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Posts Tagged ‘hydration’

Winter is here. We see it in our skin, hair and nails – the dryness, and the resulting little cracks that will prove to be excellent entrance ways for bad bugs that can lead to winter colds.

How do we spell protection against winter dryness and colds? HYDRATION

Sometimes hydration is only thought of as a summer issue – we are hot, we sweat, and so we remember to drink lots of water and eat water-based foods. We wear hats to shield our hair and skin from the sun and we lather on the moisturizer.

Habits change in the winter. We change from water-based vegetables to winter’s more starchy and less water-based vegetables; we trade raw salads for warm soups; and our iced teas often become hot tea with milk, hot cocoa, and hot cider which translates to: less water, more sodium = DEHYDRATION. Furthermore, we often forget our skin under all those clothes and while sun exposure may not be our issue (though winter sun should not be ignored), heaters/heating have a powerful, drying effect on our skin.

What to do? Follow these tips to improve winter health by way of HYDRATION:

1) Potassium intake: make sure to include potassium-rich foods and beverages which help bring water into our cells for hydration: coconut water (see this video to learn more about coconut water’s hydration benefits: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWOV_WRvVdc), bananas, potatoes, avocado, and even try supplement Ultima Replenisher for travel or in your workout bottle.

2)Sodium intake: be careful with excess sodium which keeps water outside our cells (dehydrating). Make your own soups or look for low-sodium options; use spices versus salt; and when using salt aim for a sea salt that contains an array of minerals; avoid canned and packaged foods where salt is used as a preservative, and choose fresh and frozen options (sodium can still be an issue in these packaged foods so read labels). In general, sodium should be less than 250mg PER serving but in some foods like soups it’s likely to be higher versus others like frozen vegetables where there should be zero. Check the Ashley Koff Approved lists on my site for good choices and always compare products in a category (i.e. cereal, soups etc.). http://www.ashleykoffapproved.com/approved/index.html.

3) Water – yes, you need it…8 glasses or take your weight in pounds and divide it in half and that will give you your daily ounces requirement (if you wight 150 pounds then that’s 75 ounces and there’s 8 ounces in a cup so you need between 9 and 10 cups daily).

4) Oil Up – when you get out of the shower or after you wash your face add some oils like coconut oil or argan oil to your skin to lock in moisture. Also, you can spray a hydrosol on your face in the day and reapply a dot of oil to the nose and lip areas which tend to get dry the quickest. Choose alcohol-free skincare products to avoid extra dryness.

5) Shroom ‘n Good Bugs: Yup, adding mushrooms like maitake and shitake to the diet or taking a daily supplement like LifeShield from New Chapter are great ways to boost your immune system. Also, consume probiotic-rich foods like coconut water kefir and cultured veggies as well as taking a supplement (I recommend and work with Align).

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Today’s New York Times says the data is inconclusive – here’s what AKA has to say.

When it comes to salt it is true that some people are more salt sensitive than others.

It is true that salt plays a role in raising blood pressure, or a reduction in salt intake can help lower blood pressure

Salt or sodium rather works in opposition to potassium – sodium keeps the water outside the cells and potassium brings it in the cells where the body needs it for hydration.

Not all salts are created equal – mineral rich salts such as many sea salts contain a variety of minerals as nature intended – not just sodium and chloride which is found in table salt.

Using salt when cooking pre-empts the need for it after we cook – and we can use a lot less this way and still get great flavor.

Salt consumption often triggers our sweet cravings – have sushi with soy sauce and need something sweet after? Have lunch meat sandwich and chips and need a sweet after? So the issue may not be the salt but what it triggers.

Salt is a preservative to keep packaged foods fresh for longer and longer periods of time – do we need this? Freezing vegetables or fruit does the same and no salt is required.

So while the jury isn’t out on salt there’s a lot one can do to balance their salt intake for optimal taste and health.

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So suggests the results of a study reported on today in the LA Times health section entitled The power of potassium — ” a new study suggests that consuming twice as much potassium as sodium can halve your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease” … best strategy is to eat less sodium and increase potassium.

My take:

Sodium is ESPECIALLY a winter issue as we try to warm up with soups which often increase our sodium intake and decrease our intake of potassium rich foods. Also, those trying to watch their carbs / blood sugar may steer clear of potassium-rich foods like banana, white potato and some dried fruits. AND with the economy, many people are turning to cheaper packaged goods or fast foods which contain way more sodium…money saved now but heart disease costs more later.

Tips to naturally improve potassium to sodium ratio in the diet:

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I’ve talked about hydration in other blogs – the role of minerals, the fact that hydration isn’t just about water, and sources of hydrating nutrients.

In the media, hydration is often a summer story. Its hot, we’re sweating more, remember to hydrate. However, I think there’s a much bigger story: dehydration – how the winter presents increased risks for it resulting in increased risk for immune challenges. (more…)

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