Paine, whose nutrition program is highly respected here in Southern Humboldt, especially in our schools, spoke to the Garberville Rotary Club about hydration.
She recently completed an eight-week wellness project with students at South Fork High School in Miranda. Students were not only taught about nutrition, but they learned how to shop and cook healthy and nutritious meals at home for their families.
When most kids leave home, whether it is for college or other reasons, most have no clue how to shop for food or cook healthy meals. We've all heard about the “freshman 15,” when kids are faced with the college atmosphere including cafeteria food (and lots of it), and the abundance of fast food at most college locations. It's very easy to put on that weight, but much harder to take it off. Paine wants to change all that and this program is a good step in the right direction.
Paine said the students also studied their family history and how this may affect their own health in the future. She said it's so very important to realize that what you do to your body as a teenager will affect your health as you mature and move into those so-called golden years.
Exercise, exercise, exercise and exercise some more. This used to be something we all needed to include in our daily lives. Now, Paine said, it is mandatory in today's world. It's no longer a choice, but a necessity to good health.
It can be very daunting to go to the grocery story and make those healthy choices. The majority of our food is processed and contains very high levels of sugar, fats, and other ingredients that can be toxic to our bodies.
In a handout provided to the audience Paine said water intake and fluid balances are among the least understood and most neglected areas of overall health and weight management. Water is very important to our health and our bodies will attempt to maintain proper fluid balance all the time. Hydration is the key to staying healthy. Statistics have shown that 75% of us are dehydrated when we have our blood tested.
Dehydration is the number one trigger for afternoon fatigue and can cause a drop in our energy level. If you get that four o'clock slowdown try drinking a big glass of water. Research has also shown that 80% of joint pain can be attributed to dehydration including lower back and kidney pain.
Paine said a good guideline is to take your weight and divide it by two. That will give you the amount of water in ounces you should drink every day. If you are very active, exercise, or sweat a lot, you will need to drink even more. However, you can drink too much water, especially if you are working outside in the heat. If you over-drink, you can end up flushing out those important minerals we all need. There have been some very rare cases of people drinking enough water to cause death.
She said, “Listen to your body. It will tell you when you are becoming dehydrated. We just need to listen and learn those signs.”
Kids who complain about growing pains at night may even get some relief by drinking more water.
While it can be annoying for many it is important to drink lots of water to flush the impurities out of our system. This of course means going to the bathroom more often, which Paine says is a very natural and necessary bodily function to good health. You also can't lose weight, if you don't flush out the bad stuff. This will also help our kidneys to function more efficiently.
She suggested you start the morning off with a glass of water, before that cup of coffee. Coffee and highly caffeinated drinks are dehydrating. If you drink eight ounces of coffee, you will need to increase the amount of water you drink. Caffeinated drinks actually cause dehydration. Herbal teas on the other hand are good to drink, but stay away from the black teas that have caffeine. Your body can absorb fluids every 45 minutes, so have that water bottle with you and keep hydrating all day long.
Soda drinkers should know that 20 ounces of soda has 18 teaspoons of sugar and will actually encourage thirst. If you drink one 20-ounce soda, it will take you a 55-mile run to work off those calories. In the span of 12 months you can potentially pack on an extra 24 pounds. And, beware of those sports drinks. They can also be loaded with sugar.
Paine also said to stay away from those vitamin and mineral waters because most of them have a very high sugar content. And carbonated water or ice-cold water is probably not the best either on a regular basis. If you drink very cold water your body has to heat it up, which can bring your body temperature down. She said if you want flavored water drop a couple pieces of frozen fruit in your water bottle. Or you can add lemon, orange, or a sprig of spearmint or peppermint for taste. If you like fruit juice, dilute it with four parts water to one part juice.
When asked what sugar substitute was the best to use, Paine said Stevia is probably the best and most healthy because it is the most natural.
One of the most disappointing facts Paine gave the group was about agave nectar, which has become very popular as a sugar substitute. She said, “I was sucked in just like the rest of you. I thought it was the best thing ever. However, now that the facts are out on how it is processed, I no longer recommend it.”
She said due to the methods used during processing agave nectar mimics high-fructose corn syrup in our bodies and is also an estrogen-mimicking hormone.
Paine said the best thing to do is read those labels and pay attention to your own body and the signals it will give. And, drink plenty of H20 for your overall health.
If you would like more information, contact Paine at 923-2426 or go to integrative@sabernet.
REDWOOD TIMES PHOTO BY SUSAN GARDNER
Gina Paine NE, talked to the Garberville Rotary Club at their July 17 meeting.