Drink More Water
By drinking enough water, you will be helping your body to remain healthy. Ideally, the average person should consume around ten cups of water per day, or just over a half gallon.
Water is the single-most abundant nutrient in the body, accounting for around 60% – 65% of your total weight. It is also the least forgiving of all the nutrients you consume. You can survive for weeks without food, but for only a couple of days without water. Water is responsible for the transport of nutrients, oxygen and waste products, as well as for regulating your body temperature and serving as the medium in which all of your body’s chemical reactions take place. Most people do not drink enough pure clean water.
Drinking an adequate amount of clean water every day is one of the most overlooked, but simplest ways of keeping your body healthy. Water is used to help the body cleanse itself of toxins and metabolic waste. Although drinking water has become more popular over the past several years, many people still do not consume enough water. Instead, they drink coffee, tea, juices and soft drinks and figure that they get enough fluids. It is true that when you drink these things you are consuming water. However, along with the water, you are also consuming a lot of other stuff that the body will need to ultimately eliminate, so the potential beneficial effect of the water is somewhat negated.
To make matters worse, drinks that contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea and soft drinks, actually cause more water loss than the amount of water they contain, resulting in a net loss of water.
Ideally, the average person should consume around ten cups of water per day, or just over a half gallon. Some of this water is found in the food and beverages you consume, so you don’t have to drink an entire half-gallon of water every day. An easy way to accomplish this is to buy a 1.5 liter bottle of water from the local grocery store and to drink that amount of water every day. If you exercise heavily, you may have to drink two of those 1.5 liter bottles of water each day. By drinking enough water, you will be helping your body to remain healthy. It is by far the cheapest health insurance you can buy.
Eat More Fruits & Veggies
People know that they should eat more fruit and vegetables in their diet, but most people don’t do it. It seems lately that the four major food groups of the Canadian diet have gone from dairy, fruits and vegetables, grains, and meat to sugar, fat, salt and caffeine. Because of the easy availability of fast foods and snack foods, we have lost our taste for fruits and vegetables; especially vegetables. It is not uncommon for many people to go for weeks without consuming a single serving of fresh vegetables. This is not good.
The human body is dependent on many of the compounds unique to plant foods in order to operate correctly. If you don’t consume enough of these plant compounds, your energy level will suffer along with your overall health. Most people are shocked at how much better they feel when they cut down on the fast foods and snack foods and increase their fruit and vegetable intake.
If you find it difficult to work several servings of fruits and vegetables into your routine every day, you may find it helpful to supplement your diet with what is called a “greens” supplement, which is a highly concentrated powder of fruits, vegetables and antioxidants.
Increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables is an important way to improve your overall health. The key is to make it part of your lifestyle – to make it a new habit. For more help in this area you may wish to seek help from Glenda, our nutritional consultant.
Cut Down on Sugar
In a recent study, it was reported that the average Canadian consumes 88 pounds of refined sugar every year, or approximately 26 teaspoons of sugar per day. As hard as this may be to believe, consider the following facts:
- A 12 oz. can of Pepsi™ contains 10 teaspoons of sugar
- A 2 oz. package of candy contains 11 teaspoons of sugar
- A 16 oz. cup of lemonade contains 13 teaspoons of sugar
- A cup of Frosted Flakes™ contains 4 teaspoons of sugar
This high level of sugar intake is very unhealthy and contributes to obesity, Type II diabetes, heart disease due to elevated triglycerides, kidney stones, dental caries, chronic tiredness and reactive hypoglycemia. Decreasing your sugar intake is as simple as avoiding foods which are high in refined sugars, such as soft drinks, candy, cake and donuts, as well as most condiments. When you purchase sweetened food, look for products that are sweetened with apple juice or stevia, rather than sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. Read the label and you will be surprised at just how much sugar is in everything!
Take a Multivitamin
Many people don’t think that they need to take vitamin supplements because, after all as long as you eat a balanced diet, you can get everything that your body needs, right? While it is certainly true that people living a thousand years ago did not have multivitamins, they also did not have thousands of tons of toxic chemicals being pumped into their environment every year; they were not exposed to a constant man-made electromagnetic field from power lines and cell phones; they did not eat highly processed foods that contained artificial colors, flavors and preservatives; they were not sedentary; and they were not under constant stress at work and at home. Our bodies were simply not designed for a fast-paced, high-stress, highly processed lifestyle.
The reality is that we need to give our body some help in order to stay healthy in the world today. That’s where high quality supplements come in. Supplements help to ensure that your body gets all of the extra vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and probiotics necessary to function the way it should. You can find more information about the importance of vitamins on this site.
Keep Your Heart Healthy
Heart disease is currently the number-twocause of death in Canada. This is unfortunate because most heart disease is caused by poor lifestyle choices. The four big lifestyle changes you can make to ensure to maximize the health of your heart are
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Taking a high quality vitamin supplement
- Stopping smoking
Just as exercise is important to the health of your neuromusculoskeletal system, it is also critical to the health of your heart. When you regularly exercise, your body becomes much more efficient at using oxygen and burning calories and your blood pressure is normalized. This decreases the stress on your heart.
Another easy way to reduce the stress on your heart is to decrease the amount of body fat you carry around. It takes approximately one mile of additional blood vessels to supply one pound of additional fat. If you are twenty, thirty or fifty pounds overweight, it is easy to see how that extra body fat can place an undue burden on your heart.
Vitamins E and C and folic acid are the three most important nutritional supplements to take for your heart. Vitamin E is a powerful fat-soluble antioxidant which helps to prevent the cholesterol in your blood from becoming oxidized. High cholesterol levels in the blood, per se, are not that big of a deal. Cholesterol only becomes dangerous when it interacts with an oxidizing radical. Vitamin E helps to prevent this.
Vitamin C is important to help strengthen the walls of the arteries and prevent the development of cholesterol plaques inside the coronary arteries. Did you know that the arteries that are the most likely to develop cholesterol deposits are the ones that are close to the heart? The reason is that when the heart contracts, it pushes blood out with a great degree of force. If the walls of the arteries which are closest to the heart are not as strong as they should be, they will tend to momentarily stretch out like a balloon and cause small tears to the inside arterial wall as the rush of blood from the heart passes by. These small tears serve as a place where platelets and cholesterol form deposits.
High levels of vitamin C reduce the number of tears in the arteries by strengthening the collagen tissues around the arteries, keeping them from expanding too much as blood pulses through.
The third vitamin which is important is one of the B-vitamins called folic acid. Folic acid, also called folacin, is important for reducing the level of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine is a metabolic by-product which can contribute significantly to the development of heart disease. So, when you take your multivitamin while you are on your way to do your exercises, make sure that it contains at least 400 IU of vitamin E, at least 500 mg of vitamin C (1000 is even better) and 40 mcg of folic acid. If you would like more help with this talk to Glenda here at Better Living Nutrition.