Balancing Act

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Balance is a common underlying principle that is relevant to all aspects of health, be it nutrition, lifestyle, mental or physical.

The necessity of balance goes way back and is so pervasive in human medical history from traditional Chinese medicine to Ayurvedic practices that it seems an intuitive concept with regards to health and well-being.

More technically, this balancing in the body is called “homeostasis.” Our body is driven towards balance and will move towards maintaining this stability in every manner.

Balancing at macro level

Looking at the whole human body system, balancing is especially relevant to hormones. Hormones and neurotransmitters, chemicals in our brains, in delicate balance with complex networks that interact with one another in dramatic yet subtle ways.

Unfortunately, our internal networks and genes have not caught up with pace of change of our modern lifestyle and the most innocent of habits over the long term can have unexpectedly detrimental effects. Balancing the finer pleasures of life is important for maintaining well-being.

Ever watch TV or use a computer after sun down?

Our brain takes cues from its external environment as to whether it is time to sleep or not. The internal network that tells you when it is time to sleep and wake up is known as the Circadian rhythm. As the name suggests, it is a natural cycle with an ebb and flow of sleepiness and wakefulness.

Unfortunately, our brains have evolved to interpret light as day time and therefore, a period of activity. As a result, the increased exposure to light past sun down interferes with our Circadian rhythm.

Not surprisingly, blue light has the highest propensity to disturb our sleep patterns because the sky is blue! So, by staying up and staring at a screen (as I was when writing this article), you are sending unnatural signals to your brain that it is daytime.

This is why night lights can be damaging and why people with difficulty sleeping should be encouraged to set aside time to wind down in not so bright an environment for better relief to begin with.

Again balancing day and night environmental attributes is inbuilt into the human genome and abusing such a balance leads to everything from stress to hormone imbalance and from high inflammation to almost all chronic disease states.

For women

Speaking of sleep, post- and pre-menopausal women suffer from difficulty sleeping as a symptom alongside increased weight gain, fatigue, poor moods and anxiety. This is again due to a hormone imbalance and benefits can be achieved very quickly with the right interventions or balance.

We are born with natural balancing mechanisms. So, what breaks them? Well, we do. Or more specifically, our habits. A great deal of toxins are actually xeno hormones or toxins that have hormonal activity but are not subject to the usual control mechanisms. They are essentially “rogue hormones” that destabilise our internal hormone cycles. Where are these xeno-hormones?

For starters, in our food. Modern farming practices are all about how to artificially increase the rate of growth of livestock. Too much of a “good” thing always seems to land us in trouble.

Excessive utilisation of farming chemicals and growth promoters leads to excessive toxicity that our body cannot deal with by itself leading to sub-clinical liver, kidneys and even lungs and skin.

Next, we can look at the storage containers of said food. How many of people reading this now use BPA-free plastics only? What about all the other 200 chemicals you find in these plastic containers ?

Do you “bungkus” your food daily and expose yourself to increasing amounts of chemicals which your body cannot deal with? Again the occasional exposure might be handled by your detox organs but daily exposure is not advisable potentially leading to cancer and other degenerative conditions.

Going back to the subject of sleep, cortisol, the stress hormone, levels are highest in the morning when you wake up and decrease gradually as the day progresses. Cortisol interacts with your other hormones including testosterone and oestrogen.

What do you think would happen if you disrupted these patterns? Lifestyle habits are known to disrupt hormone levels. The lack of exercise, wrong kind of food groups and food types at wrong times of the day or night. Hormone balancing is crucial to well-being.

At molecular level of homeostasis

At a molecular level, this balancing is commonly relevant to blood pH.

In this context, homeostasis of the blood pH refers to the alkalinity or acidity of your body – a cup of liquid with a low pH is acidic and a cup of liquid with a high pH is alkaline. Your natural body pH is 7.365 and is therefore, slightly alkaline. The body works very hard to maintain these levels and any deviation could land you in the ICU.

The food present in our modern diet are extremely acidic once metabolised in the human body and this acid stress is thought to contribute to a range of degenerative conditions including cancer. In fact, we have seen alkaline ionised water contribute to people recovering from eczema, psoriasis and severe auto-immune conditions.

Balancing water consumption is important. Our kidney can reasonably process less than a litre of water hourly and excessive drinking of clean water will land you in hospital.

As part of a community exercise, we are conducting a free water testing session at Living Food Bistro at Menara Tan & Tan in Jalan Tun Razak on Sunday July  7, 2013. Bring a sample of your regular drinking water and we will assess for you just how good your water really is!

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