Monday, 16 April 2012

A new perspective

I feel that lately my blogs have been too focussed on what people shouldn't eat and not on which foods are positively good for you.

This is of course useful to know, but there's a problem with this approach - if someone says to you 'Don't eat any chocolate for a month' you're immediately going to be thinking about chocolate and you'll notice a lot more of it around you making it harder to avoid.

A more constructive approach to healthy eating is to focus on all the wonderful health-giving foods you should be eating and look for opportunities to have them. This approach doesn't feel like deprivation and by the time you've eaten the foods on your healthy check-list you'll find there isn't that much room in your stomach left for unhealthy and processed foods.

So in that vein I'll be blogging this week on the foods you should make sure you're eating and why. Starting with water.

Ok so it's not a food but it's an essential input into the functioning of every cell in your body so pretty fundamental to health. Unfortunately it's not particularly tasty and some people positively don't like drinking it so it's easy to neglect your water intake.

The recommended intake for an adult is 1.5-2 litres daily which ideally should be had as plain water or herbal teas. Those doing a lot of exercise need more and should replace fluids at a rate of 1litre per kg of sweat loss.

The easiest way to make sure you have enough is to buy or fill a 1.5 litre bottle at the start of your day and make sure you've drunk it by the time you go to bed.

If you really can't stand it plain then flavouring it with fruit juice is the best option, or buying the many different flavours of 'vitamin water' available. Water mixed with fruit squash/cordials also counts, although they're full of sugar. Still if it's the only way you're going to get someone to drink any water it's worth doing.

Tea, coffee and coca cola are diuretics so these don't count, and I'd recommend always drinking a full cup of water before having any caffeinated drink. This will help mitigate the dehydrating effect and combat fatigue that made you want some caffeine in the first place.

So if you're not a regular water drinker add this healthy habit in from tomorrow - you should feel more alert, have less headaches and will probably eat less/crave less carbs.

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