Is it getting hot in here? Well, for those of us in the northern hemisphere, it probably is. The long days and the hot sun are now upon us. As most of us are in vacation mode (at least mentally), sometimes this means that our good nutrition habits take a back seat. With more BBQs and backyard parties, cold alcoholic beverages and frozen treats, our eating habits can be overlooked a bit. Don’t worry though, this month’s healthy eating challenge takes this into consideration (hint: the hot weather will make this month's challenge easier). But before we talk about what July has in store for the Journey To Healthy Eating, let’s recap and reflect upon June’s challenge - eating for strong bones.
For me, I’m a big dairy consumer. Ever since having kids, my thirst for ice cold milk has come back with a vengeance. Between milk and cheese, I think my calcium requirements are covered (and then some). That being said, I did enjoy focusing on those “other” calcium-rich foods this month. Personally, I really enjoyed researching and writing my article Can You Get Enough Calcium Without Dairy because it really did illustrate that you can get enough calcium if you don’t like or can’t stomach dairy foods.
Calcium aside, there are also other nutrients that are needed for strong bones. These nutrients often get overlooked. From a whole foods perspective (looking at foods, rather than nutrients), a diet rich in fruits, vegetables (especially dark leafy greens), nuts, seeds, legumes and fish is also one which contains many of those “other” bone-building nutrients. You may noticed that these foods are generally those that most dietitians encourage for an overall healthy diet because, well, what’s good for your bones is also good for other aspects of your health. For a salad that’s rich in bone building nutrients check out my Kale and Quinoa Super Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing.
Now onto July’s Challenge….
July Challenge: Get Hydrated
As the summer heat is upon us, I thought I’d focus on the often forgotten nutrient - water. Believe it or not, water is considered an essential nutrient. Although many of our body’s internal chemical reactions produce water, our body can’t produce enough to meet our overall need. Considering our body is about 60% water, it's easy to see why it's essential that we obtain enough of it in our diet.
Why do we need water? Well, water:
- Regulates body temperature
- Helps with the digestion of food
- Helps flush waste products from your body
- Helps conduct nerve signals within the body
- Lubricates joints
- Is the major component of the cerebrospinal fluid which protect the spinal cord and brain
- Keeps skin supple and smooth
- Keeps tissues such as mouth, nose and throat moist
- Helps transport nutrients through body
There is no exact requirement requirement for water (like there is for other nutrients). The Institute of Medicine (IOM) suggests women get about 2.7 liters of water per day, and men get 3.7 liters water per day. This includes water from all beverages and foods (note: we get about 80% of our hydration from beverages and about 20% from food). According to the IOM’s data, most healthy adults are adequately hydrated.
Hydration requirements can can be higher than normal if you have a bigger body size, increase your physical activity level, or live in a hot or humid climate. Water requirements can also increase if you have fever, diarrhea or vomiting.
The ‘rule of thumb’ of 8 cups of water per day is not scientifically backed but it's also not a bad goal to work towards each day, especially if you tend to have trouble drinking fluids.
All beverages count towards your hydration (even coffee and tea), although it is best to get most of your hydration from plain water.
How can you stay adequately hydrated?
- Include water at all meals and snacks.
- Carry a water bottle around with you and sip throughout the day.
- Flavour water with lemon, lime, cucumber or strawberry for a little variety (especially if you get bored of plain water).
- Try carbonated water, if you are craving bubbles. Limit sugar sweetened sodas.
- Take a glass of water after every bathroom break, if you have trouble remembering to drink.
- Include a few servings of juicy fruits (i.e. watermelon, oranges, peaches) each day.
- Make fresh fruit ice pops (frozen fresh fruit) for hot days.
- Keep a water cup at your desk at work as a reminder to stay hydrated.
- Listen to you thirst. Drink when thirsty!
- Drink a little extra if you know you are going to be more active than usual or out in hot weather.
Monitor yourself for signs of dehydration:
- Increased thirst
- Decreased urine output
- Dry mouth
- Bright yellow urine (more concentrated urine)
- Dry skin
Note: *If you have symptoms that concern you, please discuss with your doctor*
ARE YOU FOLLOWING ALONG WITH THIS CHALLENGE? MAKE SURE TO CHECK BACK ON THE BLOG AND FACEBOOK PAGE ALL MONTH LONG FOR CHALLENGE RELATED ARTICLES AND TIPS.
REMEMBER TO TAG YOUR PHOTOS ON SOCIAL MEDIA WITH #JOURNEYTOHEALTHYEATING.
Stay tuned for next month’s Challenge!
INTERESTED IN THE PREVIOUS MONTH'S CHALLENGES?
- Find January's Journey To Healthy Eating Challenge here.
- Find February's Journey To Healthy Eating Challenge here.
- Find March's Journey To Healthy Eating Challenge here.
- Find April's Journey To Healthy Eating Challenge here.
- Find May's Journey To Healthy Eating Challenge here.
- Find June's Journey To Healthy Eating Challenge here.