With summer officially upon us, we all know we need to drink water. That’s a no brainer. But there’s more to it than just knowing this key fact.
To get you jump started, here are a few critical essentials of waters impact on your body:
Water is one of the most important substances that impacts health.
From time to time my clients ask me the many important consumption aspects of water. Such as:
At times it can be daunting to think about the many areas of water consumption. But let’s take it slowly and contemplate the first few questions.
Does drinking water with a meal affect your body’s ability to digest food properly?
It has been told that drinking water with a meal will dilute stomach acidity, but this has been proven to be a myth.
It was once believed that the dilution of our stomach acidity inhibits the body’s ability to breakdown foods, especially proteins (which can lead to a long list of health issues). But in reality, water does not significantly affect our digestive juices, thus water will not interfere with digestion.
It has been shown that when water is consumed before meals it stimulates the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and the involuntary contraction and relaxation of muscles that moves food through the digestive system (called peristalsis).
In addition, research shows that drinking water can boots your metabolism for up to one hour after being consumed. And that drinking water will help balance weight!
How about water’s impact on health issues?
Many health conditions can be effectively eliminated with the incorporation of more water into your daily regimen.
Areas such as, arthritis, chronic pain, heartburn, muscle injuries, high blood pressure, and irritable bowel issues, just to name a few. It can be shocking to think about it, but it all makes complete sense. Just look how your body is impacted by water:
So, how much water should you consume?
As mentioned above, with roughly 60% of your body being comprised of water, your age, gender and health status have a great impact on how much water your body needs. In addition, your exercise routine and intensity, environmental conditions (cold weather, hot and humid weather and altitude), and your sweat rate are also key factors in your fluid equation.
In general, when considering an average individual’s day, the rule of thumb for adults is to consume a little more than half your body weight in ounces. For a 175-pound male that means he should be consuming about 88 ounces per day. However, this number is by no means set in stone. If you are like me and have a solid exercise routine, live in hot temperatures this time of year and are constantly active, your fluid intake amount will most likely be higher.
The challenge sometimes isn’t knowing that you should drink more water, but is in the act of doing it.
Here are a few of my favorites to help you incorporate more water into your daily routine:
Start with one of these above tips and give it a shot for a few days, watching your water intake increase. And don't forget your electrolytes!
In what ways do you enjoy drinking water throughout the day?
I’d be thrilled to hear it!
Share a tip with me below or on my Acceleration Sports Facebook Page of what works best for you or what you are going to give a try.
Cheers to a properly hydrated summer!
PS - Wanting new recipe ideas? Follow me on Pinterest for some yummy and creative ideas.
With Memorial Day weekend just around the corner and summer almost officially here, that means more time outdoors in the sun. No matter your pleasure of choice, a little beach rest and relaxation, hiking in the mountains or enjoying an open water swim, it is important to protect you and your family from the dangerous effects of sun exposure.
Though, do you know that not all sunscreens are created equal?
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) analyzed 1,700 sun protection productions in the United States and found that 80% of the products reviewed this year contained harmful ingredients or contained inadequate protection against the unsafe ultraviolet radiation. Some of these toxic chemicals, such as oxybenzone, which is a hormone disruptor, or retinyl palmitate, which is a form of vitamin A linked to skin damage.
Check out EWG’s Sunscreen Guide 2015 to make sure you have the right protection for you and your family during your outdoor activities.
Within the EWG’s Sunscreen Guide, here are a few other features listed in the report:
- Best Beach and Sport Sunscreens
- Best moisturizers with SPF
- Hall of Shame
- Reading the Report
- What’s Wrong With High SPF?
- Eight Little-Known Facts About Sunscreens
- The Problem With Vitamin A
Remember, the health of your skin is not just protected by what you apply to the skin from the outside. As I have mentioned in more detail in this previous blog post, the skin, being the largest organ of your body, is greatly impacted by the health of your gastrointestinal tract. Consuming Aloe Vera Juice is just one of the many foods that not only improves digestion but also gives your skin the glow and protection it deserves from the inside out.
To a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend to you and your loved ones!
Digestive Health Smoothie
4 raw Brazil nuts
1 whole cucumber
1 large celery stalk
small handful of spinach or mixed greens
1/2 cup aloe vera juice
1 heaping tablespoon ground flax seeds
1 cup frozen blueberries
15-20 drops vanilla stevia or raw honey (or to taste)
2.5 cups water (you can add more or less depending upon your thickness desire)
1 teaspoon maca (optional)
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger (optional)
Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!
PS - Wanting new recipe ideas? Follow me on Pinterest for some yummy and creative ideas.
Do you experience or know anyone who experiences any of the following symptoms?
- Gas and bloating
- Allergies and/or sensitivities to certain foods or smells
- Eczema, canker sores or acne
- Migraine headaches
- Abdominal pain
- Brain fog, anxiety and depression
Did you know that the above symptoms all have the same root cause in common?
Nagging and often irritating manifestations, from your brain function to your skin to respiratory system to your belly, all stem from the same place.
Any guesses to where the root cause is located? Knowing me, you might know where this root cause is…
Yep, it’s in your gut!
First let’s remember that your body is a complex and amazing one. It is an interwoven and unique system that is constantly interacting. Organs are not independent from one another, but rather work in unison together.
At first, I can understand how it might be odd to think of your respiratory challenge, or most other health conditions, as stemming from the health of your primary digestion and absorption organ; the small intestine. But when really diving into the chemical reactions that are going on inside your body, things start to become clearer. These health challenges are warning signs that the body is sending you, informing you that something has gone wrong.
By getting to the actual cause of the manifestation, we can improve the health issue instead of masking over the signs and symptoms. You have a greater chance of being successful with your health challenges when identifying, addressing and understanding the knowledge of the root cause(s).
Let’s say you are experiencing a health challenge. You might go to the doctor to try and improve the situation. Often more times than not, the health challenge isn’t improved, instead the symptoms are dealt with. Those symptoms listed are often covered up, like a band-aid. Yes, your symptoms might disappear, which is great! But whatever is causing your symptoms to appear in the first place is not rectified. This is like putting a band-aid over a gaping wound.
Instead, we need to give our bodies what they need to function properly and improve our organ or organs that are working insufficiently. Poor gut health limits the organs, and whole body for that matter, from being able to function properly.
So, how can health challenges be impacted due to your gut?
Let’s start by discussing the gastrointestinal (GI) membrane…
The GI mucosal membrane surface is the largest interface between our internal body and the external world. It covers more than 400 square meters, that’s over 200-fold greater than the surface of your skin.
Over an individual’s lifetime, a person consumes over 25 tons of food, which gives the body nutrients through the processes of digestion and absorption. The GI tract is not only responsible for digestion and nutrient absorption, but is an essential protective layer from external pathogens.
When you consume food, it goes into your mouth, down the esophagus and to the stomach. From here the gallbladder and pancreas produce enzymes that are secreted into the gut and aid in further digestion. The quality of the enzymes produced by those organs is dependent on the health of your small intestine. These enzymes are then pumped into the gates of the small intestine.
Well, there are many detailed chemical processes that facilitate what is put into circulation by the small intestine. When functioning properly, the small intestine is your main gatekeeper. It determines what will and what will not travel into the circulatory system. Therefore, it’s the health of the small intestine that allows the gatekeepers to do their job.
And if your small intestine is being compromised, you are too. You could be absorbing the many not so good “foods,” or as prolific journalist and professor Michael Pollan likes to put it “food like substances,” (such as toxins) into your body. With poor nutritional intake and absorption, the cells of the small intestine are not able to support healthy regeneration, profoundly affecting the integrity of the small intestinal barrier. The gates are compromised, thus causing symptoms to arise in numerous possible ways.
Some factors associated with poor small intestine health:
- Nutrient insufficiencies
- Excessive stress
- Gastrointestinal infections
- Food allergies
- Excessive simple sugar consumption
- Poorly digested foods
- Food additives
- Over-the-counter drugs like NSAIDs
- Foreign microbes
- Whole food exposure before the age of 4 months
Therefore, it is key to have proper GI barrier function within the small intestine so certain poorly digested nutrients and other factors do not enter where they are not supposed to be. If they enter, they cause havoc on the body causing symptoms to arise, which can also disrupt your mental and hormonal health.
Even if you don’t experience any symptoms linked to your digestive system, one of the root causes of all manifestations is usually the health of your gut. This needs to be in good restoration.
But don’t worry, if your small intestine is out of whack, there’s hope. It can be restored!
Remember, a healthy small intestine is your gatekeeper for peak health.
In our nutrition sessions we get to the root causes, giving you the tools to heal your gut and improve your signs and symptoms.
PS - Wanting new recipe ideas? Follow me on Pinterest for some yummy and creative ideas.
We all have heard how we need fiber in our diet, that is a given. But one question I get asked a lot is, “What foods can I eat that will give me an adequate amount of daily fiber?”
First, let’s go back to the basics...
Dietary fiber is basically the undigested carbohydrates that are in a large variety of plant carbohydrates. With a high fiber diet we can help lower our cholesterol, control blood sugar and prevent constipation. In a nutshell, eating more fiber allows us to have a healthy colon and regular bowel movements.
How much fiber should you be consuming?
The Institute of Medicine’s minimum recommended fiber intake is about 30 grams per day. However, did you know that most Americans consume about 15 grams of fiber per day, yikes! Yep, that’s half the recommended minimum requirement.
Where are some areas that I can get fiber naturally?
Good sources of fiber include beans, vegetables, whole grains and fruits. There are two different types of fiber that we need to consume: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is found in foods such as beans, peas, oat bran, fruits and vegetables. Insoluble fiber is in whole grains, wheat bran, fruit skins and peels, nuts, seeds, vegetables and beans.
We know that not all foods are created equal. Certain foods allow us to more easily reach this, for some, “hefty” fiber goal. But truly, the goal is not as hard to achieve as one might think.
For those who lack fiber greatly, a few words of caution is to start adding fiber in slowly over a 2 to 3 week timeframe. This will help your gastrointestinal (GI) tract better adapt to the added bulk without excess gas and bloating. In addition, to help with digestion, properly staying hydrated throughout the day with about half your body weight in ounces in water, is a good rule of thumb to abide by.
So, what would a typical day look like that is fiber rich?
Below is an example of one of my client’s intake of breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner. With this one-day food journal, keep in mind, that as individuals we all don’t need to be consuming the same foods. We each have different genetic make-up, stresses, toxins and lifestyle choices that have an impact on our body’s ability to break down food. Listening to your body for possible signs and symptoms (S&S) it might be giving you is important. Some of these S&S could be bloating, excess gas or borborygmi (rumbling in the GI tract), to name a few. By listening it allows us to piece together “what’s going on in there,” thus improving your health.
It’s not only the type of foods you are eating that is important, but also what your body is able to do with the food and nutrients you eat.
Here is an example of a one-day food journal from a client of mine.
Breakfast: Smoothie ~ 15 g of fiber
Lunch: Salad ~ 15 g of fiber
Snack: Garlic hummus w/ dipped broccoli & side of almonds ~ 9 g of fiber
Dinner: Salmon, sweet potato, and quinoa ~ 8 g of fiber
Total fiber for the day ~ 47 grams
This one-day food journal is from a wife and a mother of three who is also working full-time. She easily attained the Institute of Medicine’s minimum daily fiber requirement, and you can too. It's totally doable!
So, where do you stack up? When consuming whole foods only, how much fiber are you getting in daily?
I'd love to hear your thoughts and creative food ideas below.
PS - Wanting new recipe ideas? Follow me on Pinterest for some yummy and creative recipe ideas.
To really understand what inflammation is let’s first start with where the major concepts of inflammation began, back in the Roman days thousands of years ago. The Romans described inflammation as 4 symptoms:
- Calor (heat)
- Rubor (redness)
- Tumor (swelling)
- Dolor (pain)
These symptoms occur because of increased blood supply to the infected area.
Now when we talk about inflammation, we aren’t just talking about the body’s response to trauma – let’s say, when we first sprain our ankle. Yes, this type of inflammation (acute inflammation) occurs allowing an increased blood supply to the infected area. However, this is not the only cause of inflammation.
Hmmm….so inflammation is bad, right?
Well, yes and no. The inflammatory process is designed to defend and repair the body against pathogens and trauma (a process with a purpose!). The immune system’s inflammatory response uses a complex exchange between different branches of the immune system. Certain signals are conducted that transfer information to sensors, which perceive foreign substances, danger or damage, into a sequence of biochemical cascades. These branches are essential to our survival, as without them we are asking for a death sentence. Therefore, having a balanced inflammatory process is needed to ensure our health and survival.
Aside from the above-mentioned acute inflammation, we also have chronic inflammation. Foreign invaders (such as bacteria, viruses and toxins) are just a few of the harmful causes of chronic inflammation. You might not be able to see or feel the inflammation, like you would a sprained ankle, but overtime these causes can lead to a whole list of health issues, including:
- Constipation and/or diarrhea
- Body aches and pains
- Skin outbreaks
- Accelerated aging
- Resistance to weight gain and weight loss
- Frequent infections
These above are just a few of the signs and symptoms the body portrays, informing us of health issues that must be addressed. When the dysfunction occurs due to a host of systemic imbalances, inflammation becomes the root cause of all diseases. Diseases such as:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Liver disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- Parkinson’s disease
So, whether the immune response is initiated by the release of debris from injured cells, AGEs (advanced glycation end products) or oxidized LDL, or the exposure to environmental or antigens (pesticides, PBCs, etc), a chain of specific pathways are initiated, leading to the increased production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. By getting rid of the inflammation you are able to improve your overall health.
You might be asking, “so how do I turn off the heat, redness, swelling and pain?“
Simply put, through the foods we eat!
Certain foods are able to “put out the fire” while other foods “fuel the fire.” Pro-inflammatory foods cause the body to continue to fuel the inflammation keeping us in, or working towards, a chronic disease state. While other foods are anti-inflammatory, helping to suppress the entire inflammatory response.
A big pro-inflammatory substance that most people consume way too much of on a daily basis is SUGAR!
Sugar is, of course, in candies, donuts and desserts, but they are also hidden in every day foods. Most people don’t even know they are eating sugar. Many foods that some might think are “healthy” are actually pro-inflammatory.
- Fruit yogurt
- Spaghetti sauce
- Soda, vitamin water and sports drinks
- Granola cereal and granola bars
- Dried fruit
- Juices, such as V-8 juice and apple juice
- Condiments, such as ketchup and thousand island dressing
To minimize inflammation, it is wise to limit the amount of sugar intake. That means for women it is less than 24 grams per day and for men less than 36 grams per day. The task might feel daunting at first, but in looking at food labels and seeing how much sugar and inflammation your body is truly taking on will definitely be worth it.
An important thing to remember is that the structural and functional cellular level of inflammation is closely interrelated. Inflammation is not an isolated occurrence, but instead is greatly intertwined with the overall health of your body.
We only get one body, which currently works so hard to perform at it’s best every day for you. Let’s allow it to have an impeccable balance with limited pro-inflammatory affects, enabling you to live a healthy, active life.
Hello, my name is Stacy Peterson, licensed Functional Nutritionist and Holistic Health, Wellness and Strength & Conditioning Coach with a MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine practicing whole-foods nutrition and physical training to individuals around the globe.
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