Vitamin O: “All I Need Is the Air that I Breathe”

We began our discussion of essential nutrients that are necessary for optimal health but that are not necessarily in everyone’s daily diet.

Vitamin L, for Love, is the first of four. Vitamin O is the second one. This means we rarely get enough oxygen. Now, for some of you who read this blog, you are meditators, relaxation gurus, and singers. You breathe. And yes, we all breathe–that’s one of the miracles of life. You don’t have to think about it. It just happens and at the end of the day, you’re still alive. Good deal.

But when was the last time most of us sat quietly to enjoy the feeling and results of a few deep mouthfuls (or nose-fuls or lungs-fuls) of yummy oxygen?

Applied to nutrition and health, when we eat under stress our digestive systems are ineffective at drawing nutrients from our food. We eat on the run, we stuff down a sandwich while driving, we grab a quick snack of baby carrots and hummus. But if our mind and heart are racing, our stomachs and intestines are essentially on idle. Stress response trumps food response. Every time. No wonder so many stressed-out people are on a diet!

Guess what? A diet will only help you lose weight if your body is relaxed. (Diets don’t really work, but that is a discussion for another time.)

So the next time you find yourself in a hurry (or in a pickle), stop!! Before you take even one bite, do yourself a favor and take three to five deep cleansing, diaphragmatic breaths. This will shift your body from the fight-or-flight stress response to the feed-and-breed non-stress response, and you will actually enjoy your food more completely. You are likely to take in less food because your stomach and brain will be talking to one another, and you will receive nourishment and not just empty calories.

Breathe before you eat. Bon appetit!

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