Before becoming a model mother, Angelina Jolie led a very unhealthy lifestyle. She partied constantly, drank alcohol and used substances without caring about her diet. She has a memento of those times, a tattoo on her lower abdomen that reads „what nourishes me also destroys me" in Latin. Today, the star lives completely differently. The main elements in her diet are broccoli, spinach, salmon and warm vegetable broths. There is no place for fast food or unhealthy canned foods. „How we eat and what we eat is a decisive factor in our lives. We don't live to eat, but we eat to live healthily," the actress says today. That statement was very much in accordance with the beliefs of Jean Anthelm Brillat-Savarin, who had published the book „The Philosophy of Taste" more than two hundred years earlier. He was the first to popularize the idea that there is a close relation to diet and condition. His ideas are especially relevant now, when more than ever an individual's appearance and feelings are of great importance. Unfortunately, the cult of beautiful and perfectly maintained bodies can lead to detrimental effects in ours lives. This applies to women in particular, who go to great pains to make their bodies look like models' or popular actresses'. One particularly dangerous practice is skipping breakfast. Many women mistakenly believe that if they don't eat anything in the morning, they won't be hungry all day long. They think that a big breakfast makes them think about food for the rest of the day. However, research has shown that when the body is not given enough energy in the morning, our brains function poorly. A meal rich in carbohydrates, however, raises blood glucose levels and encourages the body to release serotonin -„happy" hormones. Then we have a feeling of well-being, we wake up happier, ready to start the day. Another myth concerns products marked „light". In our times there are many women who only eat these foods. They do not guarantee us a slimmer figure, however. „Light" products do not contain sugar, and what replaces it does not satisfy the body. A large meal of “light" foods leaves us feeling hungry and reaching for more. In the end, we eat often end up eating more than if we'd eaten „normal" products.
In order to feel better we have to pay attention to what we eat. Vitamins should not be lacking in our diets. The most important one is B1, which is responsible for appetite and moods. It is found in grains, sunflower seeds and pork. Vitamin B6 is particularly important to women, because unlike any other substance it regulates premenstrual tension. It is found in turkey and chicken, as well as salmon, bran, and certain fruits and vegetables like bananas. Deficiencies of vitamin B12 can be very harmful. A lack of this vitamin can lead to depression, which is why we should remember to eat eggs, veal, fish and cheese.
When choosing the right food products, we should also pay particular attention to the microelements that they should contain. The most important ones are iron, zinc and magnesium. A deficiency of any of these elements may lead to serious illness. Broccoli, liver, spinach and whole-grain bread contain iron. A deficiency of iron may cause trouble with concentration, tiredness and weakness. We will be able to manage stress more effectively if we eat plenty of green vegetables, as well as nuts, chocolate and avocados - all of these products contain the essential element magnesium. Products rich in zinc include meat and poultry.
When putting together our daily diet we should also consider how frequently we eat. The most important factor is not how much we eat, but above all how often. Dieticians and specialists in human nutrition recommend eating as many as five small meals daily. In this way, we avoid snacking, and above all, eating large meals in the evening after work. The American actress Halle Berry claims that she owes her fantastic figure to eating frequent, small meals. „l got this diet from fitness specialist Simon Waterson. He explained how often I should eat. He also created a diet for me that is based on maintaining strict proportions of all of the food groups. You can eat as much of the high-protein (meat) products as you can put in your open hand, as many fruits and vegetables as you can get in a handful, and no more complex carbohydrates (grains, rice, macaroni) than you can fit in a tight fist," says the actress. Those who don't want to copy her diet to the letter should still remember two key principles that she observes: drink at least two liters of water a day and have the last meal of the day at least two hours before going to bed.
Everyone who knows what „wellness" means should live this way.
Exercise is health
The wellness philosophy puts particular emphasis on daily exercise. Most of us spend all day behind a desk piled high with papers. When we are flooded with work we forget to move our bodies. Worst of all, when we finally do get around to exercising, we quickly lose our motivation, get tired, and give up. The newest research from Cape Town University shows that it is not our bodies that rebel but our brains.„Nowadays we do not like to wear ourselves out. Instead of 15 or so minutes of exercise we choose to lay in front of the television. That's not for me. I love playing sports. When I wear myself out I really feel alive," says Gwyneth Paltrow, who continued practicing yoga and running immediately after having her son. Madonna is also gives a good example of a healthy lifestyle. She has popularized fitness all around the world. She even managed to make wearing tracksuits the latest fad. Madonna goes to a fitness club every day. She often brings her daughter Lourdes along, so she is learning from her earliest years how to take care of herself - not only to look good but to be healthy. Madonna also has a great way of preventing herself from getting tired during hard exercise. When she runs she imagines, for example, that she has springs on the bottoms of her feet that help lift her off the ground. It helps her run faster and more easily. “It helps me do more exercise. It makes training more effective," says the star. She was also the first to persuade others not to put off exercise by saying there's no time for it. According to experts, that is the most common excuse of our times. It can be overcome: it is enough to plan what we want to achieve during the day and write it down on paper. Goals strengthen motivation. When we write that in three weeks we want to lose three kilograms and keep a detailed log of our achievements, it is easier to achieve our desired weight. Wellness is not just a slim figure, but above all good condition and a healthy body. When we lose our enthusiasm for exercise it is worth standing in front of the mirror and looking at our muscles. Our motivation comes back along with the desire to
work to look and feel better. We also have a suggestion for those who cannot focus on exercising. When we do monotonous laps around a track or sit-ups, it's a good idea to turn on loud music. Then we stop thinking about how hard the exercises are and how tired we feel and focus on the rhythm and melody of the songs. Everyone who has a hard time going to the gym or starting to exercise at home should invite a few friends along. It's always more fun in a group!
Those who still don't want to believe how important a role everyday exercise plays should consider the research done by Dr Thomas Foster from the Department of Brain Research on Memory Loss at the American University of Florida. This expert has proven that a half hour of aerobic exercise done three or four times a week helps fight milder cases of depression. Scientists from the Institute of Higher Technology at the University of Illinois showed that three-quarters of a hour walking, done three times a week, improves concentration and the ability to make decisions. “These changes allow one to concentrate his attention on what is important and ignore distractions", notes one of the authors of the project, professor of psychology Arthur F. Kramer.
One needn't add that regular physical activity also increases one's belief in his own strength, as well as improving self-esteem. After breaking up with Penelope Cruz, actor Matthew McConaughy admitted publicly that sports helped him overcome his sadness after their relationship had fallen apart. The actor can be seen most often on the beach in Malibu, swimming or surfing. Smiling and relaxed with a perfect body, he serves as a model for men all around the world. It's no wonder that „People" magazine recently named him „the sexiest man alive."I just exercise", joked the actor when he received the award.
Time for relaxation
Muscle aches, sore throats, enlarged glands, migraines, a lack of vital energy - this is a brief list of symptoms of one illness. And it isn't a cold, nor the flu, but „chronic fatigue syndrome. "The illness was identified by American doctors in the 1980s. At the time it affected yuppies, the young urban professionals whose lives were centered on their careers. Research showed that these individuals were unable to rest. In 1993, the World Health Organization added chronic fatigue syndrome to its list of diseases of civilization. From that time on, specialists have been racing to find a way to fight stress. One of the essential factors that allows the body to function properly is getting the right amount of sleep. It is one of the most important things in our everyday lives. Late nights can be felt during the first few hours of the day in the form of sluggishness, moodiness, or aggressive behavior. We end up thinking all day about lying down and resting for a while. The body regulates the sleep cycle,, producing melatonin and serotonin, the hormones responsible for healthy sleep. Stress upsets the process. If hormone levels are not high enough, sleep is shallow and easily interrupted. Problems with falling asleep appear, as well as nightmares and morning fatigue. A high level of stress hormones prepares the body for alertness, which makes it impossible to sleep peacefully. That is why it is best not to bring work home, and why you should spend at least one hour before bed doing something you enjoy, such as watching a favorite film, or reading. One half hour before bed it is also good to drink sweet balm tea, which has calming properties. When we learn how to take care of our sleeping habits it will not only be easier to look forward to a hard day's work, but it will also be easier to imagine effective ways of spending free time.
One of the key ideas of wellness is found in healthy relaxation. And who doesn't like to rest? Each of us dreams about it. Recent research has shown, however, that not everyone is able to relax. Even those who really try are sometimes lost in the jumble of catalogs and advertisements offering something or another as a way of spending free time. Of course, specialists advise that it is important to spend at least one day a week out in nature, surrounded by the beauty of the environment. However, that isn't always possible. That's why we often choose „beauty farms," for example, where specialists give us anti-stress treatments and massages to bring back health and feelings of vitality. We have some advice for those who cannot afford that kind of relaxation,
though: a stress-free day can be spent at home! It is best done on the weekend, when we aren't being interrupted by emergency calls from work. It's a good idea not to set an alarm clock, and just let yourself sleep in as long as your body needs to. A special day like this shouldn't start out with coffee. However, if you aren't able to imagine breakfast without it, have some decaf. After breakfast it is best to take a short walk with a bit of running or quick walk-running. In the afternoon, meet friends. They make us feel important and needed. And laugh as much as possible! Researchers from a university in Missouri have discovered that hearty laughter is the nest therapy for stress. Having a good laugh for 20 seconds brings the same effect as exercising for 15 minutes on a stationary bicycle. After a whole day when you have managed to relax and rest, it will be easier to face a new, busy week. „Every week I force my husband to spend at least one day just with me and the kids. We really love to take long walks in Hyde Park. After that we go to our favorite restaurant for lunch. Sometimes we spend a few hours there. And nothing else matters to us then. Those are the happiest moments," says Gwyneth Paltrow, who owes her professional and personal success to her conscious choice to live a healthy life.
A healthy and relaxed body is ready for new and even difficult challenges. Wellness is not just healthy eating and making sure to exercise every day. It is just a happy life!