Hydrate with Food

All we hear during the summer months is “Stay hydrated!” So we automatically assume to grab a glass or a bottle of water and start chugging. Well we don’t just have to drink to stay hydrated, we can eat too (yes!) No more feeling water bloated (and having to run to the bathroom all the time) this summer to just stay hydrated! Let’s look into the top 5 hydration foods to add to our everyday meals.

Cucumbers Cucumber_and_cross_section

This summer veggie has a 96.7% water content. Add cucumbers to a salad, puree it with a non-fat yogurt with some herbs and make a cucumber soon, or just dunk them in your favorite hummus. Simply adding cucumbers to a meal will help you keep hydrated.

CeleryCelery-Stalks

This stalk packs in fiber, folate, Vitamin A, C and K. 95.4% water content, celery can help us all keep hydrated when we are sweating a lot of our liquids out. Remember that rumor that celery had negative calories? Well that isn’t entirely true since it does have 6 calories per serving, but this low-calorie veg helps maintain and balance our stomach acids. A few celery stalks a day can help with blood pressure, asthma, and helps keep the urinary tract clean. Celery is a perfect beach snack to dip in peanut butter, chop into a salad, or to throw into a light tuna salad.

Radishesradishes-02

Still high up there on the water content with 95.3% ranking, radishes can pack a punch for this summer. Radishes can had a sweet and spicy flavor to any dish you make this summer. Every crunch packs on the antioxidants found in radishes. Radishes can help with sinuses, stimulates appetites, and cleanses the kidneys. A simple radish coleslaw made with olive oil and lemon juice is a perfect side dish, or radish can be garnished on any salad this summer.

Tomatoes29tomato1-superJumbo

For those of us that live in the Philadelphia area, we all know that summer time is the perfect time for Jersey Tomatoes. Tomatoes have 94.5% water content. Ripe and in season tomatoes are easy to put into any dish: putting a few slices on a sandwich for the beach, cut into wedges for a salad, or sliced and ready to eat with a little salt a pepper YUM! Not only are tomatoes a great hydrating food they contain so many vitamins and antioxidants in them. Tomatoes can also help to prevent cervix, bladder, and pancreas cancers.

Green Peppersgreen-pepper

Green for go! Load up on the green peppers at your local farmers markets and grocery stores. Though all bell peppers contain high water content the green pepper comes in at the top of the list with 93.9% water content. Green peppers make the perfect snack for anytime, on kabobs, or stuff them up with your favorite quinoa recipes. Getting your daily dose to peppers can help improve your hair, skin, and nails!

These are just 5 simple fruits and veggies that can help us keep hydrated when our water gets a little bland. They also pack in lots of nutrients and vitamins, along with other added health benefits. Remember to also make sure the kiddies that you’re spending time with keep hydrated while they are in and out of the water, building sand castles, and riding bikes. You can also add your favorite fruits, veggies, and herbs to water to add a little flavor without added sugar. Some of our favorites: cucumber and strawberry, lemon and ginger, or mint.

There are plenty of ways to stay hydrated this summer – be creative and have fun with it!

Re-New Week Day 2: Cayenne and L-Glutamine

With processed foods, chemical & artificial additives, over use of antibiotics, and stress  no wonder our gut lining is increasingly weakened. Digestive discomfort and disorders are more prevalent today than ever before. The first and foremost preventative or corrective measure is a healthy diet –  lots of vegetables, super foods, fish and lean meat (best to avoid processed foods, sugars, excess dairy, limit OTC drugs and antibiotics).

However, aside from a clean diet it is also a good idea to introduce a daily probiotic.  A probiotic is mostly healthy bacterium that reduces harmful bacteria and helps prevent infections in the digestive tract as well as reducing inflammation. It is crucial to have a healthy digestive system, as 80% percent of your immune system is located in your gut. Symptoms of digestive disorders vary, from indigestion, bloat, constipation, candida, even depression and mood swings.

Seeing how important is to keep your digestion in top shape, there are other natural aids to help support gut health. The amino acid L- Glutamine is a wonderful supplement for a healthy stomach and digestive system.  It is one of my favorites to add to smoothies for all of its wide range of health benefits.

First, L-glutamine is known to dramatically strengthen the stomach lining. It provides cells in the digestive tract with a crucial source of energy which aids in development of new cells, as well as increases the absorption capability of existing cells.  L-Glutamine helps with water absorption in the gut, which in turn aids in hydrating the entire body. Always a plus!

Aside from assisting in healthy digestion and gut repair, L-Glutamine works as an inherent neurotransmitter, aiding in healthy brain function and memory recollection. It is greatly used by athletes, as it helps to rebuild muscle while simultaneously breaks down fat.  In addition L-glutamine is known to help regulate blood sugar levels, enhance immune performance and fight infection, speed metabolism and may even decrease sugar and alcohol cravings.

The best way to take L-Glutamine is in powder form, making it readily digested. Add recommended dosage in your morning smoothie or juice and enjoy all of the wonderful health benefits it has to offer!

In addition to the daily probiotic, I added L-Glutamine to our smoothie today. I also added a serving of Spirulina, one of my favorite superfoods.    It is a micro-alga that has a high concentrate of protein, specifically made of essential amino acids.  Spirulina is great to add during our digestive restoration week, as it helps produce healthy stomach flora and  that repromote digestion. It is also has a high content of calcium, vitamins, nutrients and trace minerals, as well as iron and beta-carotene. Spirulina stimulates and boosts the immune system and detoxifies the body of pollutants and heavy metals. It is high in Chlorophyll, which purifies the blood, removing toxins from your system. Last but not least, it contains anti-inflammatory properties, may lower cholesterol, and even fight off allergies due to its histamine blocking effects.

Today’s Cucumber Melon Cayenne Smoothie contains loads of alkalizing vegetables and fruits, as well as the therapeutic spice- cayenne.    Cayenne is well-known for its digestive aid properties, among many other health benefits. It stimulates the digestive tract, which increases the flow of enzyme production, aiding is metabolizing food. It also reduces acid (very alkaline forming!), relieves gas and bloat, and helps digestion with absorption and elimination. It also aids in the digestive process by stimulating saliva. Cayenne also supports cardiovascular healthy, weight loss, natural detox, relieves joint pain and migraines, and has many anti-inflammatory, anti-allergen and ant-fungal properties. Cayenne is a great ant-flu and anti-cold agent as well, as it breaks down mucus and flushes from the body.

pepper

 

The importance of pH balance

All of our bodies have a pH level that determines the amount of acidity and alkalinity present in our system (pH balance refers to the levels in our body fluids and tissues). The acidity of foods, beverages, herbs, and spices are measured on a 14 point scale, zero being the highest amount of acidity, fourteen being the lowest, or alkaline.

Originally, alkaline is the body’s natural and pure state. However, many factors in today’s society contribute to an over acidic environment. These factors range from the abundance of processed foods, the overuse of antibiotics, the natural process of aging, and even stress. It is important for us to assist our body in creating and maintaining a healthy pH ratio of 70:30, alkaline to acid.

Most diseases, illnesses, and bad bacteria thrive in an over acidic environment. When pH levels are unbalanced, it is mostly in the case of being too acidic. This causes the body to borrow crucial minerals from organs, bones, and tissue to try and neutralize the acid and remove it from the body. Over acidity weakens all systems and can be seen in acute symptoms such as yeast/fungi overgrowth (candida among others), chronic fatigue, slow elimination, hormonal concerns, premature aging, free radical damage (may lead to cancerous mutations), weight gain, bladder and kidney damage such as kidney stones, diabetes, joint pain, and lactic acid build up.

Luckily for most of us, it is not too late to take measures and start making lifestyle changes to reduce the amount of acidity and create and maintain healthy pH levels. Even if we have a healthy ratio right now, it is just as important to maintain it through proper diet and lifestyle. Remember, preventative medicine is the best cure for all diseases!

The first step begins with diet. Below is a list of the levels of alkaline/acid foods. When in doubt about basic acid/alkaline properties of food remember that most vegetables, fruits, and herbs are alkaline forming. The most acidic foods (should be avoided) are processed flours and sugars, most dairy, soda, sugars, coffee, alcohol and harmful external toxins such as tobacco and over the counter medicine and drugs.
Refer to the charts below and use them as basic dietary guidelines.

acid-alkaline-food-chart1

“Note that a food’s acid or alkaline-forming tendency in the body has nothing to do with the actual pH of the food itself. For example, lemons are very acidic, however the end-products they produce after digestion and assimilation are very alkaline so lemons are alkaline-forming in the body. Likewise, meat
will test alkaline before digestion but it leaves very acidic residue in the body so, like nearly all animal products, meat is very acid-forming.” – http://www.naturalhealthschool.com

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Happy Re-New Week at Vincera Institute! Repair and restore with me…

Happy New Year friends!  I hope everyone is doing great and enjoyed the holidays. You may have heard Vincera Institute’s team has come together for Re-New Week through January 13-17.

If you are like a majority of us, the overindulgence of the holidays has left you dragging. You may be feeling bloated, tired, irritable, you may even be experiencing indigestion and digestive disruption.

The Happy Re-new Year cleanse will focus on restoring healthy gut flora and balancing pH levels to help rid these discomforts. Our digestive systems are often disrupted during the holidays from all of the over-indulging in rich food, alcohol, and even from being off of our normal routine. Thus we create an acidic environment, which more than likely has an overgrowth of ‘bad’ bacteria. When there is not enough of the good bacteria unpleasant symptoms and health issues occur  such as constipation, bloat, excess belly fat, moodiness, hormonal imbalances, candida, allergies, and many more.

I will be creating  fresh smoothies/juices daily that will contain healthy probiotics and supplements such as L-Glutamine to repair and regulate your digestive system, restoring the good bacteria needed to heal. They will help with bloat, acidity, inflammation, constipation, and the rebuilding a healthy flora. We will work together on creating an environment that will promote healthy digestion and overall health.

I’ll be giving daily tips and suggestions on supplements and foods to incorporate to maintain a healthy gut and pH levels.

healthy-gut1

We will also focus on balancing  pH levels by introducing more alkalizing foods and supplements.  I will guide you in neutralizing the highly acidic environment caused from rich foods, sugars, alcohol consumption, stress, and/or simply from going off of your daily eating rituals during the hectic holiday season.

Many people underestimate the importance of a healthy digestive system and stomach flora. Not only is it crucial for nutrient absorption and proper waste elimination, but did you know that 80% of your immune system is located in your gut?  It is only when we have healthy digestion that we can experience optimal health and vitality, physically and mentally.

Vincera has amazing offers and events going on, from yoga to acupuncture to massage therapy. Learn more details here.

Join me for a week of restorative smoothies and guidance for a healthy gut and digestive system. Get that belly back in shape, gain energy, and nix those mood swings and irritability.

Details: $45 a person. 1 restorative smoothie a day for 5 days. Sign up via email or in person at The Galley.  Please let me know in advance if you will be picking up smoothie in am/pm.