9 SCIENCE-BASED REASONS TO BE GRATEFUL FOR YOUR BODY

Need a reminder of why your body is amazing? Let’s dig into the science and recognize all the things to be grateful for.


BY: JILL CLODFELTER-MASON, RDN, CD

We live in a world where it’s so easy to scrutinize our bodies.  We criticize it, sometimes to the point of saying that we “hate” it.  If you can relate to this, know that it’s not your fault.  

Diet culture tells you that you’re not good enough as you are and that there’s something wrong with your body.  There is a tremendous amount of pressure from the media, those who surround you, and a self-imposed pressure to try to manipulate your body size by eating a certain way.  You may also frequently find yourself comparing your body to others, increasing your anxiety levels around food and exercise.

So what can you do to go against the grain of hate?

You can start by working towards treating your body with kindness, and meeting its most basic needs – even if you’re not passionate about your body.  One way to respect your body is to cultivate gratitude for all the things that your body is capable of doing.  

By cultivating gratitude for the experiences that your body allows you to do, you are taking a break from criticizing it by focusing on all of its positive aspects.  Here are some interesting facts about the human body to help you get started.

1. Brain power

Your brain contains billions of neurons that coordinate thought, behavior, movement, and sensation.  These neurons can transfer information to one another incredibly efficiently – up to 250 mph.    

2. A strong heart

The human heart pumps on average 2,000 gallons of blood on a daily basis!  That means if a person fulfills the average life expectancy in the United States, which is currently 78.6 years, the heart will pump 57,378,000 gallons of blood within a lifetime!  Within one minute, the heart pumps oxygen-filled blood throughout the body, traveling through over 60,000 miles of blood vessels – that’s enough mileage to circle the Earth almost 2.5 times. 

3. Natural detoxing

Your kidneys and liver help cleanse your body, with your kidneys filtering 600 cups of blood on a daily basis. Among the liver’s many achievements (besides completing over 500 functions in the body), the liver filters your blood, processes your medication, and detoxifies chemicals.    

4. Absorbs nutrients

The small intestine is the primary organ in our bodies that assists with digestion and nutrient absorption.  The surface area of the small intestine is about the size of a tennis court – thanks to fingerlike projections of absorptive villi tissue, which are covered with microvilli.

5. Take a deep breath

On average, we breathe 60-100 times within five minutes – frequently without thinking about it.  Thanks, respiratory system! 

6. Shields your body

Your bones guard your body’s organs – some of which include the lungs, heart, and brain.  In the case of a broken bone, your body will generate new bone cells to promote healing. Your bones also collaborate with your muscles to assist with movement, store and release minerals into circulation, and make blood cells.       

7. A protective touch

Your skin, which is the largest organ, serves as a bodyguard for your bones, muscles, and internal organs, regulates your temperature – and enables you to feel the warmth of the sunshine, the coolness of a snowflake, the hug of a child, the soft fur of a sweet cat or dog, and a kiss from a loved one.  

8. Keeps you alive

When your body thinks it is starving, it will implement different measures to combat starvation through chemical reactions that generate intense cravings, slow down your metabolism levels, and reduce the secretion of the hormone, leptin, to increase your hunger.  Your body works hard to keep you alive by preserving energy while generating hunger signals to let you know when it’s time to eat. 

9. Enjoy your senses

In addition to being part of the respiratory system and purifying the air that you inhale, your nose allows you to smell at least one trillion odors – such as savory bacon, fragrant flowers, adorable puppies, and more.  Your nose also helps you taste your food by combining it with its smell.

While we all have a unique genetic blueprint and different lived experiences in our bodies, there are so many amazing things that our bodies do for us to keep us alive.

If you ever find yourself criticizing or disliking the way your body looks, think about all the amazing biological functions that it’s capable of. 

Because your body is worthy of love, care, and respect – always.

Adapted from the original post.
HEADER IMAGE: AARON BLANCO TEJEDOR

Jill Clodfelter-Mason, RDN, CD,  is a private practice dietitian, health coach, food blogger, and owner of Cultivate Joy Nutrition in central Indiana. She assists her  clients with developing a healthier relationship with food and their bodies. Jill’s mission is to help women overcome the ‘shoulds’ that rule their lives, so they can become fully present in celebrating delicious, nourishing foods and reconnecting with who they are – mind, body, and soul. To learn more about Jill, check out her website, www.cultivatejoynutrition.com, and follow her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook @cultivatejoynutrition.

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