Hydration – a term used to indicate that a substance contain water
“Hydration is important because the body is comprised mostly of water, and the proper balance between water and electrolytes in our bodies really determines how most of our systems function, including nerves and muscles,” says Larry Kenney, PhD, a professor of physiology and kinesiology.
Drinking fluids serves a range of purposes in our bodies, such as removing waste through urine; controlling our body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure; and also maintaining a healthy metabolism.
The big questions is always, “How much water do we need to consume per day?”
The answer to that is quite simple – drink enough fluid so that you urinate every 2-4 hours, and that your urine is light in colour . If you go through a day that you went to the bathroom at 8am and only again at 4pm with a dark coloured urine, you know you have not been drinking enough fluids during the day.
Another guideline is to consume 30 – 35ml of fluid per kilogram bodyweight.
Water should always be your number one choice of hydration. It could be still or sparkling water if you feel like something different on some days. Also try and jazz your water up with some fresh fruit and vegetables eg. lemon slices, cucumber, mint and ginger is quite a nice combination, as well as orange slices.
You can also make your own ice tea with rooibos tea (or any other herbal tea) and a little fruit juice. I am not a fan of fruit juice as the sugar content is way to high, but if you use the dilution ratio of at least 3 parts rooibos tea and 1 part fruit juice you dilute the sugar in the juice quite a bit.
Sugar-laden cooldrinks should be avoided as far as possible!
Coffee is also not a “no no” as a lot of people think! If you stick to 3-4 cups of coffee per day there is little evidence of health risks and actually some evidence of health benefits.(I will go into coffee consumption a bit more in detail later on)
My conclusion with hydration is to make sure you consume the correct amount of fluid per day and to also make liquid choices that is natural and pure and not packed with sugar and chemicals!
On the note of breast cancer awareness month in October and prostate cancer awareness this month, I decided to write something on cancer prevention and the correlation between cancers and diet.
One third of cancers are linked to diet, developing over a long period of time. There is growing evidence that excess body weight increases the risk of cancer at several sites, including kidney, endometrium, colon, prostate, gallbladder, and breast in postmenopausal women.
Evidence from recent diet and nutrition studies showed that fruit and vegetable intake is critically important in risk reduction for many cancers. Antioxidants also protect the body against free radical damage. So very important to up the antioxidant intake through diet! The “5-a-day” rule should thus definitely be encouraged and even expanded to “5-a-day-minimum”!
Recent evidence also suggests that the percentage of fat in our diets is not a major cause of cancers of the breast or colon. Higher intakes of red meat and dairy products has however been associated with greater risk of prostate cancer, which may be related to their saturated fat content. Also, red meat consumption has been associated with the risk of colon cancer in numerous studies, but this appears to be unrelated to its fat content.
Excessive consumption of alcohol increases the risk of upper gastrointestinal tract cancers, and even moderate amounts appear to increase cancer of the breast and large bowel.
The evidence is strong that remaining physically active and lean throughout life, consuming an abundance of fruit and vegetables, and avoiding high intakes of red meat, foods high in animal fat, and excessive alcohol will substantially reduce the risk of human cancer.
A Complete anti-cancer grocery list would include dark green, yellow, orange and red fruits and vegetables, red grapes, cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage), tomatoes, olive and canola oils, garlic, legumes and wholegrains.
To summarise here are recommendations for reducing cancer risk:
- Eat 5 or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day
- Increase intake of fiber in the diet through wholegrains, legumes, fruit and starchy veg such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut, beetroot, carrots and peas.
- Limit consumption of processed foods
- Limit consumption of smoked or salt-cured foods.
- Limit red meat consumption to 3 times per week.
- Do not eat charred foods.
- Consume alcohol in moderation.
- Do not smoke or use tobacco in any form.
- Be active! Exercise at least 5 times per week for 30 minutes
Eggs have been very restrictive in the past due to their high cholesterol levels. Over the years the restrictions have loosened a bit, but eggs’ unhealthful reputation has been hard to shake and has people confused all round. While eggs are certainly not the demon a lot of experts have claimed them to be, they are still controversial, mostly due to the relationship between cholesterol and heart disease.
Eggs are made up of much more than just cholesterol. They are a great source of high quality protein (6g per egg), along with omega 3 fatty acids. Eggs are considered the most bio available source of protein, which means that our bodies can digest, absorb and use the protein in eggs better than in any other food. Numerous vitamins, including vitamin A, potassium and many B vitamins like folic acid, choline and biotin, are also packed into this oval shaped staple. Very few foods share the same diverse nutrient make-up available in a single egg. Many of these are specifically needed for the health of the nerves and the brain. Because the protein in eggs are digested and absorbed very quickly by our bodies it also makes eggs a great post workout source of protein along with some carbohydrates. Eggs are also great tasting and inexpensive!
By avoiding eggs (or dietary cholesterol), you can actually hurt your health more. The body needs to achieve a balance when it comes to cholesterol consumption. Fat from healthy sources is vital for the body, while fat from unhealthy sources, such as brick margarines containing trans fats or foods fried in vegetable oil, are dangerous. Eggs remain a beneficial source of healthy fat. Many nutrients such as vitamin A, are better absorbed with fat, making eggs a very good source of vitamin A. Research has documented that eggs do not appear to promote heart disease.
Though it is true that eggs are high in cholesterol, dietary cholesterol does not automatically raise blood cholesterol levels. The body has compensatory mechanisms to deal with an increasing cholesterol load. In fact, saturated fat is a bigger culprit in raising blood cholesterol. When excess saturated fat is eaten, the liver increases more cholesterol into the bloodstream, thereby slowing down the removal of blood cholesterol. This is why saturated fat in our diets is a bigger problem at raising blood cholesterol levels than dietary cholesterol.
What’s more important is your diet as a whole. If you’re eating a healthy and balanced diet, having an egg a day would be fine. It’s not the egg that’s the problem, but what you eat with it. And don’t toss the yolk!!Most of the nutrients in the egg hides in the yolk of the egg. The biggest egg eaters in the world are Japanese, and they also have the lowest rates of cardiovascular disease. That’s because their diet is low in saturated fat and trans fat. They also don’t have loads of bread with eggs, but rather vegetables and some rice.
The innocent, protein and nutrient rich egg has been attacked for too long, and it’s time we all see the egg for what it’s really worth!!
For my first blog post I would like to highlight one of the most important and crucial points to me when it comes to healthy eating, and that is planning planning and once again planning. When you are at work, and 11.00 comes and your stomach is starting to rumble, you would naturally go out and find the quickest and easiest meal you can find, which 90% of the time will not be the healthiest and best option for you. If you packed a healthy lunchbox with a healthy lunch and easy on-the-go snacks on the other hand it would not have been necessary to compromise your health with unhealthy food options.
On a Sunday I normally do my food prep for the week ahead, which makes it much easier to adhere to healthy food choices when you have a busy week schedule ahead of you with little time to prepare food. I would pack snacks like nuts, seeds dried fruit and biltong in little containers so I can just grab it in the morning for our lunch boxes. For lunch I would do all the planning and food prep like cutting up vegetables and cooking chicken and sweet potatoes for example in bulk and keeping it in the fridge, so that in the morning before work I can just combine the different foods in a lunchbox.
If you have your healthy packed food with you at work or in the car if you mostly drive around for your work, your chances of sticking to a healthy eating regime is so much better!
So my first tip to you will be to plan your menu and food for the week ahead, as it eases your food preparation in the week and cuts out chances of falling for quick unhealthy food choices.
So get planning