bit down. When this is continued for a longer time, we sometimes even become depressed. This is a powerful feeling, where our mind (psycho) can make our body (soma) sick – psychosomatic illness. According to a few reports, the list of physical reactions to depression is long; it includes fatigue, insomnia, joint pain, digestive issues, weight fluctuation, dizziness, headaches, and sore muscles. So naturally, when something has the power to change our physiology so much, we need to manage it – and adjust the rest of our diet accordingly, if that’s feasible. Having the blues can reduce your physical activity, so you might need to adjust your energy consumption during this time. Also, in my own experience, the need for things like vitamin C and D might increase dramatically.
Anger and anxiety
We all know how it feels when our hot temper gets the best of us. Tight work deadlines or bad customer service can tear even a positive person to pieces. As a former management consultant living in Paris, I know something about both of these things. Anger and anxiety are bad for our heart and for our skin. They can raise our blood pressure, depress the immune system, cause stomach pain, and lead to heart problems. For a brief time, the feeling of being rushed might increase hormonal system activity, but when prolonged, it’s definitely not good for us. The racing heart, clenched fists, trembling body, sweating hands, and hot flashes eventually have severe harmful effects on the body. Cooling foods like coconut water and berries could help.
The flip side of the angry/anxious coin is being super happy. It’s very similar to love, but with a little less tension. A happy person tends to have a lower heart rate and lower stress hormone (cortisol) levels. The former is linked with better cardiovascular health, while the latter guards against type II diabetes. The World Health Organization and the world’s public health researchers have focused quite a lot on this “happiness effect.” Even in these depressing economic times, a happy person tends to do well. Following the example of Bhutan, many countries are beginning to pursue a program of “feeding”their citizens happy economic policies. So I guess laughter is the best medicine in the world, after all!
So what can you do to maximize your primary nutrition? Well, because of the clear mind-body connection, it’s a two-way street. In addition to the obvious step of working to change your mental focus, you can also go the other way. Here are few examples of how to increase your positive primary nutrition:
- Take long walks in nature.
- Talk openly about life with friends you trust.
- Go for a nice, soothing massage.
- Book a day in a spa and enjoy the warm baths.
- Introduce aromatherapy to your life. Feelings and aromas are linked. The sense of smell influences the nervous system.
- Learn mindfulness.
- Spend time with happy people. Studies show that just as spending time with obese people can influence your own weight, time spent with happy friends increases the chances of your own happiness.
Wishing you a positive spring,
Full disclaimer: Humans can experience both positive and negative emotions. I believe that there are no “wrong” emotions, but that there might be some wrong (harmful) emotional responses. These are counter-productive and can lead to various unpleasant situations. We at LUONTOlife are not doctors or psychotherapists, and thus we are not in any position to give you direct medical advice. We just hope that you will seek professional help if needed, and otherwise try not to allow negative emotions get the best of you. Namaste!