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February, 2010:

Water, Your New BFF

Despite the snowy weather in most of the US, Spring it really on the way. And we are exercising now to get ready for those long lazy days at the pool or beach in our little swim suits. As we are exercising, we need to remember that Water is our New BFF!

Seems simple, but we often ignore the need to drink water. We need to remember that our body is about 60% water, our brain is about 75% water and our blood is about 82% water! Water in our bodies is also responsible for removing waste, cushioning joints, delivering nutrients and oxygen to cells, and protecting tissues.

Fountain and Lights by Elise Hearn

Fountain and Lights by Elise Hearn

Water is Your New BFF! That may be so but we tend to dehydrate often. Sometimes when we think we are hungry and head to the vending machine or cookie jar, we are really thirsty! The main thing to remember is that we need to stay hydrated each day, even in the winter. Turns out our body relies on water to help keep our temperature regulated. So to stay warm in the winter, drink water.

Carry a non-BPA bottle of water with you when you travel to work or run errands. Metal travel cups wash easily, and keep hot beverages hot and cold beverages cold.   Bottled water is popular since it is “easy” but can be expensive.

Drink water throughout the day, don’t wait until you feel thirsty. So get in the habit of drinking water all day long. Studies show that we lose water as we sleep, so drink a glass of water before bed and then again when you awake.

And of course we lose water when we exercise, so maintain that habit of hydration. Some coaches suggest drinking at least 20 ounces of water about 1 hour before your workout begins. Since it takes about 1 hour for that much water to leave the stomach and migrate to the muscles, you will then be hydrated when you start to exercise.

Also, we need to maintain our water drinking during the workout. Gulping water during the exercise routine seems to be the best way to ingest lots of water. Gulping gets lots of water into the stomach. Sipping only provides a few ounces and often causes cramps according to several fitness coaches. As we sweat at different rates depending on the level of workout and such, we need to add between 14 and 40 ounces per hour.  Try this Hydration Calculator from IBWA.

So as you can see, Water is Your New BFF!  Stay Well! Elise

Are You Buying the Pictures on the Labels?

Are you buying into Meaningless but Pretty labels?

In a recent article by Associate Editor Morgan Bast for NFM, labels are not all that they are reported to be.   Foods are being labeled using pictures and with terms that sound healthy but in reality have no definitions or regulations determining what that term truly means.  The pictures and claims are often misleading, sounding healthy, when they have no basis in reality or definition with the Food and Drug Administration.

For example, “lightly sweetened” does not have a definition from the Food and Drug Administration.    The FDA has regulations for the use of “sugar free” and “no sugar added”.  However, there are no regulations governing the claims of “low sugar” or “lightly sweetened”.  What might be light to one person could be heavy for another.  My idea of sweet iced tea is a far cry from the overly sweet jugs of tea from the store!  No tea taste, might as well eat a spoonful of sugar followed by a swallow of water.

Be Healthy

Be Healthy

“Made with Real Fruit” is often not the case according to an article in the New York Times.  Many of the main ingredients of “’real fruit” packaged foods are often sugar, corn syrup and white grape juice concentrate.  So don’t be blinded by the pictures and claims of the front of the package.

Don’t be fooled by the pretty picture! One product that is targets pre-schoolers,  a “juice treat” has pretty pictures of pineapple, oranges, peaches, cherries and raspberries.   However, when you read the ingredients list, there is not any cherry, pineapple, or orange in the product.  The main ingredients of this “juice treat”, targeted to pre-schoolers, are corn syrup and sugar in the equivalent amount of 4 teaspoons of refined sugar per serving.  So you can imagine the extra energy that the kids have after enjoying their treat!

So with these few examples, you can see that a picture is not always representative of the ingredients in the box!  Read the ingredients list, don’t be seduced by the pretty labels!  Read!!! And educate yourself about what terms are regulated and which just sound good.  Education Is power.  Check out the Center for Science in the Public Interest for more information.  Stay Well!

Phthalates Linked to ADHD in Study

A recent study by Korean researchers found a link between Phthalates and ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder).  Dr Yun-Chul Hong, MD, PhD, senior author of the study said that this study is the first documented association between Phthalates and ADHA in school age children.  In this study of 261 Korean school children, age 8 to 11, the higher the level of Phthalates in the urine, the worse the ADHD symptoms.

Phthalates are often found in toys, cleaning materials, personal care products such as shampoos, air fresheners and lotions and plastics.  While this study is not the final word on the relationship of Phthalates and ADHA, is does gives reason for more study and caution in using products with Phthalates.

Children are particularly sensitive to chemicals in since there bodies are so small.  They do not have the same ability to deal with toxic exposure as adults.  So be careful and mindful when choosing products for children.  Stay Well!

Charlie Horses, Leg Cramps and Restless Leg Syndrone

Ouch!  Hopping around my bedroom in the middle of the night rubbing my calf, hoping the pain will diminish soon.  Leg cramps are a painful wake-up call at night or while on a long drive, or in a plane.
According to the Mayo Clinic, night leg cramps usually involve your calf muscles.  However, sometimes your thighs and feet can cramp as well.  Most of the time these cramps are harmless.  But sometimes they are associated with disorders such as Type 2 Diabetes and Hypothyroidism.

Be Healthy

Be Healthy

The most common leg cramps are the “Charlie Horse”.  They are generally caused at night by an electrolyte imbalance.  Lack of potassium, magnesium and calcium often cause the cramps.  Most cramping muscles can be averted by proper electrolyte balances, high levels of anti-oxidants and optimizing nutrient levels.

Work outs need to be consistent.  Think of working out, walking or whatever your exercise is, as part of your job. Something you do every day.  If you are consistent with your workouts, then you can avoid the “weekend warrior” syndrome.

Restless Leg Syndrome is usually vascular in origin caused by not enough blood circulation.  It has been suggested that increasing Vitamin E and Magnesium can be helpful in alleviating Restless Leg Syndrome since Vitamin E and Magnesium have been found to increase circulation.

Should you overwork you muscles to the point of a strain, then you need to be aware of how much the muscle is strained.  If the muscles are swelling, apply ice for relief.  If the muscle is not swelling, use moist heat.  Should the muscle be injured to the point of being pulled from the bone, you need to see a physician and be careful not to repeat this overwork of your muscles.

So keep your nutrients high, drink electrolyte rich fluids, and be consistent in your workouts, walks and playing sports.  Have fun, but protect your muscles!

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