Friday, August 11, 2017

Hydration Helps

Most of us know we need to stay hydrated (drink fluids) to stay alive, and to drink enough fluids to stay healthy.  Yet many people feel they ‘need to drink more water”.  So what does this really mean?  Let’s explore…

Why is adequate hydration important?
Since water is the key nutrient needed for most biologic functions to occur in the body, and since the body is 60% water, you might guess that getting enough water is essential for good health and you would be right.  Dehydration can cause fuzzy thinking, dizziness upon standing, headaches, decreased ability to do physical work, muscle cramps, low back pain, chapped lips and constipation.

How much fluid is enough?
The current guidelines emphasize that for healthy adults, drinking to avoid thirst should be the main guide.  Studies differ as to whether most Americans get adequate hydration or not, adequate being generally 7 to 9 cups of fluids daily for adults. 

Increased needs for fluids include times of exercise, heat and humidity, and during illnesses which cause fever, vomiting or diarrhea.  A job or activity which restricts the ability to drink freely and adequately could cause problems. Also, seniors often experience a decreased sense of thirst.   So for some, counting cups of fluid is a healthy thing to do.

Which drinks count toward fluid needs?
It is okay to count coffee or tea as fluids, even though they contain caffeine.  Alcohol on the other hand, causes the body to dehydrate and so is not counted.  Sweet drinks like pop and juice can count as fluid, but will cause their own health problems because of the extra sugar and calories.  Water is the healthiest fluid replacement we know for general hydration needs.

Can drinking water help with weight loss?
Most studies say no. Some show a pre-meal intake of water helped people eat less and lose more weight.  Watery foods like soup, fruit, vegetables and salad make us feel full more quickly and do help with weight loss.  Eating watery foods each meal is a healthy way to get more fluid as well as controlling calories.

Bored of plain water?
Try infusing it with fruits and herbs: keep a jug of water in the fridge and drop 1 cup of a variety of  lemon or lime wedges, cucumber slices and/or cut up cranberries, cherries or chunked watermelon in the water.  Let it sit a few hours and it should have a nice flavor with negligible calories.  Thin slices of ginger or fresh basil or mint leaves also add an infusion of subtle flavor.  Enjoy!


Friday, July 28, 2017

Weight- What? The New Bad News on Body Fat

A new study reflects what most of us are aware of, that most adults have too much fat around their middle.  A study recently published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health took the waist and height measurements of adults in developed countries- including the US- and found that about 90% of American men, 80% of women and 50% of children are overfat.

Waistline fat is unhealthy
The fat around the waistline is the unhealthy type of fat, compared with fat in the hips, legs and arms.  Extra fat around the waistline is associated very closely with an increased risk of chronic disease development, such as diabetes, stroke and heart disease.  A larger waistline also reduces the quality of life, making a person feel more tired, putting stress on joints and generally feeling less well than when their waistline was smaller. 

BMI may not be the best measurement for everyone
The researchers feel that measuring BMI is not necessarily effective in determining whether a person has an unhealthy amount of fat.  They devised a very simple equation to help anyone make the determination:
If the waist circumference at the level of the belly button is more than half of the height of the person, they have too much unhealthy fat.

It was found that many professional athletes and military personnel fit into the unhealthy category, and our problems with weight as well as waistlines continue to increase in the US, as well as worldwide.

What do we learn from this study? 
1.       Most people do not know what to do or do not feel it is important enough to find the balance in their eating and activity.
2.       If a person wants to take charge of finding the balance to control their weight/waistline, their eating and activity cannot look like what everyone else does.  If you are eating the same way everyone around you is eating, you are probably on the way to an increasing waistline.
3.       Whatever we are currently trying to do is not working.  Weight and waistlines continue to increase along with health consequences.

Is there any good news?
Yes, if each individual chooses to take the bad news seriously and make different choices every day in their eating and activity levels.  Eating smaller portions at home, cutting out most junk foods and eating half of what is served at restaurants would be a great start at helping find a better balanced weight, along with walking 30 minutes most days!

Topeka Pharmacy’s mission is to promote the health & welfare of our community by providing professional and friendly health care services.  We are here to help you!