Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Drink Lots of Water

Everyone knows that water is vital to the body. It hydrates you and quenches your thirst. As good as it is; are you getting enough? Are you properly hydrated every day? A new study has examined the importance of proper hydration for good health and performance and established a more accurate measurement of the body's water needs. Here's the refreshing update:

Entitled "Water as an essential nutrient: The physiological basis for hydration," the study starts with explaining the importance of hydration to the body. "Water is the major constituent of the human body. The latter cannot produce enough water by metabolism or obtain enough water by food ingestion to fulfil its needs. As a consequence, we need to pay attention to what we drink throughout the day to ensure that we are meeting our daily water needs, as not doing so may have negative health effects (E. Je´quier and F. Constant. 2009)." The study was first published on September 2, 2009 in an advance online publication of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Important from head to toe

The study highlights five uses of water to the body: (1) it's a vital component of our cells, (2) a necessary agent in the body's chemical processes, (3) a facilitator of all bodily functions including respiration and digestion, (4) regulates body temperature, and (5) lubricates joints and muscles for proper movement.

The study emphasizes the importance of drinking by citing the effects of dehydration or lack of water in your body. "It has been shown that mild dehydration corresponding to only one to two percent of body weight loss in adults can lead to a significant impairment in both cognitive function (alertness, concentration, short-term memory) and physical performance (endurance, sports skills) (E. Je´quier and F. Constant. 2009)."

So if you want to be at the top of your game all the time, don't exclusively rely on thirst to know if you're dehydrated. Mild to moderate dehydration manifests through a dry, sticky mouth, sleepiness or tiredness, decreased urine input, few or no tears when crying, muscle weakness, headaches and dizziness or light-headedness.

The solution to all this is simple enough, keep drinking even when you're not thirsty. But how do you know you're drinking enough? There's the old eight glasses of water a day rule, but is it correct?

According to the study, "Human water requirements are not based on a minimal intake as it might lead to a water deficit because of numerous factors that modify water needs (metabolism, climate, physical activity, diet and so on) (E. Je´quier and F. Constant. 2009)." What this means is that you shouldn't limit yourself to only 8 glasses a day because you need more based on your activities and the weather.

Instead, the study recommends the following intake levels: Male adolescents aged nine to 13 years need 1.8 L/day, 14 to 18 years old need 2.6 L/day and male adults at 3 L/day. Female adolescents aged nine to 13 need 1.6 L/day, 14 to 18 need 1.8 L/day and female adults at 2.2 L/ day. That converts to some 13 cups for male adults and nine cups for adult females.

Furthermore, the study states that this total water amount represents water, other beverages and water from food. The Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness (BIHW) conforms to this statement, "The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences (IOM) does have specific recommendations for total fluid intake...which includes drinking water as well as the water obtained from all other foods and beverages."

All beverages hydrate, including your favorite juices, teas, soft drinks and foods like fruits, vegetables, soups and stews. The BIHW goes on to recommend that you "Choose beverages that you enjoy. Several studies show that children and adults consume about 45 to 50 percent more liquid when it's flavored vs plain water (www.thebeverageinstitute.org. 2009)."

The important lesson is that hydration must always be top of mind for optimum health. From now on, make it a habit to drink!

Source: Manila Bulletin

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Stay Young with These 8 Perfect Foods

Stay young and healthy with these 8 perfect foods. Lose weight, have a longer lifespan, strengthen your cardiovascular, improve immune function, memory and more.

Benefit: Weight loss
Substitute: Egg Beaters egg substitute

72 calories, each large egg holds 6.3 grams of high-quality protein and a powerhouse load of vital nutrients.

green tea
Benefit: Longer lifespan
Substitutes: Yerba mate, white tea, oolong tea, rooibos (red) tea

Japanese study broke participants into two groups, only one of which was put on a catechin-rich green-tea diet. At the end of 12 weeks, the green-tea group had achieved significantly smaller body weights and waistlines than those in the control group. Why? Because researchers believe that catechins are effective at boosting metabolism.

Benefit: Cardiovascular strengthening
Substitutes: Onions, chives, leeks

Allicin, an antibacterial and antifungal compound, is the steam engine pushing forward garlic’s myriad health benefits. The chemical is produced by the garlic plant as a defense against pests, but inside your body, it fights cancer, strengthens your cardiovascular system, decreases fat storage, and fights acne inflammation.

Benefit:Weight loss
Substitutes: Oranges, watermelon, tomatoes

Those who ate the grapefruit also exhibited a decrease in insulin levels, indicating that their bodies had improved their ability to metabolize sugar.

greek yogurt
Benefit: Feeling fuller for longer
Substitutes: Kefir and yogurt with “live and active cultures” printed on the product label

Greek yogurt is separated from the watery whey that sits on top of regular yogurt, and the process removes excessive sugars, such as lactose, and increases the concentration of protein by as much as three times.

Benefit: Reduced risk of heart disease
Substitutes: Olive, canola, and peanut oils; peanut butter; tahini

Numerous studies have shown that monounsaturated fats both improve you cholesterol profile and decrease the amount of triglycerides (more fats) floating around in your blood. This can lower your risk of stroke and heart disease. Worried about weight gain? Don’t be. There’s no causal link between monounsaturated fats and body fat.

bell peppers
Benefit: Improved immune function
Substitutes: Carrots, sweet potatoes, watermelon

All peppers are loaded with antioxidants, but none so much as the brightly colored reds, yellows, and oranges. These colors result from carotenoids concentrated in the flesh of the peppers, and it’s these same carotenoids that give tomatoes, carrots, and grapefruits their healthy hues. The range of benefits provided by these colorful pigments include improved immune function, better communication between cells, protection against sun damage, and a diminished risk of several types of cancer.

Benefit: Improved memory
Substitutes: Walnuts, pecans, peanuts, sesame seeds, flaxseeds

An ounce of almonds or about 23 nuts a day provides nearly 9 grams of heart-healthy oleic acid; that’s more than the amounts found in peanuts, walnuts, or cashews. This monounsaturated fat is known to be responsible for a flurry of health benefits, the most recently discovered of which is improved memory.

Source: http://health.yahoo.com/experts/eatthis/38834/8-perfect-stay-young-foods/

I hope you enjoy eating these foods as much as I do.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Top 5 Cancer-Causing Foods

Great list of Top 5 Cancer-Causing Foods that we should refrain from eating to keep us cancer-free and enjoy a healthy life.

1. Hot Dogs
Because they are high in nitrates, the Cancer Prevention Coalition advises that children eat no more than 12 hot dogs a month. If you can't live without hot dogs, buy those made without sodium nitrate..

2. Processed Meats and Bacon
Also high in the same sodium nitrates found in hot dogs, bacon, and other processed meats raise the risk of heart disease. The saturated fat in bacon also contributes to cancer.

3. Doughnuts
Doughnuts are cancer-causing double trouble. First, they are made with white flour, sugar, and hydrogenated oils, then fried at high temperatures. Doughnuts, says Adams , may be the worst food you can possibly eat to raise your risk of cancer.

4. French Fries
Like doughnuts, French fries are made with hydrogenated oils and then fried at high temperatures. They also contain cancer- causing acryl amides which occur during the frying process. They should be called cancer fries, not French fries, said Adams ..

5. Chips, Crackers and Cookies
All are usually made with white flour and sugar. Even the ones whose labels claim to be free of trans-fats generally contain small amounts of trans-fats.