This is part of a mini series explaining in more details the reasons behind my personal Top 10 Health Tips that I shared last week.
1. Drink enough water
Drinking enough water is very important because it prevents dehydration, improves physical performance, aids in digestion, and purifies our bodies. Water carries nutrients to cells, flushes toxins out of organs, and provides a moist environment for lungs, nose, throat and ear tissues. Proper hydration also improves elasticity of the skin (think less visible wrinkles!). Every system in your body needs water. Drinking tea, coffee, and even soda will count as intake of “water”, but it is best to drink pure mineral or filtered water. It is easier for the body to immediately utilize pure water than to use the energy to filter sugars and other substances from fluids other than water.
How to know you’re getting enough water? The US Reference Daily Intake (RDI) recommends 3.7 litres (or 1 gallon) per day for males older than 18, and 2.7 for females older than 18. However, the amount of water needed is dependent on the individual..their weight, diet, physical fitness and activity level. An athlete, for example, will need more water than a person of the same statue with a sedentary lifestyle. A good way to test whether you are hydrated enough is to look at the color of your pee. If it’s the color of apple juice or darker simply drink more until the urine is clear or light yellow.
Fun Fact: Water makes up about 60-75% of out bodies!
2. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
What does “plenty” mean? According to the FDA we should aim for filling half of our plate with fruits and veggies. This means, half of what you consume in a day should consist of fruits and vegetables.
Fruit is amazing food, and it’s fast food too! Peeling a banana takes 5 seconds and biting into an apple takes no preparation at all. Of course other fruits and veggies may take more time to prepare but if you’re trying to increase your consumption of fresh fruit and veggies and don’t have a lot of time, try to aim for produce that’s ready to eat, even on the go. Apples, bananas, pears, peaches, carrots, radishes, even green beans (they taste great raw, or with a dip).
There’s a reason why the FDA wants us to make fruits and veggies half of what we eat in a day. Combined, this food group is the most nutritious group per calorie. In other words, there’s more nutrition per calorie of plant produce than in any other food groups (such as meats, dairy and even grains). Because of the high content of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids, those who consume diets high in fruits and veggies have lower rates of chronic diseases and cancers. Bonus benefit: fruits and vegetables are delicious!
Fun fact: Fun fact: Most of the fiber in fruit is in the peel.
3. Exercise regularly and maintain ideal weight
Exercise is key to a healthy life, especially in this day and age of sedentary lifestyles. Each of us should aim for 30 minutes, 5 times/week of cardio (or 150 minutes/week) and strength training two times/week. Exercise helps prevent chronic diseases as well as helps us maintain a healthy weight which also leads to decreased risk of chronic diseases and cancers. Other benefits of physical activity are reduced stress, more energy and increased “good” cholesterol levels. Most of us struggle to meet the exercise recommendations, and it’s a lifelong effort. To learn more about how to stick with an exercise routine visit this blog post, and to learn how to begin an exercise routine check out this post.
The Body Mass Index (Calculate your BMI) is a good tool for estimating ideal body weight. Keep in mind, however, that the BMI is not always a good measure of ideal weight, since it does not take into consideration muscle mass or fat tissue, which can place some individuals in the wrong category of weight. Seek your doctor’s advice if you’d like to be certain of your ideal weight.
Fun fact: Exercisers can improve their performance by as much as 15 percent if they listen to music while working out.
Until next week!