Blog 4.0: Three keys to Wellness
In the previous 2 posts, we have focused primarily on nutrition and its effects on health. We have seen how animal foods undermine our health and how plant based foods promote our health. But to foster health and wellness, 2 other crucial components are needed – exercise and meditation. For optimal health and wellbeing, one must keep the body active and the mind still.
Exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, offers tremendous benefits for physical health and mental health. It really does not matter, what form of exercise you choose, whether it’s running, swimming, bicycling, basketball, kick boxing or Yoga. Pick an activity that’s fun for you and one that you can do on a regular basis. Exercise not only burns calories aiding in weight management, but also lowers your blood pressure and increases HDL(the good cholesterol), leading to better cardiac health. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389
Furthermore, exercise lifts your mood. It releases chemicals (endorphins) in the brain that make you feel happy. Exercise reduces production of stress hormones which leads to reduced anxiety and depression. It also promotes better sleep and boosts our energy. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercising-to-relax
The third crucial element in fostering and maintaining health and wellness is meditation. Practicing meditation just 15-20 minutes a day can actually change the structure of our brain(Neuroplasticity) for the better. Meditation reduces production of stress hormones. As in exercise, this alleviates many chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease and chronic pain. Furthermore, meditation has been shown to alter gene expression. Genes that fight infection, reduce inflammation, and eliminate diseased or cancerous cells are all turned on by meditation. http://www.foodmatters.com/article/7-health-benefits-of-meditation
Lastly, the structural and functional changes in the brain following meditation give us inner peace and a sense of harmony which fosters greater empathy and compassion.
By feeding our body nutrient-rich plant foods, keeping our body active with regular exercise and relaxing our mind with daily meditation, we can undoubtedly foster health and wellness in a holistic way. In our next blog, we will discuss practical tips on how to make changes towards a healthy lifestyle.