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Food, a fundamental axis for well-being

Feeling calm and satisfied with our lives is not easy in a context that requires us to adapt to constant changes. We do have to keep in mind that well-being is linked to the possibility of continuing to develop the skills already acquired and being encouraged to do new ones that we are passionate about. As far as possible it is essential to stay active and move, walking or other types of gymnastics. Breathing and body registration practices, even for a few minutes a day, allow us to focus on our emotions and thoughts. Just as exercise is important, so is food.

We can rethink eating by consciously incorporating food. Choosing how and what we eat and chewing slowly is key because what we eat becomes part of our body, it will shape our cells, skin and every one of our organs.

Many people believe that eating is simply to satisfy the appetite, and ignore the benefits of proper nutrition.

matter of habits

Some people -either due to lack of time or habit- usually eat quickly and do not chew food because they want to continue with their activity. This is a serious mistake: chewing is directly connected to the brain, so you need to be more vigilant, because in addition, poor digestion threatens two of the basic needs of man: good humor and good sleep.

For all this, well-being is linked to the digestive system. We all want to feel good, be in a good mood, but even if we want it, it is closely linked to food.

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Diarrhea and constipation should also be considered important. Communities of good and bad bacteria live in our intestines, as well as parasites, fungi, viruses and neurons (this is the so-called Enteric Nervous System of 100 million neurons), while bacteria also live in the brain. Bacteria and neurons talk in conversation and when there is intestinal inflammation, it threatens good health. What we used to call gut flora is today, with greater research and knowledge, called microbiota.

People prone to inflammation should consider eating anti-inflammatory diets. The most famous are the Mediterranean and the Japanese, because they consume a lot of fish and emphasize vegetables while excluding processed and refined foods, as well as a lower intake of red meat. It is important to avoid raw leafy vegetables.

Recommendations for good digestion

1. To start the day, and before breakfast, it is beneficial to drink two or three glasses of water at natural temperature. It helps to eliminate the toxins that are still left in the body.

2. Some people drink water with lemon juice, which is also recommended, but it is convenient to drink lemon juice with sherbet so as not to damage tooth enamel.

3. It is essential to let twelve hours pass between the last meal of the day and the first meal in the morning. If they are not used to it, you can start by fasting for 8 hours. It frees the body from daily work and allows our organs to rest.

4. If we eat with a garnish of raw vegetables, especially leaves, I recommend that two hours pass before we eat fruit, this also contributes to better digestion.

5. When eating red meat, it is best to start with a plate of salads, preferably green.

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6. Those suffering from discomfort or abdominal inflammation can start with a light salad without leaves. They should also avoid potatoes because they ferment and cause discomfort later and omit or reduce the intake of raw leafy vegetables.

7. Avoid accompanying red meat with starches (potatoes and pasta), because it is more difficult for the digestive system.

8. Leafy greens, as well as flax, sesame or any other seeds, are better tolerated when mixed and consumed as juices.

Another relevant point is food allergies and intolerances. We need to know which foods cause us an allergic reaction (itchy eyes or ears, itching, hives, rhinitis, etc.).

Regarding celiac disease, we should keep in mind that, without being celiac, not consuming so much white flour contributes to our good health. There are whole grains, corn, cassava, buckwheat flour, they perfectly provide the wheat flour that contains gluten.

To the extent that these recommendations become part of our lives, that is, they become habits, the body will find its balance and will provide us with a great deal of well-being.

Clinical psychologist and family therapist. Founder and President of the Argentine Society of Integrative Medicine.

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