Top tips for hydration

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Top tips for hydration

During this warm weather we all know it’s important to keep hydrated. Dehydration can lead to lack of focus, concentration and energy which are essential, especially if you are exercising. However, water can get a bit boring and a lot of my clients struggle to drink it. Luckily there are lots of different, healthy, tasty ways to stay hydrated rather than opting for fizzy, high sugar or artificial sugar drinks.

 

  • Natural fruit flavoured water- water doesn’t always have to be plain. Add some fruit, herbs and/or veg to add some flavour and added benefits. Try adding lemons, limes, berries, cucumber, mint etc. These fruits, especially lemons, help your body detoxify as well as increase its alkalinity.

  • Coconut water- Coconut water is very high in electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, calcium and other minerals. Because of this it can rehydrate you better than water! It may be better at replacing lost fluids than a sports drink or water so great to take to training or a competition! Coconut water is isotonic to human plasma, therefore can be used in emergencies to quickly rehydrate the human body. In third world countries it’s not uncommon for it to be used to save lives. If you don’t like coconut water try adding it to smoothies and juices so you still get all the benefits.

  • Green juices- Fruits and vegetables have a high water content so when they’re juiced you get all that liquid plus all the nutrients to help hydrate you from within. Cucumber is a great vegetable to add to your juices at it has a very high percentage of water. Try cucumber, apple, celery and lemon for a refreshing juice.

  • Herbal teas- If you don’t like the taste of water try cold herbal teas. You can blend them with ice and a bit of honey, add them into your smoothie, or just drink them cold like a squash!

  • Kombucha- This is a great alternative to fizzy pop. Kombucha is a fermented drink so it is full of beneficial bacteria. So as well as hydrating you, this drink will also help replenish your gut bacteria…how good is that?? It also tastes great!

  • If you’re fed up of drinking, why not eat your water?! Some fruit and vegetables have a very high water content so eat lots of watermelon, cucumber, lettuce, celery, strawberries, peaches, oranges etc. They come with added nutrients and electrolytes to help hydrate you on a cellular level.

Enjoy the summer and stay hydrated!

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Why relaxing helps you lose fat!

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Why relaxing helps you lose fat!

Now days stress is all around us. This can be in the form of work, family, or even exercise. Everyone has an element of stress, even if we don’t feel like we are stressed. However, it is how we cope with it that is the issue. This can be one of the major issues preventing you from reaching your fat loss goal.

Our adrenal glands are the two small glands above our kidneys which produce our stress hormones. The main stress hormone we will be talking about is cortisol. Cortisol is released in response to any stress (poor sleep, traffic jams, toxins, viruses, exercise, pollution etc). This is our get up and go hormone, we need it so we can jump out of bed in the morning, and so we feel tired at night (if you don’t feel like this, you are probably stressed!). It’s when we have a constant supply of stress, and we are producing a lot of cortisol, that this doesn’t happen.

Our bodies are designed to cope with stress. When our ancestors were being chased by wolves, we would get a sudden release of adrenaline and cortisol from our adrenal glands. This would help us react fast and run to safety. This is acute stress and is perfectly healthy if we need it. However, it is when this is happening 3-4 times a day, if not more, that it starts to be a problem. If you think about a similar thing happening when you are driving to work, stuck in a traffic jam and you are running late. The same amount of adrenaline and cortisol will be released, but instead of using it to run away, you are stuck in your car. This means these hormones are not being used, so will recirculate the body. If this is happening everyday, 7 days a week, for months if not years, this becomes chronic stress.

Chronic stress creates the fight or flight response. This means blood is taken from your organs (such as your digestive system) and it put into your muscles. This is so you can fight or run. If you are constantly in the fight and flight response, your vital organs will not be getting enough oxygen day in, day out, to function optimally. This is why stress can cause gastrointestinal upset, such as IBS.

So why is stress linked to fat gain? When your body is in the fight or flight response, you need the energy to respond. To give you this energy, your body elevates your blood sugar. This is useful if you need to fight the wolves, but not if you are stuck in the traffic jam! If this energy is used, a hormone called insulin is released. Insulin is needed to take the sugar out of the blood and use it as energy, or store it. If this energy isn’t used, it will be stored as fat (normally around the belly because your body is trying to protect your vital organs). Stress also causes catabolism (muscle breakdown) to provide the amino acids for energy. This will lower metabolism, which will cause more fat gain as well.

So, to lose belly fat, you must first address your stress. If you don’t, you are going to have to work harder and harder….but remember, over exercising is a stress too, so this could make it worse and the fat won’t budge!

 

SOME EFFECTS OF CHRONIC CORTISOL ELEVATION-

•       Increased insulin secretion

•       Increased fat deposition

•       Altered immune function

•       Bone loss

•       Muscles wasting

•       Water retention

•       Hypothyroidism

•       Loss of sleep pattern

•       Inflammation

•       Gastrointestinal issues 

•       Memory loss

•       Alteration in sex hormones

 

WAYS TO DEAL WITH STRESS-

•       Address it! Find where it is coming from and either reduce it or get rid of it. It is hard to do, but do you want all of those conditions listed above?! Think of your long term health.

•       Eat clean, whole foods. This is essential as you need the right nutrients to support the adrenal glands, body and mind. Poor nutrition will cause nutrient deficiencies, which will put extra stress on your body. Processed foods also contain a lot of toxins, which increases stress on the body, and depletes many nutrients.

•       Learn to say no! Most of us are afraid to say no when we get asked to do things (work, social events etc). If you are feeling stressed and need some time you yourself, just say no. The more you say yes, the more they will ask!

•       Drink liquorice tea. Liquorice is an adaptogenic herb. This means it will balance out the adrenals whether cortisol is too high or too low (it can be too low after a long period of chrionic stress, this is burn out!). It can also curb carb cravings. Try 4 cups of good quality liquorice tea a day. You can also take in supplement form, but make sure you see ha nutritional therapist to check it is right for you, and at what dosage.

•       Eat magnesium rich foods- almonds, cashews, cocoa (not the stuff with milk and sugar in!!!), cod, kelp, eggs, seeds, brown rice. Also consider supplementing in magnesium either in tablet form, or by having a bath with magnesium flakes in. Magnesium is used in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body and it is depleted during stress.

•       Exercise! This can help us deal with stress, just be careful not to over train!

•       Sleep! 8 hours a night is optimal. Between 10pm-1am your body repairs itself, and between 1am-6am your mind recovers. Both of these are important.

•       Try yoga and/or meditation. This helps us change from the fight and flight mode into rest and digest. It also helps to keep you calm, which means you will be able to deal with stresses better.

If you start with these points, you will hopefully feel more relaxed, and lose body fat!

 

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The Importance Of Fermented Foods

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The Importance Of Fermented Foods

Many cultures throughout the world include some form of fermented food. In Japan they use miso and kimchi, Germany it’s sauerkraut, Bulgaria it’s kefir, India it’s a lassi etc. Our ancestorsdiet was abundant in fermented foods, but what has happened? If you start talking about fermented food, many people will have no idea what you’re talking about, or think you’re talking about gone off, mouldy food!

Our ancestors used fermented foods to not only preserve foods, but to also help support our intestinal and overall health. We are seeing a rise in digestion and gastro-intestinal issues, but if we go back to this way of eating, many people would see a massive improvement.

So, what are the benefits?

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