Forgetting to drink sounds almost as silly as forgetting to breathe, yet there's a dehydration epidemic, according to a new Harvard study. Researchers found that over half of 4,000 kids studied weren't drinking enough, with 25% saying they didn't drink any water during the day. And this isn't just a kid problem: A separate study found that adults may be doing an even worse job of hydrating. Up to 75% of us could be chronically dehydrated!
Being a little low on water won't kill you, but it can decrease muscle strength and aerobic and anaerobic ability, as well as cause poor mental performance, headaches, and make you feel sluggish. So how do you know if you're drinking enough H2O? Your urine should be pale yellow or very clear. But there are several other less-obvious signs your water tank needs a refuel.
1. You're Hungry
When your body wants a drink, it's not picky about where that water comes from and will happily accept food sources as well as glass of plain water. That's why many people assume they're hungry when they start to feel weak and tired. But it's harder to get hydrated through food (not to mention more caloric). Therefore, if you have a sudden craving (especially for ice cream or beer after a run), drink a cup of water before eating to see if that takes care of your "hunger."
2. Your Breath Reeks
One of the first things to get cut when you're dehydrated is your saliva production. Less spit means more bacteria in your mouth and more bacteria means stinky breath, according to research published in the Orthodontic Journal. In fact, the study writes that if you go see your dentist about chronic halitosis, usually the first thing they suggest is drinking more water. That often takes care of the problem.
3. You're Grouchy
A bad mood may start with your water levels, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition. Scientists found that young women who were just 1% dehydrated reported feeling more anger, depression, annoyance, and frustration than women who drank enough water during a lab test.
4. You're a Little Fuzzy
That afternoon brain drain may be your body crying for water, according to a study in the British Journal of Nutrition. Researchers found that people who were mildly dehydrated during the experiment performed worse on cognitive tasks and reported feelings of wanting to give up and an inability to make decisions.
5. Your Head Is Pounding
That same study that found that dehydration increased moodiness in women also found an increase in headaches in the dried-out ladies. The researchers added that dropping water levels could decrease the amount of fluid surrounding the brain in the skull, giving it less padding and protection against even mild bumping.
Your Bottom Line
A tall glass of good ol’ water should be your go-to as soon as you start feeling less than 100%. But there is no need pound gallons a day. Take half of your weight in pounds-this is the number of ounces you should reach for to start out. Once you have a consistent habit of reaching this amount, your body will develop natural cues to tell you to drink more water. It will become an afterthought to remain the hydrated, beautiful mermaid you’re meant to be!
You've been there: You had an amazing workout with Natalie and had no problem eating healthy, well-portioned meals even after Muscles and Mimosas. But the next day, your much-deserved rest day, you're suddenly ravenous. Instead of that veggie- and lean-protein-packed salad you planned to eat, you can't stop thinking about all the other delicious things around the office or around town running errands: pizza, burgers, tacos...you get the drill. You start to feel foggy-headed and irritable. This is known as Hanger, an often comical combination of hunger and anger due to the hunger. And this is not a fun state of mind to be in. So why is it so freaking hard to stay on track on the days when you're not working out? And is it all in your head, or is something else going on?
Long story short, it is not your imagination playing tricks on you when you feel hungry on rest days. As it turns out, there are quite a few factors that could be at play. Read on for 6 reasons and 6 tips for dealing with hangry rest days.
1. Your hunger hormones are affected by exercise. When you exercise, you create an energy deficit. If you're not eating more to replace that deficit (like when you're trying to lose weight), it's only natural to feel hungry. Sometimes people may feel less hungry on days when they have heavy training loads due to blood flow being distributed away from the gut into extremities. When this is the case, your body may regulate itself in the following one to two days post-exercise to compensate for the food that wasn't eaten after exercise to make up for the energy deficit. This means you see an increase in the hormone ghrelin (which makes you feel hungry) and a decrease in the hormone leptin (which makes you feel full and satisfied).
If you don't have a specific caloric or macro goal for the day, then the solution to being hungry on a rest day is simple: Eat more. If you're someone who is trying to maintain your weight, then you should eat more to make up for the calories you burnt off after intense exercise. If not, you will lose weight unintentionally, which can hinder your athletic performance.
But if you do have a reason to limit your food intake on rest days, such as weight loss or body composition goals, here are some strategies to try:
When in doubt, there is truth in math. Have your nutrient needs calculated and plan you macros. Be sure to incorporate enough protein especially on your rest days for muscle recovery and to keep you satiated enough to truly relax and enjoy your hard earned rest days.
Today we are going to go over different types of strength training. There is 3 different types: isometric, concentric and eccentric.
1. Isometric: This type of strength training occurs when the muscle length and joint angle do not change during the contraction. They are done in static positions; not through the range of motion. Isometric exercises are good post surgically or for abdominal strengthening post pregnancy. For example, you know when you really have to pee and you’re holding it. That is working on isometric strengthening of the pelvic girdle muscles. Isometric strength training can work multiple muscles at once. For instance, a plank is an example of isometric strength training of multiple muscles.
2. Concentric: This type of strength training is when tension on a muscle increases as it shortens. They are important in achieving hypertrophy of a muscle. The best example of this is a bicep curl. As your lift the dumbbell the bicep muscle will shorten causing concentric activation. Like isometric muscle activation, concentric muscle activation can occur with multiple muscle groups at the same time. For example, the upward motion of a jump squat.
3. Eccentric: This type of strength training is when tension is placed on a muscle while it lengthens. Eccentric muscle training slows down the elongation of the muscle fibers in order to challenge the muscle. It can lead to stronger muscles and improves muscle repair speed. Eccentric muscle training is one of the best things you can do for your body. It helps with the following:
a. Improves muscle force
b. Stores more energy in the muscles for the next movement
c. Less vulnerable to injury
An example of eccentric strength training is an eccentric split squat
Let’s break each down in a specific exercise. For a squat, the down motion if done slowly is working on eccentric strength while the upward motion is working on concentric. You can perform isometric strength by doing a hold halfway.
Eccentric strength is harder than Concentric strength but it is also more functional. For example an easy way to remember it is: let’s say you are sitting on your couch. You are about to use your right arm to put a potato chip in your mouth. This would be concentric strengthening of the biceps. Putting the potato chip back in the bag is eccentric strength of the biceps because it is lengthening. It is harder to put the potato chip back in the bag and not eat it than to put it in your mouth. Make sense?!
So how can I get the most bang for my buck when performing a workout with Nkfitsquad?
Natalie will definitely help you with this. However, always remember that combination of movements is always the best so that the muscles can be challenged. Concentric strengthening will help with girth of the muscle and eccentric strength will help with power. So remember to slow down with the exercises in order to achieve the results you want. Join the new 3 month Online program for the best results!
For more information, contact NKfitsquad to join!
amy carollo, dpt,gts
Having a healthy gut might seem like a nitpicky concept that's being sprung upon you because of the current popularity of probiotics. But considering how your gut affects different aspects of your health, including your immune system and balancing your hormones, it's important to keep it in good health.
Read on for six ways to keep your gut healthy.
1. Eat More Fiber
As we all learned early on, fiber is an important component in keeping digested foods moving through our bodies. Making sure you're eating enough fibrous foods ensures healthy movement, which means your body isn't holding onto any toxins. Skip the inulin supplements, as they can make irritable bowel symptoms worse.
2. Take a Probiotic
Taking a probiotic is highly beneficial to your health because it can be engineered to contain potent strains of bacteria that can help balance and restore the good bacteria in your gut. With the popularity of probiotics supplements, however, it seems that every brand is different with a different regimen. Many probiotics come with prebiotics, which is fiber built into the capsule or powder to serve as food for the probiotic strains. If you plan on taking your probiotics on an empty stomach, this is fine. However, because the pH in the stomach is so acidic, it could destroy the supplement’s bacteria. Eating food increases the pH and decreases the acidity. A 2011 study tested taking probiotics with oatmeal and milk found that taking the probiotic 30 minutes before or when eating increased probiotic absorption. Another thing the study noted was that absorption also improved when the meal contained some fats, so be sure to include healthy fats.
If you choose to take your probiotic with your meal, opt for a supplement without prebiotics, as the fiber in the food you eat is actually more beneficial to your gut than synthetic add-ins.
Not sure of your dosage? Start out small and build your way up. Your first bottle should measure 5 to 10 billion CFUs (colony-forming units). After you finish that bottle without GI upset, buy a stronger probiotic up to 25 billion CFUs. Move up as you feel your best. If you struggle with consistency, watch the expiration date and continue the same strength until you feel your body has adapted.
Another fact about probiotics that you should keep in mind: Some probiotic properties are strain-specific. This means that the effects of one probiotic could be different than the effects of others. For example, Saccharomyces boulardii is a yeast that is marketed as able to treat diarrhea, while species that fall under the Bifidobacterium genus are said to be able to treat constipation. Both are considered to have probiotic properties.
Going into stress mode affects our health as much as it does our mental well-being. There's a reason why many of us experience stomach upset when we're stressed or anxious — when the principal stress hormone called cortisol is released, it can cause an inflammatory response in your gut that makes it a less than ideal place for good bacteria to thrive.
4. Avoid Antibiotics
Because antibiotics can’t always tell the good bacteria from the bad, they sometimes end up wiping both out, leaving your colonies of good bacteria depleted and disrupting the ecosystem in your gut. When antibiotics disturb your gut, some of your body’s crucial processes go haywire, including your body’s ability to produce some vitamins such as vitamin K. Antibiotics can also disrupt your microbes’ ability to regulate their own behavior and production, which can make you susceptible to over- or underproduction of candida.
5. Avoid the Fake Sugar
Qualitative studies have associated sugar substitutes to lower microbiome counts. Also, sugar alcohols in particular, can cause gas, bloating, diarrhea in some people. This additional irritability can inflame your gut even more, making it a worse environment for your good bacteria. Be sure to read your food labels as well as your supplements and medications for “Sucralose,” “aspartame,” “malitol,” and “saccharine.” While stevia is the new kid in candy town, research is too new to determine is the microbiome is affected.
6. Eat the pickle
Fermented foods such as pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, yogurt, and traditional sushi have beneficial bacteria from the fermentation process. There’s a reason why so many cultures throughout human history have developed fermented dishes. We figured out centuries ago that the bacteria in fermented foods make us feel good. Researchers are beginning to confirm this by linking these tiny creatures to all sorts of health conditions from obesity to neurodegenerative diseases.
Aim to eat at least one fermented food every day, but read your food labels. The jars of pickles you can buy off the shelf at the supermarket are sometimes pickled using vinegar and not the natural fermentation process using live organisms, which means they don’t contain as many probiotics. To ensure the fermented foods you choose do contain probiotics, look for the words “naturally fermented” on the label, and when you open the jar look for telltale bubbles in the liquid, which signal that live organisms are inside the jar.
Taking a probiotic supplement can be very helpful. However, research is in its infancy. Be sure to eat real, whole foods with plenty of fiber. When you have a salty craving, grab a pickle or kimchi instead of potato chips. With consistency, you will help your gut reach homeostasis.
Nutrition impacts everything; your metabolism, mood, and organs, including your skin. As scientists learn more about diet and the body, it's increasingly clear that what you eat can significantly affect the health and aging of your skin. Here are 11 of the best foods for keeping your skin fresh and glowing.
1. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel and herring, are excellent foods for healthy skin. They are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are necessary to keep skin thick, supple and moisturized. In fact, a deficiency in omega-3 fats can cause dry skin.
The omega-3 fats in fish reduce inflammation, which can cause redness and acne. They can even make your skin less sensitive to the sun's harmful UV rays. Some studies show that fish oil supplements may fight inflammatory and autoimmune conditions affecting your skin, such as psoriasis and lupus.
Fatty fish is also a source of vitamin E, one of the most important antioxidants for your skin. Getting enough vitamin E is essential for protecting your skin against damage from free radicals and inflammation.
Lastly, fish provides zinc, a mineral vital for regulating inflammation, the production of new skin cells and overall skin health. Zinc deficiency can lead to skin inflammation, lesions, and delayed wound healing.
Natalie’s all-time favorite are back again! Getting enough of the monounsaturated fats in avocados is essential to keep skin flexible and moisturized. One study in over 700 women found that a high intake of monounsaturated fats found in avocados was associated with more springy skin. Avocados are also a good source of vitamin E, which is an important antioxidant that helps protect your skin from oxidative damage from sun exposure.
Interestingly, vitamin E seems to be more effective when combined with vitamin C. Vitamin C is also essential for healthy skin. Your skin needs it to create collagen, which is the main structural protein that keeps your skin strong and healthy. A deficiency in vitamin C is rare these days, but common symptoms include dry, rough and scaly skin that tends to bruise easily. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that protects your skin from oxidative damage — caused by the sun and the environment — which can lead to signs of aging.
Walnuts have many characteristics that make them an excellent food for healthy skin. They are a good source of essential fatty acids, which are fats that your body cannot make itself. In fact, they’re richer than most other nuts in both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. A diet too high in omega-6 fats may promote inflammation, including inflammatory conditions of your skin like psoriasis. On the other hand, omega-3 fats reduce inflammation in your body including in your skin. While omega-6 fatty acids are plentiful in the Western diet, sources of omega-3 fatty acids are rare. Because walnuts contain a good ratio of these fatty acids, they may fight the inflammatory response to excessive omega-6.
Walnuts also contain zinc, which is essential for your skin to function properly as a barrier, as well as necessary for wound healing and combatting both bacteria and inflammation. Walnuts also provide small amounts of the antioxidants vitamin E, vitamin C and selenium, in addition to 4–5 grams of protein per ounce.
4. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta-carotene, which functions as provitamin A, which means it will be converted into vitamin A in your body. Carotenoids like beta-carotene keep your skin healthy by acting as a natural sunblock. When consumed, this antioxidant is incorporated into your skin and protects your skin cells from sun exposure. This may help prevent sunburn, cell death and dry, wrinkled skin. Interestingly, high amounts of beta-carotene may also add a warm, orange color to your skin, contributing to an overall healthy glow.
5. Red or Yellow Bell Peppers
Like sweet potatoes, bell peppers are an excellent source of beta-carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A. They’re also one of the best sources of vitamin C, necessary for creating the protein collagen which keeps skin firm and strong. A single cup of bell pepper provides an impressive 317% of the RDI for vitamin C. A large observational study in women linked eating plenty of vitamin C to a reduced risk of wrinkled and dry skin with age.
Broccoli is full of many vitamins and minerals important for skin health, including zinc, vitamin A and vitamin C. It also contains lutein, a carotenoid that works like beta-carotene. Lutein protects your skin from oxidative damage, which can cause your skin to become dry and wrinkled. Broccoli florets also pack a special compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is also a powerful protective agent against sun damage by neutralizing harmful free radicals and switching on other protective systems in your body. Evidence suggests sulforaphane may also maintain collagen levels in your skin.
Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C and contain all of the major carotenoids, including lycopene. Beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene have been shown to protect your skin against damage from the sun. They may also help prevent wrinkling. Consider pairing carotenoid-rich foods like tomatoes with a source of fat, such as cheese or olive oil. Fat increases your absorption of carotenoids.
Soy contains isoflavones, a category of plant compounds that can either mimic or block estrogen in your body. Isoflavones may benefit several parts of your body, including your skin. One small study in middle-aged women found that eating soy isoflavones every day for 8–12 weeks reduced fine wrinkles and improved skin elasticity. In postmenopausal women, soy may also improve skin dryness and increase collagen, which helps keep your skin smooth and strong. These isoflavones not only protect the cells inside your body from damage but also your skin from UV radiation, which may help prevent some skin cancers.
9. Dark Chocolate
If you need one more reason to eat chocolate, here it is: The effects of cocoa on your skin are pretty phenomenal. Real cocoa powder has so many antioxidants known to make skin less rough and scaly, less sensitive to sunburn and have better blood flow, which brings more nutrients to your skin. One study found that eating 20g of high-antioxidant dark chocolate per day could allow your skin to withstand over twice as much UV radiation before burning versus eating low-antioxidant chocolate. Make sure to choose dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa in order to maximize the benefits and keep added sugar to a minimum.
10. Green Tea
Green tea may protect your skin from damage and aging. The powerful compounds found in green tea are called catechins and work to improve the health of your skin in several ways. Like several other antioxidant-containing foods, green tea can help protect your skin against sun damage. One 12-week study in 60 women found that drinking green tea daily could reduce redness from sun exposure by up to 25%. Green tea also improved the moisture, roughness, thickness and elasticity of their skin.
11. Red Wine
Red wine is famous for containing resveratrol, a compound that comes from the skin of red grapes. Resveratrol is credited with a wide range of health benefits, among them reducing the effects of aging. It may also slow the production of harmful free radicals, which damage skin cells and cause signs of aging. Unfortunately, there's not much evidence that the amount of resveratrol you get from a glass of red wine is enough to impact your skin. And since red wine is an alcoholic beverage, there are negative effects to drinking it in excess. It's not recommended to start drinking red wine just because of its potential health benefits. However, if you already drink, you might enjoy red wine as your alcoholic beverage of choice.
The Bottom Line
What you eat can have a big impact on your skin health. Make sure you're getting enough essential nutrients to protect your skin. The foods on this list are great options to keep your skin healthy, strong and gorgeous.
Jacqueline Corbett, MS RD LD
Women's Health & Fitness Specialist.