As the weather warms up, staying hydrated becomes more and more important. Water is the quintessential thirst quencher and no other liquid will alleviate dehydration as effectively and as naturally without adding calories to your waistline. Over the years, bottled water has become a manufactured necessity distracting us from how fortunate we are to having potable water flowing from our taps.
I just read an article that talked about how much energy and resources are needed for bottle water:
The average person excretes about 2.5 litres of water per day. Breaking a sweat obviously increases that loss. To replace that water loss and maintain proper cell function, we need to drink about two litres of fluid. Eating foods with a high water content will take care of the remaining half litre or so. Indeed, food usually accounts for about 20 percent of our daily fluid intake.
Here's a list of the (surprising) foods with the highest moisture content:
Cream of wheat. This hot cereal tops all the fruits and vegetables at 155 millilitres of fluid in a three-quarter cup (175 ml) serving. Bonus – it's also high in iron. If you're wheat-free, other cooked cereals like Red River or oat bran provide a similar level of hydration.
Yogurt. No added sugar cow's milk, sheep, goat, almond or coconut based yogurt also contains 155 millilitres of liquid in a three-quarter cup (175 g) serving. You also get a small dose of calcium, potassium and protein.
Potatoes. Cooked in their skins, in the oven, the lowly spud provides 145 millilitres of moisture per one-half cup (125 ml) serving. Not bad for a food that's so starchy.
Salad. As expected, your generic leafy green salad allows you to eat your water. One cup (250 ml) provides about 140 millilitres of water. Surprised it's not a the top of the list?
Pears. Finally, the fruit with the highest water content is the delicious pear. (You'd think it was watermelon, right?) Eat your organic pears raw with the skin (after you wash it, of course) for 139 millilitres of sweet juiciness.
And remember, when you start to feel thirsty, you're already dehydrated. So sip small amounts all day long and make sure to eat your
Fibre-rich foods generally have a low glycemic index (GI), although not all foods with a low GI necessarily have high fibre content.
Eating meals with the right amount of low glycemic index carbohydrate, i.e. the right glycemic load, lowers inflammatory markers and helps you fell fuller longer.
According to Harvard researchers, healthy, middle-aged women who ate the meals with the lowest glycemic load had the lowest levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation in the body.
In overweight women who had greater levels of C-reactive protein to begin with, eating higher amounts of low glycemic index foods had an even greater impact on their inflammatory markers.
Glycemic Index and Inflammation
Insulin resistance means glucose is not effectively cleared from the blood after eating. This extra glucose in the bloodstream causes inflammation.
High-GI diet appears to increase insulin resistance after a meal. British researchers compared the effects of a high-fat diet, a low-GI diet, a high-GI diet and a high sucrose (table sugar) diet on insulin resistance in middle-aged men with heart disease risk factors. Despite containing the same number of calories, the high-GI diet caused greater fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin levels.
In a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Harvard researchers found that eating more high-GI foods significantly increases the amount of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP) in healthy middle-aged women – regardless of whether they have other risk factors for heart disease.
Inflammation in Heart Disease
In the same Harvard study, researchers explain that high-GI carbs may boost heart disease risk by exacerbating of pro-inflammatory processes like insulin resistance. Insulin resistance means glucose from food is not effective cleared but lingers in the blood stream triggering inflammation. Eating lots of rapidly digested and absorbed high-GI carbohydrates increases the risk of heart disease, particularly in overweight women who are already prone to insulin resistance.
According to research in the May 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, long-term intake of grains with different glycemic indexes may affect the extent of inflammation in people with the heart disease risk factors. For example, researchers from Finland found that the glycemic response to the rye bread and pasta are lower than that of oat and wheat bread and potato - with the harmful effects of high blood sugar sticking around in the body for more than two hours. The people involved in this study had metabolic syndrome, which means they were already at higher risk of developing heart disease and other inflammatory conditions.
Researchers from Tufts New England Medical Center found greater declines in CRP concentration after consumption of a low glycemic load diets in overweight people. In this study, published in the journal Obesity, 34 overweight people were given calorie-restricted diet that had either a high glycemic load or a low glycemic load. Weight loss aside, the people who ate the low glycemic load diet saw a drop in levels of inflammation in their body.
Numerous studies have shown that overweight adults on low-GI diets have lower levels of CRP and lower blood levels of bad LDL cholesterol than their overweight peers who eat high-GI diets - even if they didn’t lose weight on the low-GI diet.
Inflammation in Type 2 Diabetes
Another study from Harvard showed that diets high in low-GI whole grains and portion-controlled carbohydrates may have a protective effect against systemic inflammation in diabetic patients. Portion control of carbohydrates – even low-GI carbs – means you’re eating the controlling your glycemic load.
In this 2007 report, long-term, epidemiological studies were reviewed to reach the conclusion that low-GI diets reduce oxidative stress and guard against system-wide inflammation that may mark the beginnings of type 2 diabetes.
Glycemic Response and Colonic Health
The strength of your gut, as determined by your rate of colonic fermentation, plays a role in the rise and fall of blood sugar levels after eating high-GI foods. In comparing a high-GI meal to a low-GI meal, Swedish researchers found that rates of colonic fermentation (a sign of a healthy gut) dropped as blood sugar levels peaked.
In this study, 15 healthy people ate evening meals with varying amounts of non-digestible fibre (the kind found in wheat bran). At breakfast, those who ate more non-digestible, low-GI carbs reported increased feelings of fullness and showed higher rates of colon fermentation.
What are low-GI foods?
Asparagus, avocado, beet greens, bell peppers, bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, fennel, green beans, kale, crimini mushrooms, mustard greens, olives and olive oil, romaine, spinach, summer squash, tomatoes, yams.
Apples, blueberries, cranberries, cherries, grapes, grapefruit, kiwi, oranges, peaches, pears, plums, prunes, raspberries, strawberries.
Grains, breads, nuts and seeds:
Oat bran, rolled oats, pumpernickel, sourdough, brown rice, buckwheat, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, almonds, cashews, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts.
Beans and legumes:
Lentils, pinto beans, navy beans, kidney beans, chick peas (garbanzo), black eyed peas, yellow split peas.
Try some new, low-GI foods today and let me know what you think? Oh, and remember to drink lots of water between meals if you're new at introducing these foods.
As always, connect with me if you have any questions about nutrition, health, wellness, exercise, etc.
In good health,
What exactly are superfoods anyway?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, superfoods are “a super nutrient-dense food, loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and/or phytonutrients, etc.”. I have also read they have specific benefits for health improvements, few negative properties and are a whole food in its natural state.
In a perfect world, we would all be able to buy organic, local, grass fed, free-range food on a daily basis. But if you’re anything like me, that’s not possible, the grocery budget is only so big, especially with 2 growing boys.
Now, I’ve made some changes in our monthly budget so that I can buy more organic food. Cut back on the Starbucks for one. But I’ve also found this great guide that shows which produce has the most pesticide residues and are the most important to buy organic, and which are the least contaminated and you can save your money by buying them conventional.
Visit the Environmental Working Group’s website to get your copy of the “Dirty Dozen, Clean Fifteen” list.
Since cancer prevention and support is my passion, I’ve chosen 3 foods from each list, highlighting their cancer fighting properties.
The Dirty Dozen list…BUY THESE ORGANIC
3. Strawberries (or any berry for that matter)
The Clean Fifteen list…OK to eat conventional
If you're looking for ways to add veggies and fruit to your day, download my eBook "Cancer Prehab 101: Juices and Smoothies". Filled with delicious and easy recipes you'll love.
And as always, if you need help to introduce healthy eating into your life, give me a c
In good health,Cheryl Wahl, RHN, Personal Trainer778-836-3831
According to ancient Chinese mythology, the discovery of tea was likely the result of many trials and errors in an attempt to identify plants with life-extending, health-promoting properties. Have you heard the story of emperor Shen Nong, who insisted on drinking only boiled water for purity?
Apparently, around 5,000 B.C., this eccentric ruler had some tree leaves fall into his boiled water and was struck by the scent and color the leaf imparted. Intrigued, he tasted it – and the rest is history. Tea became a ritual of daily life and a sign of culture, good health and balanced living.
Next to water, tea is the world's most popular beverage; Fifteen thousand cups are drunk every second of every day! However, green tea makes up only 20 percent of those billions of cups per year. Though largely an Asian practice, the drinking of green tea has also become popular in North America because of it's famous anti-cancer effects. While the catechins of green tea (e.g. EGCG) are well-known, in actuality, green tea may owe its popularity to an amino acid called L-theanine.
L-theanine is responsible for the caffeine-like high experienced after a cup of matcha, oolong, jasmine or other green teas. However, instead of the jitters and restless sleep that's often associated with imprudent caffeine consumption, drinking green tea, even late a night, imparts a feeling of relaxation combined with mental alertness. The secret is all in the brain waves.
L-theanine increases alpha waves that are associated with alertness, without producing theta waves that lead to drowsiness.
In addition to stimulating the right brain waves, L-theanine boosts levels of another amino acid called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is our primary inhibitory neurotransmitter and has the pleasant effect of calming anxious nerves that are overexcited and unable to focus.
This makes L-theanine useful for enhancing mood, the ability to learn and cope with stressful situations - something a cup of coffee will not do.
L-theanine has captured the attention of nutrition researchers on a quest to find more compounds that fight the developed world's major killer, heart disease and cancer. While many studies are ongoing, preliminary findings implicate L-theanine as an immune enhancer.
At the cellular level, scientists have discovered that green tea's little amino stimulates the major warriors of our immune system, macrophages, neutrophils and natural killer cells. While the story is still unfolding, there are lots of reasons to enjoy green tea over coffee, cola or fruit cocktails.
Earlier this week I was asked what kind of green tea should we buy; regular, loose leaf, organic, etc. Loose leaf, whole tea leaves are better quality with richer flavors and they retain more of the health benefits. With regular tea bags, the tea leaves are smaller (also referred to as tea dusts, or left overs), they steep quickly but have a more bitter flavor than loose leaf.
My favorite brand is Mighty Leaf Tea, it’s organic and is a compromise between the two. It contains loose tea leaves in convenient tea bags.
Whether it's loose leaf, bagged tea, or somewhere in between, steep a cup of green tea, sit down and relax for a few minutes. It's nice to slow down every once in a while.
In good health,
Cheryl Wahl, RHN, Personal Trainer
Want to reduce your risk of cancer, receive recipes and health information regularly straight to your in-box? Download your free copy now.