19 Aug 2022

Healthy Living: Combat low moods - The five pillars of health

Healthy Living:  Combat low moods - The five pillars of health

Gentle exercise helps to circulate oxygen and nutrient rich blood to your cells, strengthening the body against illness

PRESCRIPTIONS of antidepressants are on the rise, and while they may help with some symptoms, a recent study showed that over time, these drugs are not associated with significantly better health-related quality of life, compared to people with depression who do not take the drugs.
Whether you choose pharmaceutical interventions or not, it is important to support your body from all angles; I call these the five pillars of health.

You are what you absorb…
The digestive system is like a root of a tree – absorbs our nutrients, eliminates toxins through it and houses 80% of our immune system - therefore the health of your entire body relies on the health of your gut! In turn, the health of your gut relies on the microbes that live there. Probiotics in fermented foods or supplements are daily requirements, and nourishing your microscopic helpers are the wide range of plants – the more types the merrier!

Blood sugar balance to control stress and energy
Stress hormones were designed for the short term to help you survive, but long-term chronic activation leads to nutrient depletion, sleep and mood disorders, even inflammatory conditions. A simple way to help control stress is by balancing blood sugar levels – due to the intimate relationship of Insulin with Cortisol. Avoid simple sugars and stimulants, focus on protein and essential fats in every meal and snack – especially breakfast, to slow the absorption of natural carbohydrates. Think eggs, fish, meat, legumes, nuts and ground seeds.

Control inflammation – control disease
One of the major mediators of all diseases is chronic inflammation. The foods you eat can add fuel to the fire or put it out. Chemicals (eaten or applied to the skin), processed foods, trans fats and sugar all lead to more inflammation. On the other hand, Omega 3 and antioxidant rich foods and sufficient water intake may reduce inflammation. Oily fish, mango, avocado, papaya, pineapple, rosemary and turmeric are probably the most effective foods.

Not just WHAT you eat, but HOW…
Rushing a meal while trying to work will lead to fermentation in the gut, instead of digestion. If you can’t break down your food, you will not absorb it, but feed the toxin-producing bad microbes living inside your gut, fueling inflammation. Practice mindfulness at meal times; take a moment to focus your sensory organs on the meal, sending messages to your brain to activate digestion. Chew well and use your saliva, full of digestive enzymes, to moisten your food.

Body, mind & spirit
Your lifestyle has much to do with your wellbeing. Gentle exercise helps to circulate oxygen and nutrient rich blood to your cells, strengthening the body against illness. Make sure you include stretching and relaxation also. We’re living in an information-overload world. Studies show that we need a complete switch off a few times during the day to be able to deactivate stress responses. Deep breathing, meditation, prayer and gratitude activate your happy hormones, assisting your healing powers.

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