LAW stands for Light Air Water. These three things are essential for life. They are probably the most essential of all ‘nutrients’ but most people don’t factor them into their plans.

Light

You need adequate exposure to daylight to help ensure optimum health. Spending time in the sunshine lifts peoples’ spirits and the opposite tends to depress people. SAD (seasonal affect disorder) is a seasonal depression and is prevalent in high latitudes where the days in winter are short and often overcast.

Insufficient daylight can mean that you will not properly absorb nutrients from the food you eat. It can cause suppressed immune function. It has been shown to have been a contributing factor to heart disease, stroke, cancer, osteoporosis, hyperactivity, fatigue and hair loss.

It is important that the daylight is direct. Even clear glass will block out certain wavelengths which are important. Ideally you will get out into the bright light several times a day. Instead of making a cup of coffee why not go outside for five minutes. The light will stimulate you and the air will refresh you.

There are well-publicised dangers of getting too much sun. The ultraviolet spectrum, which is part of sunlight, causes skin cancer. It is important that you are aware of this and take precautions. Hats, long sleave shirts and sunblock are essential if you are going out into the sun.

Air

Like light, air, oxygen in particular, can also be good and bad for you. Oxygen is absolutely essential for life. Without oxygen we would only survive for a few minutes at the most. Oxygen is our most important nutrient. It is fundamental to all animal and plant life. Oxygen is needed constantly by every cell because it releases the energy in food that the cells need to function.

Unfortunately the very factor that makes oxygen so useful to us – its reactiveness – causes problems in our bodies. Oxygen can become unstable and oxidise good molecules which can lead to cellular damage. This damage may become the cause of tissue inflammation, artery damage and cancer. Oxidation is the cause of tissue aging. The older we become the more oxidation occurs and the more our tissues deteriorate. The unstabilised form of oxygen are called free radicals. Free radicals are created in any combusting process from burning toast to normal bodily metabolism. Free radicals are found in cigarette smoke, exhaust fumes, fried and barbequed food, radiation and industrial pollution.

To limit the amount of free radicals you can either avoid all of the above sources or injest chemicals that are capable of neutralising them or, ideally, both.

To avoid free radicals altogether is impossible. Therefore ensuring that you have an adequate supply of the chemicals that neutralise free oxidising radicals which are called anti-oxidants. Many of these chemicals are commonly available in foods, in fact some of them like vitamins A, C and E are essential nutrients.

Water

Water is the stuff of life. We cannot survive for long without it.

Water comprises more than 70 percent of solid tissue, such as muscle, in the human body. Besides oxygen, it is the most important nutrient in the body, functioning as a physiological “jack of all trades.” Water has an important role in nearly every major function in the body, regulating body temperature, carrying nutrients and oxygen to cells, removing waste, cushioning joints and protecting organs and tissues. The rest of our body is made from the nutrients we get from food that are reliant on water for their existence. Whole books have been written about water and its peculiar properties and I highly recommend that you read about it. The properties that make it so important for life are:

  • Many things are soluble in water so it makes it an ideal medium
  • It is liquid at temperatures organisms survive in
  • It is plentiful
  • It has a neutral ph

Make sure you drink plenty of water. At least 3 litres a day.

Dehydration is the cause of many illnesses. If you feel lethargic, anxious for no reason, if you have dry eyes, get skin infections, headaches, constipation – all sorts of things – it may be because you are dehydrated. Low-volume water drinkers are likely to report having dry, itchy skin or feeling tired and groggy when they wake up or at mid-day, two classic signs of dehydration. Longer-term, more severe dehydration presents more serious problems, dangerously affecting blood pressure, circulation, digestion, kidney function and nearly all body processes.

On average the body loses about 1.5 litres of water a day through the skin, lungs, urine and faeces. Our bodies make about a third of a litre of water a day as a bi-product of “burning” glucose for energy. Therefore our absolute minimum water intake should be one litre a day. Many experts say that two litres or more is best. This needs to be made up through intake of food and water. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink water. You are already dehydrated when you are thirsty.

Some water stats

  • 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. It is probable that similar percentages apply to 90% of the world population.
  • In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger.
  • Even mild dehydration will slow down one’s metabolism as much as 3%.
  • One glass of water shuts down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a University of Washington study.
  • Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.
  • Research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.
  • A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.
  • Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%.It can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and reduce the risk of developing bladder cancer by 50%.