Friday, November 15, 2013

Nutrition Education- What can I do Right Now to Improve My Health?

Getting on the “clean eating” band wagon can be overwhelming and very difficult.  It’s a huge change for most people.  If you truly want to improve your Health, most people do best long term if they choose one habit at a time to work on.  If you are unsure of where to start in your journey, there are 3 simple things you can do right now to start improving your health. 1.  Drink More Water, 2. Take a Multivitamin, 3. Take a Fish Oil supplement. These are a few of the easiest changes to make, but also have a huge health return. 

Water
Did you know Water makes up approximately 70% of your total body weight? It is an essential nutrient because its absence has a detrimental effect on health & survival.  Many body functions cannot occur without water. The body will not metabolize fat stores efficiently without adequate water supply. With proper hydration, endocrine gland functions improve, fluid retention is alleviated, kidney and liver function improves, and cellular toxins are more easily eliminated.
Plain cool water is usually sufficient for hydration purposes during heat stress or daily activities.  For exercise sessions longer than 90 minutes, or physical activities in hot environments, sport beverages can be used to replenish electrolytes and supply quick energy.  Water is important before, during and after a workout.

You can add fruit, lemon or lime juice to your water to flavor it up a bit. Make sure you are getting enough water every day.  Most people don’t realize that they are dehydrated. Hunger can also be mistaken for thirst very easily. You need at least 1/2 of your body weight in ounces of water each day.  So for a 140 pound person, 140/2 = 70 oz of water every day!  Getting 2 or 3 Liters or a Gallon if you exercise a lot or work out side is even better. Carry a refillable Gallon jug or refillable water bottle and figure out how many you need to drink each day.  Make it your goal to get more water in!

Multivitamin

If you have a perfect diet then you probably don’t need to take a Multivitamin.  Most people do not have a perfect diet to get all the vitamins and nutrients they need every day.  Taking a Multivitamin can help fill in the gaps to get you those important nutrients to help support a balanced diet.  Nutrition is the foundation for Health and Development. Better Nutrition means stronger immune systems, less illness and better health. Vitamins and minerals help to support a healthy immune system, promote the conversion of food into energy, support a healthy cardiovascular system, support strong bones, promote mental clarity, maintain normal metabolic functioning, promote healthy growth and repair of tissues, help maintain normal blood pressure and help maintain water and electrolyte balance in the body. There is no substitute for a healthy, well-balanced diet; however, in today’s fast-paced lifestyles it is important to ensure the body is getting the fuel it needs.  A lot of the Multivitamins on the market have unwanted fillers and ingredients in them.  I can recommend a few, but it would also be wise to talk to your Doctor about a good Multivitamin.

Fish Oil

There are essential fatty acids that we need every day, the good kind of fats that our bodies need to function properly. There are two types, Omega-3 and Omega-6.  Both are vital for good health.  Essential Fatty Acids are essential to our health and are required for many functions in the body, including cell growth, brain development, muscle activity, immune function, joint health and many others. Although some fatty acids can be produced by our bodies, “essential” fatty acids cannot. Because of this, our bodies rely on the food we eat to receive those nutrients. Omega-6 essential fatty acids come from vegetable oils and are being consumed more often because of the amount of fried and fatty foods that are being consumed in the western diet. The ratio should be 1:1 for the amount of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids we consume. However, because of the decline of the amount of nutrition the average person consumes, the ratio can be as high as 15:1 in some instances. Even though omega-6 essential fatty acids are crucial for our health, these disproportions and increased intake of omega-6 essential fatty acids can be linked to cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, inflammation, and autoimmune diseases. Studies have also shown that a low intake of omega-3 essential fatty acids leads to higher risk of depression and other mental illnesses.  Omega 3 helps promote cardiovascular health, reduce inflammation, support mental focus and cognitive function, support positive mood and emotional well-being, promote brain, eye, and nervous system health, support healthy immune system function, enhance appearance of skin and hair, and promote optimal fat metabolism. Fish is an excellent source of Omega 3’s, but most people do not eat enough. So, a good fish oil supplement can be smart to take to start receiving all of these benefits. Most people need 2000-4000 mg daily.  Again, I can recommend a few, but it would also be smart to talk to your Doctor about any supplements to take.




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