Nourishment for Your Body and Mind

Bill Abbate
Image by John Hain from Pixabay

It is as natural for a child to grow physically into an adult as it is essential they grow intellectually to become productive members of society. As we feed the body to grow and mature, we must also feed the mind. But what happens when we reach adulthood? Is it possible we often malnourish the body and the mind?

Physical growth after becoming an adult

When we are born, proper nourishment and activity are required for growth until we physically obtain an adult's physique. When this growth phase is over, we can continue to mold our bodies through proper nutrition and exercise to remain healthy.

As we enter adulthood, some remain physically active, while others do not. Some sculpt their body through careful exercise and nutrition, while others pay little attention to diet or fitness.

With so much neglect as to what we put in our mouths and the lack of physical activity, the current state of the average person in America is no surprise. Did you know according to the CDC, more than 40% of Americans are obese, while more than 70% of adults over 20 are considered overweight!

It is sad to see how many adults pay little attention to the possible effects of what they put in their mouths, neglecting their physical condition. The impact obesity has on the body is deadly and well known. In the CDC's own words:

"People who have obesity, compared to those with a healthy weight, are at increased risk for many serious diseases and health conditions…" CDC article titled Adult Obesity Causes & Consequences

Despite the awareness that too many of us are unhealthy, the decline in health continues. To cure obesity, we must pay more attention to what goes in the mouth and become more physically active. Easy to say but not so easy for far too many to do.

But what about the other part of becoming an adult? What about the mind?

Mental growth after becoming an adult

Many parallels exist between the growth of our bodies and the growth of our minds into adulthood and after. As a child, we take in different forms of nutrition for the body while remaining active. The same is true for the mind. It needs not only the proper forms of nutrition but activity as well.

Most of us are aware of the need to grow a child's mind. We teach them, send them to school, and provide the best advice we can as they grow into adults. What happens when most of us become an adult? Do we continue to nourish our minds? Or does malnourishment set in?

The neglect of what many adults put into their mouths extends to what they put into their minds. How can hours of social media add to your intelligence? What about television? How much of it nourishes your intellect? Social Media and television are like eating unhealthy junk food or sugary sweets that provide poor nourishment and, in excess, lead to poor health.

Yet we like our junk food and sweets, whether it enters our mouth or our brain. Some people can't get enough of them, and it shows in their bodies, minds, and results in life.

As malnourishment is to the body, so it is to the mind.

The solution to malnourishment

Most are familiar with the term malnourishment. Its definition is:

"malnourished (adjective) - supplied with less than the minimum or an unbalanced amount of the nutrients or foods essential for sound health and growth : marked by malnutrition" (2022)

Although this definition is about our physical bodies, it also perfectly describes the malnourishment of our brains which affects our mind and intellect. While nutrition for the mind can include food, it goes far beyond food alone.

According to Merriam-Webster, the basic definition for nutrition is "the act or process of nourishing or being nourished." For our minds to have "sound health and growth," they are nourished with learning.

This nourishment from learning comes in many ways, with education playing a significant role. Such education goes beyond formal and includes what we learn from others and our interests. It comes by putting our brains to work as we do our bodies while consuming the proper nutrition. This work for the mind is, in essence, "thinking."

"Thinking, not [physical] growth, makes manhood [or womanhood]. Accustom yourself, therefore, to thinking. Set yourself to understand whatever you see or read. To join thinking with reading is one of the first maxims, and one of the easiest operations." Isaac Taylor (1787-1865)

The solution for the malnourishment of our minds is like that for the malnourishment of our bodies. What you feed it determines what becomes of it. Feeding and exercising your mind with more than simple thinking can create a healthy mind in the same way good food and exercise make a healthy body.

Final thoughts

With the knowledge available today, why are so many in modern society malnourished in their minds and bodies? Why indeed? As one of my mentors used to say, "It's a mystery! With all of the uniqueness of the human race, who knows what makes people do what they do. Let's just call it what it is, a mystery!"

The solutions are everywhere, yet only some seek and find them. And fewer still will use them to their benefit.

"Doctors won't make you healthy. Nutritionists won't make you slim. Teachers won't make you smart. Gurus won't make you calm. Mentors won't make you rich. Trainers won't make you fit. Ultimately, you have to take responsibility. Save yourself." Naval Ravikant (1974-present)

Sadly, few in today's society take their physical and mental nutrition seriously, but you do not need to be one of them. You only have one life to live, so why not live it to its fullest? Why not do those things that will give you a great life? It all starts with paying more attention to what you allow in your mouth and mind. Why not exercise some discipline and avoid the regret that is bound to come if you do not?

"We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons." Jim Rohn (1930-2009)

If you want to live the best possible life, it is up to you. You have all of the resources and knowledge you could dream of available at your fingertips over the internet, so why not give it a try? You know you can do it! If you want.

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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA

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