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World Water Day 2014: It’s More than Just Water

Typically, when we discuss water here at NCES, we talk about the importance of water for our bodies. For example, 50%-65% of the average adult body is made up of water. Or, the average adult should consume 9-13 cups of water each day depending on weight, gender, age and other factors. However, the theme for World Water Day 2014 is Water & Energy. So, for this blog, we wanted to share some of the information about the relationship between water and energy across the world.

1.1 billion people in the world live without clean drinking water and 1.3 billion live without electricity. In the United States, these numbers are hard to wrap our heads around. The concept is even hard to really comprehend. However, try turning the water off to your sink for just one day. How would your life change? You’d probably be surprised how many times you turn on the faucet for clean water or reach in the refrigerator for a cold bottle of clean, refreshing drinking water.

The focus of World Water Day this year is about solving the water and energy shortage together versus looking for separate solutions. The folks with World Water Day have put together a great video that explains how these problems can be solved by looking for interdependent solutions.

The video offers a good look at how solutions that only look to solve one of these problem actually tend to make the others worse.

Take some time this Saturday, World Water Day, to be appreciative of the clean drinking water, electricity and availability of food that you enjoy. It’s easy to take these things for granted on a day to day basis. But, we encourage you to take a minute to appreciate them this World Water Day. To show your support, take a few minutes to post the image below as your profile picture on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Include a post encouraging your friends to learn more about World Water Day 2014 too. As always, take a minute to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

 World Water Day

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Will I Freeze if I Drink Water in the Winter?

First off, the answer to that question is No! But, for most of us, drinking water in the winter is harder. I know it’s harder for me! In the summer, when the temperatures are high and the sweat just keeps rolling, it’s easy to remember that we need to drink water. But, it’s important to remember that it is equally important for our bodies to stay hydrated in the winter too.

There are a lot of tricks you can use to make sure you’re getting enough water in the winter. Keeping some kind of handy tracking tool close by can help you keep track of how much water you’re drinking any given day. But sometimes, it’s not just about keeping track of your water intake; it’s forcing yourself to actually drink it.

Did you know that many foods are high in water content and can help keep your body hydrated? Just a little disclaimer here though… eating foods that are high in water content doesn’t replace the need to drink water. They only help keep your body hydrated so you don’t have to drink as much water. So, here’s our list of foods that contain a lot of tissue moistening, joint lubricating H2O!

  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon (Or really any melon for that matter)
  • Lemons & Limes
  • Leafy Greens
  • Eggplant
  • Squash – All squash are good, but some have higher content than others
  • Strawberries
  • Broth Based Soups – Sorry guys, potato soup doesn’t count here!
  • Popsicles/Juice Bars
  • Sorbet/Sherbet

That looks like a list of pretty good foods to me. By incorporating some of these foods in to your diet each day, you can greatly reduce your need to drink as much water as you would without them. Trust me, your body will thank you!

What kind of foods do you enjoy eating that are high in H2O content? As always, share your thoughts here on the blog. We love to hear from you!

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Summer Fun: How to Stay Hydrated, Healthy & Happy

It’s finally here! The summer vacation, float trip or trip to the lake that you spent all winter planning has finally arrived. Or, maybe your just excited to be spending every day at the pool to make up for all the vitamin D that your body missed all winter! Either way, outdoor activities are a lot of fun. The problem is, they take their toll on our bodies. As with anything, the sun sucks the H2O right out of our bodies, leaving us dehydrated. So, what can you do this summer to keep your body hydrated, healthy and happy? Here are our dietitians Top 3 tips for hydration in the heat!

  1. Monitor how much water you are consuming by time! As we’ve said in previous blogs, be sure to drink at least 8 oz. of water for every 30 minutes that you spend outside!
  2. Monitory how much water you are consuming in relation to alcoholic beverages! Alcohol assists the sun in drying out your body. So, if you are consuming alcohol, you need to be sure to offset the effects with plenty of water. Follow up every alcoholic beverage with a glass of water.
  3. Keep an eye on your body’s signals! Many people wait until they feel thirsty to begin consuming water. If you feel thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. So, continuously drink water throughout the day to remain hydrated. If you begin to feel thirsty, find a cool place and relax over a glass of water to get your body back on track.

Everybody wants to get out and enjoy these warm30. summer rays! Just make sure you are doing it responsibly. As with everything in life, the sun is great for us in moderation! So, make sure you plan time in the sun; but also plan time to get a break from the sun. Consume plenty of water! You’ll feel better and your body will function better!

Need some help teaching ‘Sun Safety’? This Thursday, we’ll be releasing our July Free Download, focused on the hydration tips featured in this blog. Sign up for our HealthLinks Newsletter to be the first to know when the download is available!

For more health & nutrition information, be sure to follow us on Facebook & Twitter. Plus, share this blog with your network. Let’s spread the word to build a healthier community!

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Top 3 Summer Super Foods

Were you able to stay out of the hospital this 4th of July? For many, this hot summer holiday is an excuse to act crazy and forget all the rules! Unfortunately, our bodies are still paying attention to all the rules! Not only are the fireworks themselves dangerous, but the heat that always accompanies the 4th of July can pose its own health hazards if we don’t pay attention to our bodies signals and take necessary precautions to keep our bodies healthy. This year, it’s no different! In fact, many portions of the country are facing record-breaking heat this summer.

We have spent some time this morning discussing our 4th of July party menus and chosen the top 3 foods that we were glad we included on the menu! As we all know, there is a major heat wave sweeping the entire U.S. So, it’s extremely important this year to pay attention to the food and drinks that we’re consuming! Here’s a list of our Top 3 super foods to include on your summer party menu.

  1. Water is the #1 super food on our list because your body needs it! Did you know that our bodies are made up of about 60% water?  This means that when you start to get dehydrated, over half of your body begins to go in to shock… It can’t function correctly without this water. So, while you’re out enjoying your summer activities, remember to drink plenty of water! The daily recommendation is 64 oz. But, if you’re going to be out in this heat, our dietitian recommends you drink 8 oz. of water for every 30 minutes you spend outside. Drink up!

Tip: Are you struggling to drink all the water that is recommended? Try adding some light flavor, in the form of fresh fruit, to your water. The light, sweet flavor should help you enjoy your water!

  1. Summer is here and the produce is fresh! So, take advantage of it and be sure to set out plenty of green, leafy vegetables! These vegetables help provide the vitamins and nutrients that help our bodies stay strong. Plus, they are heavily composed of water. So, they won’t dehydrate our bodies by eating them.

Tip: Looking for a fun way to serve leafy greens? Serve a spinach salad with a fresh sliced apple and dried cranberries. Top it with a sweet, fruity dressing like strawberry vinaigrette… your guests will be singing your praises for weeks!

 

  1. As we’ve alluded to in the previous two tips, fresh berries are an extremely popular superfood this time of year. Fresh fruits, like blueberries and blackberries, make great snacks and are a much better choice than chips or candy. They are great for adding flavor to recipes as well. Plus, making desserts using fresh fruits usually eliminates any need for added sugar. Just remember, the possibilities are endless when it comes to adding fruit to any part of your menu.

Tip: Most berries are currently in season, so there is no better time to start building them in to your menu. Try visiting your local farmers market for the freshest, most flavorful berries.

What are your summer super foods? As always, we love to hear from you, our readers! So, leave your comments here on the blog or visit us on Facebook or Twitter! We look forward to hearing from you!

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Vitamin D Overload!

Sun exposure is very important for our bodies. After all, it is our body’s primary form of receiving the Vitamin D that we need to function at our best. There are numerous benefits to maintaining optimum Vitamin D levels, including a healthier immune system and improved mood. However, it doesn’t take much sun exposure for our body to soak up the Vitamin D that it needs. In fact, excessive, unprotected sun exposure can be very damaging for our bodies. This is true for people of all ages, but especially for children. “Most kids rack up between 50% and 80% of their lifetime sun exposure before age 18…” (www.kidshealth.org) So, how do we protect ourselves, and our children, from the damaging effects of the sun?

The most important thing you can do is to use sunscreen frequently. Every time you will be spending time in the sun, be sure to lather on the sunscreen. Sunscreen is designed to filter the UV Rays from the sun before they reach your skin. Using it appropriately will significantly reduce your risk of getting a sunburn. Not only are sunburns painful and unpleasant, they are also very dangerous. It only takes one blistering sunburn to double a child’s lifetime risk of developing skin cancer. (www.sunsafetyalliance.org)

The second thing you can do is to monitor sun exposure. Although summer days are best spent running around the neighborhood with friends and practicing canon balls at the local pool, too much sun exposure can be harmful for our bodies. Not only do you run the risk of getting sun burnt. But, there is also the risk of overheating and/or getting dehydrated. Be sure to drink plenty of water! As a general rule, consuming 8 oz. of water per hour (that you are exposed to the sun) will keep your body hydrated and help regulate your body temperature.

Spending time playing and being active outside has so many health benefits. Therefore, we always encourage finding activities for you and your family to enjoy outdoors. This time of year, it is just extra important to pay close attention to our bodies and be sure we are taking care of them properly. Now, take these tips so you can get out there and enjoy your summer!

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Drinking Safely! Yep, it’s Possible!

It’s July and 100⁰+ outside! Can you picture it… floating on a raft in the pool, sipping on an icy Piña Colada topped with fresh pineapple and cherries! It sounds great, doesn’t it? Everything is great in moderation. But, it’s important to remember that the things that we drink impact our bodies as well; and I’m talking about more than just the size of our waistline. To make it easy, we have put together a list of the top 3 points to remember when enjoying some ‘fun in the sun’, especially when alcoholic beverages are involved.

1.       Temperature:  The outside temperature plays a big role in how our bodies react to the alcohol that we consume. The amount that you may be able to ‘normally’ consume inside at a comfortable temperature may be drastically different than the amount you should consume in excessive heat.

2.       Impaired Judgment: Relaxing by the pool tends to make us all a little less cautious than we usually would be. So, when we start drinking alcoholic beverages, it is not uncommon for our judgment to become impaired. There are many dangers at the pool including hard surfaces, as well as the risk of drowning in the water. These risks are very real and we need to have a healthy respect for them.

3.       Get Plenty of Water: Both alcohol and caffeine are diuretics, causing them to contribute to dehydration. Combined with excessive heat, you could find yourself in a lot of trouble very quickly. So, it is very important to drink at least 8 oz. of water every hour to stay hydrated.

Summer is a great time to have lots of fun. But, it’s still important to remember to be responsible when enjoying poolside time with family and friends. As always, if you have more specific questions regarding health and nutrition education, visit our website at www.ncescatalog.com, call us at 800.NCES.BOOKS or chat live with our dietitian here.

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Drink to Your Good Health

Since the month of July is National Community Health Awareness Month, we decided to offer some healthy advice that the whole community can use. And the topic this week is: a course in Beverages 101.
Most of the time, we give less thought to what we drink than what we eat, but beverages are an important element of your health and nutrition, just as food is. And, there are definitely beverages that are better for you than others.
Plain coffee has zero calories. Zero. As soon as you start adding things like creamer and sugar, the calories quickly increase.  Try skipping these additions and limiting yourself to 3-5 cups a day. If you get your coffee at a coffee shop, get your favorite drink in its fat-free, no-whip version to cut it down to only half the fat.
With sports drinks, it’s actually only helpful to you if you’re participating in a vigorous activity for 90 minutes or more in a day. Otherwise, all of the sugar and other additions add to your waistline instead of your energy levels.
Juice is good for you, as long as it’s 100% juice. And the best part is, you only need ½ cup a day to get the most out of all of the vitamins and minerals that juices have to offer.
As always, water is the body’s best friend. It fully quenches your thirst, and keeps you better hydrated than any other beverage. Drinking 8 to 16 cups a day, depending on your exercise levels, will give you the right amount of hydration and continued health throughout the day.
There’s more tips and advice in our “Beverages 101” handout and poster, which can be found in the Teaching Aids section of our catalog, or online at http://www.ncescatalog.com