This blog has been written by Nikki Fischr, Personal Trainer and Admin Manager here at Unique Results.
Nutrition and Hydration Week is an annual event which started back in 2012 (14th – 20th March 2022) with a shared objective to highlight, promote and celebrate improvements in the provision of nutrition and hydration locally, nationally and globally. For more information check out the following website – https://nutritionandhydrationweek.co.uk/
With the event happening next month I thought it would be a good idea to share some information and useful tips to help you improve your own nutrition and hydration.
Let’s start with HYDRATION.
The adult human body is made up of approximately 60% water, the brain is made up of 75% water and the blood is 83% water. Throughout the day amounts of this water is lost through sweat/temperature regulation (you do not need to be working out to sweat), breathing, urine and faeces.
In not replacing the water that is lost your body will become dehydrated. Many people are dehydrated and are not even aware of it. It is therefore extremely important that we drink water regularly to replace what is lost and to allow our bodies to function correctly.
So why is water so important and how does it help us?
- boosts energy levels
- naturally lowers blood pressure
- delivers important nutrients to all our cells
- is vital for lubricating joints
- is used for protecting the brain
- boosts your metabolism
- helps the body properly break down food
- is a detoxifier that helps to flush out toxins
- prevents headaches & migraines which can be triggered when dehydrated
A way to tell if you are or are not drinking enough water is to check for some of the side effects listed below. Are you experiencing any of these?
- dry skin
- increasing blood pressure (as lack of water makes the blood thicker)
- headaches & migraines
- muscle cramping
- low urine output/ darkened urine
So how can you ensure you stay hydrated
- Keep a bottle of water with you during the day. To reduce your costs and protect the environment, carry a reusable water bottle and fill it with tap water.
- If you don’t like the taste of plain water, try adding a slice of lemon or lime to your drink.
- Drink water before, during, and after a workout.
- When you’re feeling hungry, drink water. Thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied by drinking water.
- If you have trouble remembering to drink water, drink on a schedule. For example, drink water when you wake up, at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and when you go to bed. Or, drink a small glass of water at the beginning of each hour. There are also plenty of free apps out there that can be downloaded to your phone and will provide you with an audible reminder
- Reduce your coffee and tea intake. These are both diuretics which increases the amount of water and salt expelled from the body as urine.
Now lets look at NUTRITION
Nutrition is a bit of a mind-field especially with the different types of diets that people follow these days!! – vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, clean eating, ketogenic, fasting, pescatarian, mediterranean etc etc.
At the end of the day it is about what works for you and your lifestyle. Don’t make it difficult and time consuming as you will not be able to stick with it.
Whatever you choose make sure you eat healthy nutritional balanced foods to ensure your body gets the right nutrients to function efficiently.
There are 6 essential nutrients : Carbohydrates, Fats, Proteins, Vitamins, Minerals and Water. Nutrients are compounds in foods essential to life and health, providing us with energy, the building blocks for repair and growth and substances necessary to regulate chemical processes.
Below are some food examples of where we can get each nutrient:
Proteins: meat, dairy, legumes, nuts, seafood and eggs
Carbohydrates: pasta, rice, cereals, breads, potatoes, milk, fruit, sugar
Lipids (most commonly called fats): oils, butter, margarine, nuts, seeds, avocados and olives, meat and seafood
Vitamins: common vitamins include the water soluble B group vitamins and vitamin C and the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K
- Fruits and vegetables are generally good sources of Vitamin C and A and folic acid (a B group vitamin)
- Grains and cereals are generally good sources of the B group vitamins and fibre
- Full-fat dairy and egg yolks are generally sources of the fat soluble vitamins A, D and E
- Milk and vegetable or soya bean oil are generally good sources of vitamin K, which can also be synthesised by gut bacteria
Minerals: (sodium, calcium, iron, iodine, magnesium, etc.): all foods contain some form of minerals.
- Milk and dairy products are a good source of calcium and magnesium
- Red meat is a good source of iron and zinc
- Seafood and vegetables (depending on the soil in which they are produced) are generally good sources of iodine
Water: As a beverage and a component of many foods, especially vegetables and fruits.
Including all these nutrients in your diet is good but how regularly and how much should you be eating?
From each food group the British Nutrition Foundation recommends:
- Fruit and vegetables: 5+ portions per day
- Starchy carbohydrates: 3-4 portions per day
- Beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins: 2-3 portions per day
- Dairy and alternatives: 2-3 portions per day
And here are some examples of portion sizes:
- 2 handfuls of dried pasta shapes or rice (75g)
- A bunch of spaghetti the size of a £1 coin, measured using your finger and thumb (75g)
- The amount of cooked pasta or rice that would fit in two hands cupped together (180g)
- A baked potato about the size of your fist (220g)
- About 3 handfuls of breakfast cereal (40g)
- A piece of grilled chicken breast about half the size of your hand (120g)
- A piece of cheddar cheese about the size of two thumbs together (30g)
- About 1 tablespoon of peanut butter (20g)
- About 3 teaspoons of soft cheese (30g)
If you require any help with your health and fitness please take a look at our website and read about how we work with all our members and our Foundations Programme – http://www.uniqueresults.co.uk.
Yours in health