HEALTH / FITNESS
Information about fitness, health, nutrition and weight loss
Do you know of a new diet or fitness routine that you'd like us to review? Or perhaps you want to write a review yourself and see it in print! Got a great recipe you want to share? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this Section....
- June Recipes
- June Exercise
- Sodium: Too Much? Too Little?
- Just Because It's There Doesn't Mean You Have To Have It
June Recipes - Click Here
June brings us summer and with it some heat!! The weather is trying to get warmer, it just can't decide what to do with all the crazy storms and tornados that pop up out of nowhere!! Let's hope the weather gets better so that Dad can enjoy his day and enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of summer!! This Father's Day, prepare him a great meal that dad can enjoy inside or out while relaxing on his special day. Have him invite his friends over and let them celebrate together. Make sure the family lets him know how special he is by serving him a menu fit for the man of the hour!! Happy Father's Day!! Enjoy!
We'd love to feature one of your favorite recipes in any one of our monthly issues, just send them on to us at email@example.com. Hope to hear from all of you in the following months!
June Exercises - Click Here
Each month we will feature simple exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home and without buying fancy expensive equipment.
Sodium: Too Much? Too Little?
Your body needs sodium to maintain body fluid balance, plus your nerves and muscles need it for normal function. They typical Western diet gives you all the sodium you need. In fact, it usually gives you way more sodium than you need (the average American consumes at least 3,400 milligrams per day). The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests no more than 2,400 milligrams and even down to 1,500 milligrams for people aged 51 or older, African Americans, and people with hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease. That's about half the population of the United States. Because I have to be very careful with my sodium intake due to a recent bout with fluid in my lungs, I was curious to know what is normal and what is too much or too little.
As long as you're eating enough food every day, it's unlikely you'll become deficient in sodium, even if you avoid heavily processed foods and salt (including sea salt), because small amounts of sodium occur naturally in vegetables, meat, seafood, milk, cheese and breads. A cup of milk has around 140 milligrams of sodium, four ounces of beef has about 60 milligrams, and a large stalk of celery has about 50 milligrams. These are all considered low in sodium because they're at or below 140 milligrams per serving, but you can see how they'd still add up during a whole day.
How Much Sodium Do I Need?
According to the United States Institute of Medicine, 1,500 milligrams per day is sufficient to replace what you normally lose during the day, and you can easily get that much by eating a healthy diet. Processed foods are high in sodium. It's much more common for people to eat 3,000 or more milligrams every day, so even if you choose "low-sodium" foods, you'll still be able to get enough. If you don't have high blood pressure (or are at a high risk of getting high blood pressure), you can have up to 2,400 milligrams per day, but the IOM sets 1,500 milligrams as the target for anyone with high blood pressure, over the age of fifty, and African-Americans of all ages.
Why Is Sodium Important?
There's so much written about cutting back on sodium that it can be difficult to remember that it is an essential nutrient. Sodium is an electrolyte, which means it helps keep your fluid levels in balance by working with water, potassium and chloride. You also need sodium for normal nerve and muscle function.
You can drive your blood levels of sodium down to dangerous levels If you drink too much water. This causes a condition called hyponatremia that can cause muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and if not treated, can lead to shock and coma. How much water would it take to become deficient in sodium? According to the Merck Manual, it would take six gallons of water on a regular daily basis to affect a healthy young adult. If you have certain heart, liver kidney problems, you may be at a greater risk of hyponatremia, and should speak to your doctor about how much water to drink every day.
What About Sweating?
You normally lose a little sodium every day when you sweat, but your diet provides enough sodium to replace the amount lost. It's possible to become deficient in sodium if you sweat too much, like when you overexert yourself on a very hot day. You can prevent sodium deficiency by drinking sports drinks that contain electrolytes.
Recently the Institutes of Medicine took a look at the research evidence regarding the importance of lowering sodium. It looks like reducing sodium to 2,400 milligrams is still a good idea, but most of us may not need to get down to 1,500 milligrams. It's hard to know for sure, because the evidence isn't that great either way. So, for now, the Dietary Guidelines' recommendations stand, but if you have questions about sodium and your heart disease risk, talk to your health care provider.
Submitted by: Maria Albus
Just Because It's There Doesn't Mean You Have To Have It
I was talking with a patient this week, and he had had a fair number of relatives visiting him. Not unexpectedly, it seemed like everyone had brought food with them. I know in these situations it's difficult to not partake in the many offerings but if our goal, our desire, our wish, is to lose weight then we must learn to have some degree of control, despite the situation. Fully expecting his weight to be up, I put him on the scale and was surprised to see he had gone down. I asked him how he was able to minimize his intake of all the food. His response was, "Just because it's there doesn't mean you have to have it." I smiled because the statement was both simple and wise, and it also demonstrated his well-developed sense of awareness & control.
It seems every day there is some event or some person (maybe even our family) that seems to sabotage our efforts. You can look at these situations as a self-fulfilling prophecy for failure; or, you can practice controlled portions and turning your back on foods that you know are triggers for you. For the rest of our lives we will be walking down this path: one turn means unnecessary food yet temporary pleasure, and the other turn means saying no and temporarily denying ourselves immediate gratification, yet ultimately giving us a feeling of confidence and self-control. All of us strive to have control over food rather than allowing food to control us.
I truly believe that developing control over food is a matter of practice; relentless, frustrating, daily practice. The problem that you will encounter, as in many aspects of your life, is that there will be 'failures' or at least perceived failures. Look as these as learning experiences. Develop the ability to look at these events or situations as something to learn from. Ask yourself, "Why did I make that choice? What will I do the next time?"
The most common eating situation that negatively affects most people is evening snacking. If there is one habit I could magically help people with, it would be this one. Again, however, managing this situation takes practice. None of us are going to 'starve' if we don't have a snack. The pleasure is short-lived but the effect on our body weight is long-term. One simple thing you might work on over the next while is limiting the mindless evening snacks (the high-starch, high-sugar snacks that calm us at the end of a stressful day). See if you can go one evening, maybe even two with healthier snacks (i.e. cheese & nuts, yogurt, hummus & veggies, etc.) and see how you feel. Psychologically and physically I know you will feel better. Will it be easy? No it won't! But, practicing nightly will eventually diminish and eliminate this common eating habit we all seem to possess. Remember; "just because it's there, you don't have to eat it."
Distractions help. Get out of the kitchen. Make a rule not to snack in front of the T.V. We all know this, but seem to fail to put it into practice. If you are fortunate enough to have a T.V. that is far away from the fridge and food cupboards, then watch your favourite program there.
Food always beckons. Control is difficult. Practice! Practice positive self-talk, and practice not giving in to the immediate desire to 'munch.' The more you practice the more successful you become. Ultimately that feeling of deprivation will disappear.
You can do it. Every single one of us reverts to old habits every once in a while; it is how we turn things around that's the key to long-term success. Keep on trying, and never give up.
Written by: Dr Doug