What is health? Some refer to health as to have a ripped body, others define health as the absence of disease. We all have different standards of what we think we should feel like when we are living a healthy life. When talking about health, most of us think of physical health.
But what about mental health?
If we look around us, our society seems to experience more and more physical complaints, without a clear physical cause. Many of us seem to accept it as a fact of life; to be tired, to regularly have a headache or to feel depressed and moody. Almost everyone seems to experience these ailments, without a clearly definable physical issue or condition. Maybe the mind-body connection really has an influence on our health?
If there is one thing I have learned on my journey of becoming a Holistic Health Expert, it is that we should never settle for poor health, but always go to the root of the cause. Most of the time it is a combination of both physical and mental causes. And unfortunately, you can’t only address one part of the problem – if you do, it will only be a temporary relief.
Of course, there are always exceptions. We can’t prevent all diseases and sometimes, we have bad luck and get ill. But most of the time, our lifestyle plays a major role in the origin of a disease.
How Natural Supplements Fit In
When we have committed ourselves to a healthier lifestyle and are eager to find our personal foundation, there are multiple factors to be aware of: sleep, exercise, me-time, eating lots of greens and whole foods, for example.
A more specific factor is the shortage of micronutrients. It is an underestimated issue that often isn’t taken seriously.The most commonly made mistake is that eating lots of (organic) fruits and veggies will provide you all the nutrients you need.
Unfortunately, our crops these days maintain 60-80% fewer nutrients than a couple of decades ago. This is where micronutrients and natural supplements become of interest.
So, taking suitable natural supplements has become an important factor in improving our health. However, a healthy foundation doesn’t stop at counting micronutrients. We must look much deeper first, at our lifestyles, our habits, and our thought patterns.
Treating symptoms or changing lifestyles?
Our current health system is mainly based on the treatment of symptoms. Even though scientific evidence and practice shows that most Western diseases originate from a poor lifestyle, it is not something that is integrated when we go to see the doctor. Times are changing, and I do think that our system will integrate more preventive health, but we still have a long way to go.
So for now, that means we need to change the way we look at health and take our own responsibility in the origin of a disease. It means we need to take an honest look in the mirror and ask ourselves:
“Am I really in tune with my body? Do I take a break when I’m tired? Do I eat lots of greens and drink enough water? When I feel under the weather, do I take extra nutrients and pour myself some ginger tea, or do I keep running the rat race without taking a rest?”.
Taking responsibility for our health
The choices we make in these everyday situations, define if we feel more vital and create a stronger immune system or if we become weaker and experience more illness. The path we choose to take in these matters is something we have control over, but many people find that a scary thought and rather bury one’s head in the sand.
I personally think it’s one of the greatest gifts we have as human beings; our ability to take responsibility for our own health. Of course, there are always exceptions and sometimes we get sick even though we have done everything in our power to maintain a healthy lifestyle. But most of the time, when it comes to our health, we ourselves are the ones responsible.
Lifestyle, whole foods, exercise, rest and sleep should be our baseline, our personal foundation we can always go back to.
What that foundation looks like, is up to you – you have got to want to learn about and respect your own body. And that’s a journey that asks for some commitment. It is not a matter of following a diet for six weeks so you will lose some body fat or buying a gym membership and becoming a silent member. It asks for a daily routine, something you can maintain throughout your life. But it also involves gaining knowledge about your body, so you become the expert of your own health.
The influence of mind-body connection on our health
Our bodies are highly intelligent. Our hearts know how to pulse regularly, we breathe most of the time without even thinking about it, every cell in our body renews every couple of years. It is our mind that wants to have control over everything, but most of the time it is just a matter of tuning in and being true to ourselves; what does my body need? That is what we call the mind-body connection.
In our current society, many people have lost their mind-body connection. We are unlearning how to feel our feelings, listen to body signals and trust our gut feeling. The media provides us many unrealistic images of how we should live our lives and how we should be feeling or what we should look like. That is pure toxin to our brain because when we start to see something as the truth, our body will respond to that image.
For example: have you ever experienced waking up in the morning, feeling great, full of energy until someone walks up to you and says: “Are you feeling okay? You look a little tired and pale.” After hearing these words, you most likely feel different than when you woke up. Perhaps telling yourself that you indeed should have gotten more sleep, aren’t rested enough, telling yourself that it’s most likely that you do feel tired.
This is how strong our mind-body connection is. It can make us feel different within a split second.
Our emotional state influences our physical state and vice versa. All physical symptoms have an emotional element. When we are injured, for instance, we feel the pain physically, psychologically and emotionally. The injury can make us feel anxious, sad or distressed. These emotions may result in less activity because of fear that we will be in more pain if we move. Over time, this may result in muscle loss and deconditioning because of inactivity. The stress that we experience can also impact our body’s ability to absorb nutrients and transport them to where they are needed. Mental stress can slow down or healing progress.
When we understand this part of the mind-body connection, we can benefit from it and use it to optimize recovery. If we focus on positive thoughts, through meditation or visualization, for example, we can change our emotional state regarding the injury. And by changing our mental conditioning we also positively affect the physical body, enabling the body to absorb nutrients (from natural supplements for example) better and heal more efficiently.
Natural Supplements to Improve Your Health – Important Facts
What are micronutrients?
Micronutrients are one of the major groups of nutrients your body needs. They include vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Vitamins and minerals are necessary for energy production, immune function, metabolism, growth, bone health, fluid balance and dozens of other processes. They are crucial for how we experience our daily health.
Micronutrients and our food
Scientific research shows that in the coming decades we won’t run out of food, but we will run out of nutritious food. Climate change, soil pollution, chemicals, air pollution; all these issues contribute to the lack of micronutrients in our nutrition. And if it’s not in our food, we won’t get the nutrients we need into our body.
What else influences our micronutrient levels?
The quality of our food is one thing. But there are more factors that have an influence on our micronutrient levels. When we experience stress, whether it’s physical or mental stress, our body needs more nutrients. Especially vitamin C and magnesium levels are drained when we are under a lot of stress. We won’t notice that right away, it can take months or years for us to experience physical or mental issues. But once we do, it’s a long way back to our original state of health. Therefore, it is better to prevent shortages and use the right kind of natural supplements on a daily basis.
How to choose natural supplements?
Before you start using supplements, it is recommended to run a blood test. Just to see what the condition of your micronutrient level is. From there, you will have a baseline. After a couple of months, you can run a new blood test and if you are using the right supplements, you should see a difference in the test; levels should have gone up. But most of all, you should be feeling a difference yourself.
Natural or synthetic supplements?
Many people take vitamins but don’t notice any physical difference. That is a sign that the supplements you are taking are probably synthetic and can’t be properly absorbed by the body. There is a big difference when it comes to the quality of supplements. Unfortunately, many claims can be very misleading, and you can’t base your decision by just looking at the label.
There is a big difference between natural and synthetic vitamins. Natural vitamins are made out of whole foods, synthetic vitamins are created in a lab with no natural origin. One of the biggest differences is that synthetic vitamins are isolated molecules, while natural vitamins contain a broad spectrum of many different active molecules that are all necessary for optimal absorption.
There is no one definition of health. We can say good health is a personal standard. Every individual needs to lay a personal foundation. The intake of micronutrients has an impressive impact on this personal foundation and feeling of health. There is a lot to learn about the origin and importance of vitamins and minerals. Personal trainers, holistic lifestyle coaches, yoga teachers, and other health care professionals are the ones people turn to when seeking to improve their health.
As health professionals, we play a very important role in guiding our clients to optimal health. Gaining knowledge about the importance of micronutrients and different supplements will optimize our expertise. Whether you’re a nurse, fitness instructor, physical therapist or yoga teacher; we all have clients that use (or should use) vitamins on a daily basis.
If not used properly, it can influence their health in a negative way, which then influences our work. We can aid our clients by giving them the proper, scientific evidence and our personal knowledge so they can use supplements in a beneficial way.