Good Health: The Basics

Good Health Series: Part 1                   By Cynthia DeWitte

Tabitha on skateboardThere is no instant formula for achieving and maintaining good health. There is no magic pill, despite the fact that almost half of all Americans have used at least one prescription within the last month. This does not include the over the counter drugs that the vast majority of us use. Drugs are seldom going to make us healthy. In order to be healthy, one must address the underlying issues to good health and live a healthy lifestyle.  According to Walter C. Willett, “we have been able to identify modifiable behavioral factors, including specific aspects of diet, overweight, inactivity, and smoking that account for over 70% of stroke and colon cancer, over 80% of coronary heart disease, and over 90% of adult-onset diabetes.” In other words, most of the problem with poor health is something we have control over. This is great news! There are things we can do to increase our health and prevent most chronic disease through healthy lifestyle choices. The question then is; what choices can increase the likelihood of living a long and healthy life? 

Think about how our bodies operate and what we need to keep them in top operational status. The human body is comprised of about 65% water making it the most necessary nutrient of all. We need plenty of water. The human body needs fuel, chemicals and minerals to produce reactions in the body to keep it working properly. The body needs to move to keep the muscles and joints in good working order. The body needs sleep to repair and rejuvenate and possibly to defrag the brain.  More important than water even is air. We need clean air to breathe all the time or our bodies will not be able to function at all within a few short minutes. The answer to getting and staying healthy is to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes these factors; plenty of water, good nutrition, exercise and sleep. It also includes avoiding unhealthy practices like eating processed foods, leading a sedentary lifestyle and not having positive relationships. Other important things that contribute to a healthy lifestyle are a vibrant spiritual life and involvement in community. All of these things work together to build a healthy body, soul and spirit. When any of them is missing, a person cannot have optimal health physically, emotionally and spiritually. 

Water Water by Kim

A human being can only survive a few days without water, but can go for weeks without food. Drinking enough water is necessary for:

  • Transporting nutrients to the cells and removing waste from the cells.
  • Digestion.
  • Temperature Control.
  • Lubrication for joints, between organs, in mucous membranes and more.
  • The synthesis of chemical compounds from raw materials taken into the body.        

In an extensive research paper by the National Academy of Sciences, it was found that an average of 11 cups of water from foods and beverages is necessary daily for women. Thirst is the body’s way of asking for water when it is already depleted. Do not wait until you feel thirsty to have a drink. If your work does not allow you to keep water with you at all times, make sure to drink plenty of fluids before work, during breaks and after work to ensure enough water to properly hydrate your body. 

In order to get enough water throughout the day, keep a glass of water near at all times. Sip and refill throughout the day. If you have concerns about spilling water on your papers or other things, there are lots of options for glasses with lids. Some lids snap on and off. Others have straws that come through the lid, so in the event that the cup is knocked over it may leak a bit, but there won’t be a major spill to deal with.

Here is an example of a sturdy glass mug with a handle. A lid and straw can be added for extra insurance in case of a spill.

jar mug

 

These mugs come with lids and straws.

mason jar with lid

 

These lids are sold separately. They have a pretty daisy pattern.

mason jar lid

Stainless steel is a terrific alternative to plastic. These straws are sturdy and will last a lifetime.  A brush is included to keep them super clean. They are dishwasher safe as well.

stainless steel drinking straws

For those who would rather stick with plastic, these colorful cups are double walled BPA free cups with lids and straws. The double walls are designed to keep drinks cold longer.

double wall cup

 

There are lots of options available for keeping your drink handy and not risking a spill. Keep some water close throughout the day to keep your body well hydrated and you will be taking the first step to good health.

Food: More Than Calories Count: Part 2 of the Good Health Series

Quick Start Guide to Good Health: Part 3 of the Good Health Series

Whole Foods and Real Foods: Part 4 of the Good Health Series

Mom Says, Eat Your Vegetables: Part 5 of the Good Health Series

Supersize Your Vegetables: Part 6 of the Good Health Series

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Sources:

  • http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/drugs.htm
  • Willett, Walter C. “Balancing life-style and genomics research for disease prevention. (Viewpoint.)” Science 296.5568 (2002): 695+. Science In Context. Web. 16 June 2013 10.1126/science.1071055
  • Water is the Liquid of Life. Prepared by Kimberly B. Henken, M.S., Extension Associate for Environmental Issues
  • Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate, by Panel on Dietary Reference Intakes for Electrolytes and Water, Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes; National Academies Press
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