Water: the forgotten nutrient

It covers over two thirds of the planet and makes up large parts of our body, but water is often overlooked in terms of health and performance.  Let’s have a look at the clear stuff – it can sometimes be the key to helping modern day issues ( for free) ..

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Tired or fatigued? 

Dehydration is more common than we think and this can often be the problem here.   Water helps to transport oxygen through the body  and also relieves some work on the heart.

 

Poor performance

All that time and energy working out can be made much easier with adequate hydration.  Water helps prevent cramps, helps lubricate joints and will ensure we can work harder for longer.  Evidence has shown a 2% loss in hydration equates to a 10% loss in performance – that’s a lot!

 

Weight loss

It’s possible that water aids weight loss in a number of ways.  Firstly it’s shown to boost metabolism.  Secondly it helps in making us feel full  and it’s often thirst not hunger we feel when we snack in between meals.  Thirdly if the body is dehydrated this can be seen as a temporary emergency state – and how is the body expected to burn body fat in this state?  Fair point.

 

And if you need any more convincing..

Among the endless list of benefits, good hydration with improve your skin through plumping the cells and helping flush away waste products.  Digestion is much improved with good hydration as well as general kidney function. We tend to get headaches and fuzzy thinking if we don’t drink enough.   And, essentially every chemical reaction that takes place in the body requiring it to be finely balanced take place in..yep you guessed it water.

 

Tips for good hydration

  • 1.5 – 2 litres per day is still the recommended intake.  If your fruit and veg consumption is good this may contribute around half a litre.
  • If you consume caffeinated products, alcohol, exercise regularly or work in heat  drink more!
  • Carry a large water bottle with you all day, everywhere!
  • Check wee wee colour!  It should be pale or clear except for first thing.
  • Drink before you get thirsty – thirst is a sign you are dehydrated.
  • Don’t kid yourself – only the clear stuff will do.

Fat Storers and Fat Burners

Beyond the simple fact that eating ‘hungry man’ size portions, drinking calories and being sedentary will cause weight gain, there are food choices we can make to affect body fat.  Here we will look at a list of fat storers, foods that cause weight gain and fat burners, foods that encourage it to burn off!

Fat Storers

These are a fat fighter’s worst enemy.  Research shows, that although calorie intake, portion size and exercise are all important, the types of food and drink we consume are critical.

Some basic physiology is required here.

Insulin a hormone released by the pancreas in response to high sugar or fast releasing foods.  The higher the blood sugar, the higher the insulin response.  Insulin essentially takes energy out of the blood stream and puts it into the cells of the body.  Fat storing foods are mainly the foods that cause a massive rush of insulin, changing the way the body treats subsequent foods.

Fizzy drinks – these play havoc with insulin levels and the diet versions can be even worse

Alcohol – again, pure calories in liquid form, toxicity and combined with a hangover to prove it

Sugar combined with fat – biscuits, cakes and chocolate would fall into this cateory – KABOOOM!

Dried fruit – beware, considered healthy and natural but loaded with energy

Health food snacks – cereal bars for example are loaded with sugar, not the best snack

Toxins – Wash foods to reduce pesticides, beware of preservatives in foods

Fat Burners

So, you’ve meandered your way through the maze of fat storers, processed foods and sugary muck.  Now you can encourage the body to burn fat from it’s reserves.  These foods are the reverse of the ‘fat storing’ foods.  They create a slow constant release of energy.

Beyond this, foods like fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals have a positive effect on metabolism.  Other natural foods promote hormone balance, keep us fuller for longer and are often much less calorie dense.

Protein foods – lean meat, fish and beans for example slow insulin in it’s tracks, also boosting metabolism

Citrus fruits – boost metabolism and are high in vitamin C, very powerful fat burners

Oats – another reason to opt for porridge first thing, high in fibre and protein, slow to digest

Raw nuts – foods like almonds and walnuts are high in essential ‘healthy’ fats, a great snack

Oily fish – salmon, mackerel, again high in good fats as well as protein

Water – Don’t forget the clears stuff.  Flushes out toxins, boosts metabolism and aids digestion