We need air in order to extract oxygen via our lungs. Our bodies and, more specifically, the ATP (adenosine triphosphate) molecules produced by our cells ensure proper functioning of all major bodily processes, from brain functioning to food breakdown or muscle relaxation. To create ATP, our cells need energy, derived from oxygen.
Sleep cleans the brain of toxins. Our brain cells shrink during sleep so they create pathways to remove neurotoxic waste products. Research also suggests that a lack of sleep causes genes linked to inflammation to become more active. Therefore, when we don’t sleep enough genes operate as if our bodies are in stressful situations. A lack of sleep negatively affects our cognitive abilities as well.
We encounter water in many essential bodily processes. Water is used to support our lymph system which fights off diseases. Water is also used to transport waste products via urine and the composition of stool. It also regulates our body temperature via the creation of sweat and helps with the digestion of food via gastric juices.
Water is also needed to produce blood, the transportation system of energy throughout our body.
Food provides us with the nutrients to ensure growth, repair and movement of our bodies. We can survive for up to twenty-one days without food.
At the centre are calories, our body’s fuel. A study in 2010 by the US health department suggests that men require between 2,000 and 3,000 calories a day while women require 1,600 to 2,400 calories.
Exactly how many calories you require depends on your age and weight, your metabolic base rate (i.e., how much energy you require in a rest state), the thermic effect (i.e., how much energy you need to process food) and to what extent you move around.
Apart from water, we require six other types of nutrient: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, vitamins and fibre. Scientific discussion about the perfect mix is still ongoing.