Sip-for-delicious-sip, except for the color, you’ll hardly notice the spinach in this green smoothie. Frozen peaches create a slushy-sweet base further enhanced by apple juice. Chia seeds give an energizing boost to this yummy low-cal and nutrient rich beverage. Perfectly refreshing after a long workout.
1 1/2 c. frozen peaches
1 c. apple juice
1/2 c. water
2 T. chia seeds
1 1/2 c. baby spinach leaves
Combine the peaches, apple juice, water, chia seeds, and spinach leaves in a blender; puree until smooth, about one minute. Serve immediately.
Chia seeds were prized by ancient cultures as a source of sustainable energy. In fact, “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for strength. A tiny nutrition powerhouse, Chia is rich in dietary fiber and contains significant amounts of minerals and vitamins. One ounce of Chia seeds provides calcium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus among other micronutrients, very little fat, and just 138 calories.
With a high amount of antioxidants and Omega-3 Fatty Acids, there are many health benefits associated with Chia seeds. Some studies indicate that people who regularly consume chia seeds have a lower risk for diabetes and heart disease. Chia is considered energizing and hydrating, which is why the seeds are often added to teas, smoothies, kombucha, and sports drinks.
It’s simple to add Chia seeds to your diet. Since the seeds are bland, you can add them to just about any dish or beverage without changing its flavor. Mix chia into cereal, oatmeal, pudding, or yogurt, or blend into a smoothie. Chia seeds can be soaked in juice and added to baked goods. Also, you can eat raw seeds. If you’re new to chia, start with about one tablespoon a day until you get used to the fiber content. A typical serving is 1.5 tablespoon twice a day, or about 20 grams.
Water. We can’t live without it. Literally. It comprises about 70% of adult body weight and even more for infants and children. Essential to every cell in the body, water helps to . . .
• maintain normal temperature through sweating and respiration
• regulate thirst and appetite
• transport nutrients in the bloodstream
• remove waste and toxins through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements
• reduce friction in joints and facilitate muscle contraction
• balance pH level (acid and alkaline)
• nourish the skin
8 x 8: Is That Really Enough Water For You?
Everyone’s hydration needs are different, depending upon age, gender, activity level, body composition, and overall health. It’s more myth than scientific fact that healthy people should drink 8 cups x 8 ounces of water daily. A better estimate is your body weight: Drink one-half ( ½) your weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 ounces of water each day.
Your Body Needs More Water When You:
• are in hot, dry climates or at high altitudes
• exercise or perform rigorous work
• take certain medications
• are pregnant or breastfeeding
• feel ill – running a fever, experiencing diarrhea or vomiting; during acute and chronic injury/illness
What Counts as Water?
Pure H2O is best. Caffeine-free tea, such as herbal, can count toward daily fluid intake. Coffee and fruit juice don’t contribute to hydration. Food, such as celery, tomatoes, cucumber and melons, can contribute to daily water requirement depending on the proportion of fruits and vegetables in your diet.
Are You Dehydrated?
Dehydration means your body lacks the water required to function. Many people are in a chronic state of insufficient hydration. This can result in constipation, dry skin, inflammation, urinary tract infections, fatigue, and weight gain due to increased appetite.
Inadequate hydration makes it harder for the body to eliminate toxins and can quickly lead to acute dehydration, which is life threatening. Warning signs include dry mouth, irritability, headaches, and muscle cramps. If you don’t receive fluids, you become dizzy, clumsy and exhausted. The vital organs start shutting down. Without water, you will enter into a coma and die.
You may have heard you can determine if you are dehydrated by the color of your urine. However, certain foods, supplements, and medications change urine color; it’s not a reliable guide. Your health practitioner can help you determine the amount of water that’s right for you.
Savvy Ways to Drink More Water
• Use a “dedicated” glass or water bottle. Choose a style and size that feels right to you. Keep it by your side. Sip throughout the day.
• Do the citrus twist. Embellish water with slices of orange, lemon, or lime.
• Get fizzy. Bubbly spring water hits the spot on a hot day. Look for carbonated water without added sweetener. Search online for recipes for making your own carbonated ginger or lemon-lime beverages.
• Enjoy Virgin Sangria (or Earth Juice for kids). Pour water over fresh (or frozen) citrus, melon, blueberries or strawberries. Chill for a few hours. The water extracts some of the flavor, nutrients and color. Try with mixed fruits or carbonated water for a delicately sweetened, beautiful refreshment.
From the hair on your head to the bones that support you and the blood that runs through you, your body relies on minerals for optimal health. Minerals are broken into two categories: macrominerals and trace minerals. Since the body cannot make minerals, we must get them from food or water.
Many foods and vitamin formulas contain the major macrominerals, such as calcium, potassium and magnesium. The challenge is trace minerals, such as selenium, copper, manganese and molybdenum. There are over seventy known trace minerals, many of which scientists continue to study to understand the critical role they play in human health. These are not commonly added to vitamin-mineral formulas.
There was a time when non-processed foods, like dark leafy greens (and others), provided all the minerals we need. But today, that’s not the case. According to The US Department of Agriculture and other researchers our food remains relatively stable in terms of vitamins but deficient in minerals, particularly trace minerals, which we need for optimal health.
Symptoms of mineral deficiencies are varied and can surface at any time. They can include:
- GI issues: constipation, bloating, diarrhea, poor digestion
- Poor immune function
- Impaired cognitive function: memory, learning, brain fog
- Muscle issues: pain, spasms, cramping, weakness
- Heart issues
- Generalized pain, weakness or fatigue
- Developmental delays or behavioral issues
So, how do we address this dilemma? Eat healthy, non-processed foods, especially dark leafy greens, vegetables, fruit, nuts, legumes and lean proteins. Supplement with a good quality multiple vitamin and mineral formula (macrominerals) and use a separate trace mineral formula. Trace minerals are acquired from the mineral rich waters found in certain oceans and seas around the globe such as the Great Salt Lake and the Australian Ocean. They can also be plant-derived. These can be taken as a capsule, liquid, powder and even added to your water. Your holistic health practitioner can test your mineral levels should they suspect a deficiency or imbalance. They can also guide you regarding the best product and dose.
Most people know very little about the quality of the water they use. Even those of us who recognize the potential health risks in tap water often choose cost-effectiveness and convenience over superior quality. Searching for information about your local water quality and how to improve it can make you feel like you’re in chemistry class! Here’s primer on why you should filter water and types of filtering systems.
Why Filter Your Water?
Over 2100 known toxins may be present in drinking water, which increases your risk for illness and affects the taste and smell of water. Better tasting, better smelling, and healthier water is what you get when you filter out chemical (e.g., chlorine/ lead) and bacterial contaminants from the water you drink or use for bathing. This also reduces the risk of rectal, colon and bladder cancer, as well as gastrointestinal and autoimmune illness. The EPA recognizes the benefit of filtered water for individuals with chronic illness or compromised immune systems.
Ways to Filter Your Water:
Before you purchase any filtration system, learn about the quality of your household water supply by reading your water utility company’s “Consumer Confidence Report.” By law, all homeowners are to receive this in the mail by July 1 of each year. The report (also found online) details where your drinking water comes from, which contaminants have been found in it, and how contaminant levels compare to national standards. Next, have the water directly supplied to your house sampled and tested by a state-certified lab (also listed online). Together, these two steps will identify the most significant water supply concerns at your residence.
The chemical and/or bacterial contaminants filtered out vary by brand and model of filtering system. Learn as much as possible before purchasing a system for your home or personal use.
Countertop / personal use filters are placed in a pitcher or water bottle. These are inexpensive but typically only filter out lead/chlorine. More intricate systems, such as those used for camping, can filter out some types of bacteria and other contaminants.
Point-of-entry filters are installed at the main water line to your home. Point-of-use filters are affixed to a faucet or showerhead or at the plumbing line below the sink. Depending on the system, these can remove lead and other contaminants.
Ion Exchange Filters (aka Water Softeners) remove dissolved salts and other minerals that create chemically “hard water.” These filters soften water by exchanging naturally-forming mineral ions with its own ions to neutralize the harmful effect of mineral build-up in pipes, which alters the quality of your household water.
Granular Carbon/ Carbon Block Filters use a chemical or physical bonding process that pulls contaminants to the surface of the filter. Granular systems are best for removing organic chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides and industrial chemicals. A caveat with granular filters: loose material can form channels that trap water which then escapes proper filtering. Carbon block filters compress the carbon medium, eliminating channeling and providing more precision for filtering a wider range of contaminants.
Reverse Osmosis (RO) Filters force water through a membrane that draws out organic and inorganic contaminants. RO uses three times as much water as is treated but it is most effective in eliminating all disease-causing organisms and most chemical contaminants. Minerals are lost during RO so you must add trace minerals to the water or take a trace mineral supplement.
Alkaline Water Systems. You may be hearing a lot about pH alkaline water systems or bottled alkaline water. This system concentrates mineral content (it does not filter it) and some health scientists propose alkaline water can neutralize acid in the body, which is good for health. A variety of factors have to be considered when looking at the role of alkaline water in maintaining good health or supporting treatment for certain conditions.
Determining which filtering system is best for you depends upon where you live, the size of your home, your family’s health concerns, and your budget. Look for a filter that is certified using ANSI/ISF standards, such as NSF International, Underwriters Laboratories, and Water Quality Association). Also look for recommendations from the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Talk with your health practitioner about your local water supply, environmental issues, and personal needs.