NUTRITION 101

27 Health and Nutrition Tips That Are Actually Evidence-Based (Source: healthlilne.com)

It’s easy to get confused when it comes to health and nutrition. Even qualified experts often seem to hold opposing opinions. Yet, despite all the disagreements, a number of wellness tips are well supported by research. Here are 27 health and nutrition tips that are actually based on good science.

1. Don’t drink sugar calories. Sugary drinks are among the most fattening items you can put into your body. This is because your brain doesn’t measure calories from liquid sugar the same way it does for solid food. Therefore, when you drink soda, you end up eating more total calories. Sugary drinks are strongly associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many other health problems. Keep in mind that certain fruit juices may be almost as bad as soda in this regard, as they sometimes contain just as much sugar. Their small amounts of antioxidants do not negate the sugar’s harmful effects.

2. Eat nuts. Despite being high in fat, nuts are incredibly nutritious and healthy. They’re loaded with magnesium, vitamin E, fiber, and various other nutrients. Studies demonstrate that nuts can help you lose weight and may help fight type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Additionally, your body doesn’t absorb 10–15% of the calories in nuts. Some evidence also suggests that this food can boost metabolism. In one study, almonds were shown to increase weight loss by 62%, compared with complex carbs.
3. Avoid processed junk food (eat real food instead). Processed junk food is incredibly unhealthy. These foods have been engineered to trigger your pleasure centers, so they trick your brain into overeating — even promoting food addiction in some people. They’re usually low in fiber, protein, and micronutrients but high in unhealthy ingredients like added sugar and refined grains. Thus, they provide mostly empty calories.
4. Don’t fear coffee. Coffee is very healthy. It’s high in antioxidants, and studies have linked coffee intake to longevity and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, and numerous other illnesses.
5. Eat fatty fish. Fish is a great source of high-quality protein and healthy fat. This is particularly true of fatty fish, such as salmon, which is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and various other nutrients. Studies show that people who eat the most fish have a lower risk of several conditions, including heart disease, dementia, and depression.
6. Get enough sleep. The importance of getting enough quality sleep cannot be overstated. Poor sleep can drive insulin resistance, disrupt your appetite hormones, and reduce your physical and mental performance. What’s more, poor sleep is one of the strongest individual risk factors for weight gain and obesity. One study linked insufficient sleep to an 89% and 55% increased risk of obesity in children and adults, respectively.
7. Take care of your gut health with probiotics and fiber. The bacteria in your gut, collectively called the gut microbiota, are incredibly important for overall health. A disruption in gut bacteria is linked to some of the world’s most serious chronic diseases, including obesity. Good ways to improve gut health include eating probiotic foods like yogurt and sauerkraut, taking probiotic supplements, and eating plenty of fiber. Notably, fiber functions as fuel for your gut bacteria.
8. Drink some water, especially before meals. Drinking enough water can have numerous benefits. Surprisingly, it can boost the number of calories you burn. Two studies note that it can increase metabolism by 24–30% over 1–1.5 hours. This can amount to 96 additional calories burned if you drink 8.4 cups (2 liters) of water per day. The optimal time to drink it is before meals. One study showed that downing 2.1 cups (500 ml) of water 30 minutes before each meal increased weight loss by 44%.
9. Don’t overcook or burn your meat. Meat can be a nutritious and healthy part of your diet. It’s very high in protein and contains various important nutrients. However, problems occur when meat is overcooked or burnt. This can lead to the formation of harmful compounds that raise your risk of cancer. When you cook meat, make sure not to overcook or burn it.
10. Avoid bright lights before sleep. When you’re exposed to bright lights in the evening, it may disrupt your production of the sleep hormone melatonin. One strategy is to use a pair of amber-tinted glasses that block blue light from entering your eyes in the evening. This allows melatonin to be produced as if it were completely dark, helping you sleep better.
11. Take vitamin D3 if you don’t get much sun exposure. Sunlight is a great source of vitamin D. Yet, most people don’t get enough sun exposure. In fact, about 41.6% of the U.S. population is deficient in this critical vitamin. If you’re unable to get adequate sun exposure, vitamin D supplements are a good alternative. Their benefits include improved bone health, increased strength, reduced symptoms of depression, and a lower risk of cancer. Vitamin D may also help you live longer.
12. Eat vegetables and fruits. Vegetables and fruits are loaded with prebiotic fiber, vitamins, minerals, and many antioxidants, some of which have potent biological effects. Studies show that people who eat the most vegetables and fruits live longer and have a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other illnesses.
13. Make sure to eat enough protein. Eating enough protein is vital for optimal health. What’s more, this nutrient is particularly important for weight loss. High protein intake can boost metabolism significantly while making you feel full enough to automatically eat fewer calories. It can also reduce cravings and your desire to snack late at night. Sufficient protein intake has also been shown to lower blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
14. Do some cardio. Doing aerobic exercise, also called cardio, is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health. It’s particularly effective at reducing belly fat, the harmful type of fat that builds up around your organs. Reduced belly fat should lead to major improvements in metabolic health.
15. Don’t smoke or do drugs, and only drink in moderation. If you smoke or abuse drugs, tackle those problems first. Diet and exercise can wait. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation and consider avoiding it completely if you tend to drink too much.
16. Use extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest vegetable oils. It’s loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and powerful antioxidants that can fight inflammation. Extra virgin olive oil benefits heart health, as people who consume it have a much lower risk of dying from heart attacks and strokes.
17. Minimize your sugar intake. Added sugar is one of the worst ingredients in the modern diet, as large amounts can harm your metabolic health. High sugar intake is linked to numerous ailments, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many forms of cancer.
18. Don’t eat a lot of refined carbs. Not all carbs are created equal. Refined carbs have been highly processed to remove their fiber. They’re relatively low in nutrients and can harm your health when eaten in excess. Studies show that refined carbs are linked to overeating and numerous metabolic diseases.
19. Don’t fear saturated fat. Saturated fat has been controversial. While it’s true that saturated fat raises cholesterol levels, it also raises HDL (good) cholesterol and shrinks your LDL (bad) particles, which is linked to a lower risk of heart disease. New studies in hundreds of thousands of people have questioned the association between saturated fat intake and heart disease.
20. Lift heavy things. Lifting weights is one of the best things you can do to strengthen your muscles and improve your body composition. It also leads to massive improvements in metabolic health, including improved insulin sensitivity. The best approach is to lift weights, but doing bodyweight exercises can be just as effective.
21. Avoid artificial trans fats. Artificial trans fats are harmful, man-made fats that are strongly linked to inflammation and heart disease. While trans fats have been largely banned in the United States and elsewhere, the U.S. ban hasn’t gone fully into effect — and some foods still contain them.
22. Use plenty of herbs and spices. Many incredibly healthy herbs and spices exist. For example, ginger and turmeric both have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, leading to various health benefits. Due to their powerful benefits, you should try to include as many herbs and spices as possible in your diet.
23. Take care of your relationships. Social relationships are incredibly important not only for your mental well-being but also your physical health. Studies show that people who have close friends and family are healthier and live much longer than those who do not.
24. Track your food intake every now and then. The only way to know exactly how many calories you eat is to weigh your food and use a nutrition tracker. It’s also essential to make sure that you’re getting enough protein, fiber, and micronutrients. Studies reveal that people who track their food intake tend to be more successful at losing weight and sticking to a healthy diet.
25. If you have excess belly fat, get rid of it. Belly fat is particularly harmful. It accumulates around your organs and is strongly linked to metabolic disease. For this reason, your waist size may be a much stronger marker of your health than your weight. Cutting carbs and eating more protein and fiber are all excellent ways to get rid of belly fat.
26. Don’t go on a diet. Diets are notoriously ineffective and rarely work well in the long term. In fact, dieting is one of the strongest predictors for future weight gain. Instead of going on a diet, try adopting a healthier lifestyle. Focus on nourishing your body instead of depriving it. Weight loss should follow as you transition to whole, nutritious foods.
27. Eat eggs, yolk and all. Whole eggs are so nutritious that they’re often termed “nature’s multivitamin.” It’s a myth that eggs are bad for you because of their cholesterol content. Studies show that they have no effect on blood cholesterol in the majority of people. Additionally, a massive review in 263,938 people found that egg intake had no association with heart disease risk. Instead, eggs are one of the planet’s most nutritious foods. Notably, the yolk contains almost all of the healthy compounds.
Bottom Line. A few simple steps can go a long way toward improving your diet and wellness. Still, if you’re trying to live a healthier life, don’t just focus on the foods you eat. Exercise, sleep, and social relationships are also important. With the tips above, it’s easy to get your body feeling great every day.

15 Benefits of Drinking Water
(Source: medicalnewstoday.com)

Keeping hydrated is crucial for health and well-being, but many people do not consume enough fluids each day. Around 60 percent of the body is made up of water, and around 71 percent of the planet’s surface is covered by water. Perhaps it is the ubiquitous nature of water that means drinking enough each day is not at the top of many people’s lists of priorities.

Fast facts on drinking water

  • Adult humans are 60 percent water, and our blood is 90 percent water.
  • There is no universally agreed quantity of water that must be consumed daily.
  • Water is essential for the kidneys and other bodily functions.
  • When dehydrated, the skin can become more vulnerable to skin disorders and wrinkling.
  • Drinking water instead of soda can help with weight loss.
  • Fifteen benefits of drinking water
  • Possible benefits of drinking water range from keeping the kidneys healthy to losing weight.
  • To function properly, all the cells and organs of the body need water.

Below are 15 reasons our bodies need water:

1. It lubricates the joints. Cartilage, found in joints and the disks of the spine, contains around 80 percent water. Long-term dehydration can reduce the joints’ shock-absorbing ability, leading to joint pain.
2. It forms saliva and mucus. Saliva helps us digest our food and keeps the mouth, nose, and eyes moist. This prevents friction and damage. Drinking water also keeps the mouth clean. Consumed instead of sweetened beverages, it can also reduce tooth decay.
3. It delivers oxygen throughout the body. Blood is more than 90 percent water, and blood carries oxygen to different parts of the body.
4. It boosts skin health and beauty. With dehydration, the skin can become more vulnerable to skin disorders and premature wrinkling.
5. It cushions the brain, spinal cord, and other sensitive tissues. Dehydration can affect brain structure and function. It is also involved in the production of hormones and neurotransmitters. Prolonged dehydration can lead to problems with thinking and reasoning.
6. It regulates body temperature. Water that is stored in the middle layers of the skin comes to the skin’s surface as sweat when the body heats up. As it evaporates, it cools the body. In sport. Some scientists have suggested that when there is too little water in the body, heat storage increases and the individual is less able to tolerate heat strain. Having a lot of water in the body may reduce physical strain if heat stress occurs during exercise. However, more research is needed into these effects.
7. The digestive system depends on it. The bowel needs water to work properly. Dehydration can lead to digestive problems, constipation, and an overly acidic stomach. This increases the risk of heartburn and stomach ulcers.
8. It flushes body waste. Water is needed in the processes of sweating and removal of urine and feces.
9. It helps maintain blood pressure. A lack of water can cause blood to become thicker, increasing blood pressure.
10. The airways need it. When dehydrated, airways are restricted by the body in an effort to minimize water loss. This can make asthma and allergies worse.
11. It makes minerals and nutrients accessible. These dissolve in water, which makes it possible for them to reach different parts of the body.
12. It prevents kidney damage. The kidneys regulate fluid in the body. Insufficient water can lead to kidney stones and other problems.
13. It boosts performance during exercise. Dehydration during exercise may hinder performance. Some scientists have proposed that consuming more water might enhance performance during strenuous activity. More research is needed to confirm this, but one review found that dehydration reduces performance in activities lasting longer than 30 minutes.
14. Weight loss. Water may also help with weight loss, if it is consumed instead of sweetened juices and sodas. “Preloading” with water before meals can help prevent overeating by creating a sense of fullness.
15. It reduces the chance of a hangover. When partying, unsweetened soda water with ice and lemon alternated with alcoholic drinks can help prevent overconsumption of alcohol.

Water and the Kidneys

  • Water helps dissolve minerals and nutrients, making them more accessible to the body. It also helps remove waste products.
  • The kidneys play a key role in balancing fluid levels.
  • Every day, the kidneys filter around 120-150 quarts of fluid.
  • Of these, approximately 1-2 quarts are removed from the body in the form of urine, and the rest is recovered by the bloodstream.
  • Water is essential for the kidneys to function.
  • If the kidneys do not function properly, waste products and excess fluid can build up inside the body.
  • Untreated, chronic kidney disease can lead to kidney failure. The organs stop working, and either dialysis or kidney transplantation is required.
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the second most common type of infection in the body. They account for around 8.1 million visits to health care providers in the U.S. every year.
  • If infections spread to the upper urinary tract, including the kidneys, permanent damage can result. Sudden, or acute, kidney infections can be life-threatening, particularly if septicemia occurs.
  • Drinking plenty of water is a simple way to reduce the risk of developing a UTI and to help treat an existing UTI.
  • Kidney stones interfere with how the kidneys work. When present, can complicate UTIs. These complicated UTIs tend to require longer periods of antibiotics to treat them, typically lasting 7 to 14 days.
  • The leading cause of kidney stones is a lack of water. People who report them often do not drink the recommended daily amount of water. Kidney stones may also increase the risk of chronic kidney disease.
  • In November 2014, the American College of Physicians issued new guidelines for people who have previously developed kidney stones. The guidelines state that increasing fluid intake to enable 2 liters of urination a day could decrease the risk of stone recurrence by at least half with no side effects.
  • Dehydration happens if we use and lose more water than the body takes in. It can lead to an imbalance in the body’s electrolytes. Electrolytes, such as potassium, phosphate, and sodium, help carry electrical signals between cells. The kidneys keep the levels of electrolytes in the body stable when they function properly.
  • When the kidneys are unable to maintain a balance in the levels of electrolytes, these electrical signals become mixed up. This can lead to seizures, involving involuntary muscle movements and loss of consciousness.
  • In severe cases, dehydration can lead to kidney failure, which can be life-threatening. Possible complications of chronic kidney failure include anemia, damage to the central nervous system, heart failure, and a compromised immune system.

Recommended intake. How much water we need to consume is influenced by the climate. The amount of water needed each day varies from person to person, depending on how active they are, how much they sweat, and so on. There is no fixed amount of water that must be consumed daily, but there is general agreement on what a healthy fluid intake is. According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the average recommended daily intake of water from both food and drink is:

    • For men: Around 3.7 liters or 125 ounces
    • For women: Around 2.7 liters or 91 ounces
    • This would be around 15.5 cups for men and just over 11 cups for women. However, around 80 percent of this should come from drinks, including water, and the rest will be from food.

This means that:

  • Men should drink around 100 ounces, or 12.5 cups of fluid
  • Women should drink around 73 ounces, or just over 9 cups

Fresh fruits and vegetables and all non-alcoholic fluids count towards this recommendation.

Times when it is most important to drink plenty of water include:

  • when you have a fever
  • when the weather is hot
  • if you have diarrhea and vomiting
  • when you sweat a lot, for example, due to physical activity

Some Other Facts About Water

  • Babies and children have a higher percentage of water than adults. When babies are born, they are about 78 percent water, but this falls to 65 percent by the age of 1 year.
  • Fatty tissue has less water than lean tissue.
  • Men have more water than women, as a percentage.

 

Do we drink enough water? A study carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2013 analyzed data from the National Cancer Institute’s 2007 Food Attitudes and Behaviors Survey. Out of a sample of 3,397 adults, the researchers found:

  • 7 percent of adults reported no daily consumption of drinking water
  • 36 percent of adults reported drinking 1-3 cups of drinking water a day
  • 35 percent of adults reported drinking 4-7 cups of drinking water a day
  • 22 percent of adults reported drinking 8 cups or more a day
  • People were more likely to drink less than 4 cups of drinking water daily if they consumed 1 cup or less of fruits or vegetables a day.

The study only measured the intake of drinking water. Fluid can be gained from other beverages, but water is best because it is calorie-free, caffeine-free, and alcohol-free. Seven percent of respondents reported drinking no water at all daily, and those who drank a low volume of water also consumed less fruit and vegetables. This suggests that a certain number of people are risking their health by not getting enough fluid. Even if the respondents reporting low levels of water intake were obtaining enough fluid, it is likely that they would be obtaining it from sources that could potentially compromise their health in other ways. “The biologic requirement for water may be met with plain water or via foods and other beverages,” write the study authors. “Results from previous epidemiologic studies indicate that water intake may be inversely related to volume of calorically sweetened beverages and other fluid intake.”

ALKALINE WATER

Hi this is Dianne Thompson, President and CEO of SWIM. I grew up in rural southwest Georgia where the cicadas sing and lightning bugs or fireflies for you city folks light up the night. One mainstay in my life during this time was the well water our family drank every day. In those days, I had no idea that we were drinking alkaline water and how beneficial it was to our bodies. Although there is currently not enough studies to back up the benefits of alkaline water, I can say it just makes me feel good and more refreshed after drinking it. The information that follows in this section is from the Natural Food Pantry website. Check out Dr. Otto Warburg below who famously said:

“No disease, including cancer, can exist in an alkaline environment.” – Dr. Otto Warburg

For his work on the aerobic and anaerobic metabolic processes in cells, Dr. Otto Warburg was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology Or Medicine in 1931. He suggested that cancer cells “live in hypoxic, very low oxygen, and acidic conditions and derive energy from sugars by fermenting them the way yeast does”. As cancer progresses, the body becomes more and more acidic as its pH drops below 7.35. His discoveries were revolutionary for their time, and contributed greatly to what we know about cancer today.

The pH scale ranges from 1 (highly acidic) to 14 (highly alkaline), while your body’s pH usually hovers between 7.35 and 7.4. Unfortunately, most of the foods that people consume today are full of sugar, preservatives, and genetically modified organisms – which all contribute to acidity in the body. The most alkaline foods are vegetables, as well as some fruits, grains, nuts, and alkaline water. Helping your body neutralize some of its acidity is crucial for maintaining your overall health.

While many years have passed since Warburg’s publications and studies, his discoveries still hold true today. Cancer can be partially attributed to prolonged exposure to toxins, especially in cells that haven’t been nourished, oxygenated, hydrated, and cleansed. And of course, as Warburg discovered, cancer cells cannot survive in an alkaline environment. To maintain your health and keep your body at its best, it is very important to keep your body nourished with fresh, wholesome foods, and hydrated with clean, alkaline water.

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