Monthly Archives: July 2016

Information About How Much Water Should You Drink to Stay Hydrated

So, exactly how much water should you drink to stay hydrated? We’ve all heard the magic number of “eight cups a day,” but it turns out the answer from our health experts is a little more complicated than that.

Exactly how much water should you drink, anyway?

Compared to younger people, seniors must take extra care to get enough fluids. With age, thirst-the body’s built-in dehydration alarm system-becomes less noticeable and reliable. Older people also tend to have modest appetites, which means they receive less fluid from food. Meanwhile, due to declining kidney function, their bodies often aren’t as good at conserving the water they do get.
The amount of fluid we need to feel our best varies according to factors such as physical activity levels, physiology and climate. As a rough guideline, the Dieticians of Canada suggest 2.2 litres (nine cups) per day for women and three litres (12 cups) for men. These totals include food moisture, which accounts for about one-fifth of the average person’s liquid intake-and more for people who eat a lot of fruit and veggies. Keep in mind that you’ll need extra fluids if you’re exercising, if the weather is hot or if you’re somewhere with indoor heating, which can drain moisture from your skin.

Drink more than just water to stay hydrated

If you don’t like to consume a lot at once, try increasing the frequency of your drinks. Vary your sources of fluid if that makes it easier to stay hydrated-besides water, consider beverages such as juice, milk and soup. Even coffee and tea can work, despite the caffeine’s mild diuretic effect-they provide more water than they drain.

Recognize the signs of dehydration

If your urine is dark or has a particularly strong smell, you may not be getting enough fluids to stay hydrated; other signs of early-stage dehydration include a dry mouth, headaches, dizziness, fatigue and irritability. Left unaddressed, the problem can cause a racing heart, delirium or a loss of consciousness, and sufferers may require intravenous hydration from medical professionals.

Beware of chronic dehydration

In everyday life, milder bouts of dehydration are commonplace. But take note: “When mild dehydration is chronic,” says Ron Maughan, chair of the European Hydration Institute’s Science Advisory Board, “it can have adverse effects, especially renal [kidney] stones.” If you suspect poor hydration might be dragging you down, the remedy is simple: drink up.

Know More bout Binge Eating Disorder

What is Binge Eating Disorder?

Many of us use the word “binge” to refer to the times we eat too much-when we take a second helping of dessert, for example, or gorge on Thanksgiving dinner. Overeating can be a challenge for some, but for certain people, compulsive bingeing is a much more serious issue with significant physical and psychological complications.

Binge Eating Disorder (B.E.D.) is a medical condition that involves regular bingeing accompanied by feelings of distress and a sense of losing control. People with B.E.D. may eat too quickly, even when they’re not hungry, to the point of feeling uncomfortable, or even painfully full; they may also eat in secret to hide their bingeing from loved ones. (B.E.D. differs from bulimia because there’s no attempt to get rid of the calories through self-induced vomiting or extreme exercise.)

Compulsive binge-eating episodes occur, on average, at least once a week for three months or more.

How Common is B.E.D.?

B.E.D. is the most common eating disorder-more so than anorexia and bulimia combined-but it’s still under-recognized and often misunderstood. In fact, it wasn’t until 2013 that the disorder was included as its own category in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a reference manual widely used by mental health professionals. Today, there’s still a lot of shame and lack of awareness of B.E.D., which discourages people from getting help.

The disorder affects people of all shapes and sizes-normal-weight, overweight and obese individuals can have B.E.D. It’s still a widely-held belief that only women and girls suffer from eating disorders, but B.E.D. affects both women and men; in the U.S., it’s estimated that two times as many women are affected as men.

What Causes B.E.D. and What Are the Complications?

The exact cause of B.E.D. is unknown, but there are theories suggesting that family history and brain chemicals could play a role. Some types of stressful life events could also be tied to the disorder.

B.E.D. is associated with mood disorders, anxiety and depression. It also puts you at risk for other medical conditions. A recent study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders found that people with B.E.D. were almost twice as likely to experience illnesses of the circulatory system.

Where Can I Get Help?

B.E.D. is a sensitive topic that you may not feel comfortable talking about. But it’s important to start the conversation so that you can get the support you need. If you think you may have B.E.D., reach out to your family doctor. There are several management options available, including cognitive behavioural therapies, nutritional counselling and medication. Asking for help is the first step.

Some Information About Broccoli

hh1The quest for the Fountain of Youth is getting a boost from an international team of researchers who may have stumbled upon a compound that appears to make cells act younger than they are—at least in mice.

In a paper published in Cell Metabolism, researchers led by the Washington University School of Medicine reported that they found an agent that can balance out what happens in aging cells to essentially make them behave as they would in a younger mouse. That substance, as it turns out, is also found in a number of natural foods, including broccoli, cucumbers, cabbage and edamame.

The compound, called nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), is involved in producing another compound that is critical for energy metabolism. When they gave normal aging mice infusions of NMN, they made more of that energy-fueling compound and some of the biological problems associated with aging went away. The NMN-treated animals did not gain as much weight, they were able to convert food into energy more efficiently, their blood sugar was better—even their eyesight improved. The mice receiving NMN were also able to prevent some of the genetic changes associated with aging.

Most lab mice live just several years, so the researchers started the NMN treatments at five months, and continued them for a year. The study did not track whether the mice actually live longer, but with lower rates of age-related disease, that’s the assumption.

So can you load up on broccoli or cabbage and extend your life? “If you do the math, I wouldn’t say it’s impossible entirely but probably very difficult to get the whole amount [you need] simply from natural foods,” says Dr. Shin-Ichiro Imai, professor of developmental biology and medicine at Washington University and senior author of the paper.

The results are encouraging enough that part of the team, based at Keio University in Tokyo, is launching an early study on people — using supplements of NMN in pill form. “It’s clear that in humans and in rodents, we lose energy with age,” says Imai. “We are losing the enzyme NMN. But if we can bypass that process by adding NMN, we can make energy again. These results provide a very important foundation for the human studies.”

The findings are also in line with other anti-aging compounds that have shown promise in animal studies, including things like the diabetes drug metformin, rapamycin and sirtuins, all of which are also involved in energy-making process. “All of these pathways cross-talk with each other,” says Imai. “We don’t know the precise details of how, but they are communicating with each other.”

The hope is that the human studies will add provide even more information about how to keep cells young — and maybe halt, or at least hold off, the diseases that typically creep in as cells get older and lose their function.

How to Fix Wrecking Your Health

One important key to fighting obesity and other chronic diseases? Fewer omega-6 fatty acids in our diet, and more omega-3s, according to the authors of a new editorial published in the journal Open Heart.

Both types of fatty acids are essential for the body: Omega-6s—found in vegetable oils like sunflower, safflower, and corn oil—play a role in brain function, growth and development, reproductive health, and promote healthy hair, skin, and bones. Omega-3s—found in fatty fish—reduce inflammation, regulate blood pressure, and are crucial for the brain and heart. They’re also tied to a lower risk of many conditions, including diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, stroke, arthritis, asthma, and some cancers.

But it’s important to strike a balance between the two nutrients. As the authors of the editorial point out, humans beings evolved on a diet that contained equal amounts of both. Today, they report, thanks to technological advances and modern farming practices, Americans now eat sixteen times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3s.

That’s a problem because while omega-3s are anti-inflammatory, omega-6s tend to be pro-inflammatory. Therefore when omega-6 intake is high and omega-3 intake is low, the result is excess inflammation and boost in the production of body fat.

The drastic imbalance in the Western diet has been tied to more than just obesity. It’s also been linked to diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, depression, pain, inflammatory conditions like asthma, and autoimmune illnesses.

Fortunately, there are a few simple ways to consume more omega-3s while dialing back on omega-6s. Here are five steps you can take toward a healthier balance:

Check ingredients

Processed foods—everything from frozen meals to canned soup, crackers, and salad dressing—may be loaded with omega-6s, due to the vegetable oils used by manufacturers. Check labels and curtail or avoid products that contain corn oil, soybean, sunflower, safflower, and cottonseed oils. The same goes for fast food, which is also typically made with those oils high in omega-6s. You can look up the ingredients in various menu items online.

Buy organic, grass-fed meat and dairy products

Research shows that foods that come from grass-fed and organically raised animals contain more omega-3s. Grass-fed beef, for example packs about 50% more omega-3s than regular beef. (For more info, check out my post all about grass-fed meat.)

Replace margarine with EVOO

Since margarine is typically made with oils high in omega-6s, I recommend ditching it. In its place, use extra virgin olive oil (which is low in omega-6s) or grass-fed butter (which is higher in omega-3s than conventional butter).

Eat more fish high in omega-3s

The best sources include salmon, sardines, rainbow trout, and mackerel. If you’re not a fan of fish, consider talking to your doctor or dietitian about a fish oil supplement. He or she can help you choose a brand that provides the right amount of DHA and EPA, the types of omega-3s in fish, for your health needs.

Load up on plants

Eating more produce helps displace processed foods that may be sources of omega-6s. Plus, some plant foods contain a type of omega-3 fatty acid called ALA. It has a different chemical structure than the more beneficial DHA and EPA found in fatty fish; but a small percentage of ALA can be converted to DHA and EPA in your body. The more ALA you consume, the better.

ALA is found in nuts and seeds like walnuts, chia seeds, and flax, as well as Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, squash, dark leafy greens, and berries.

In general, I recommend aiming for three to five servings of veggies, and two servings of fruit per day. Each serving should be about a cup (or the size of a tennis ball when raw). One way to do this is to include veggies at all three meals: Add them to your breakfast smoothie or omelet, eat a salad at lunch, and include a few servings of vegetables (steamed, sautéed, oven roasted, or grilled) at dinner. As for fruit, have a serving at breakfast, and a second serving as a mid-day snack. Also, sprinkle nuts and seeds into smoothies, oatmeal, salads, and stir fys. Better balance, achieved.