Humble H2O is essential to optimal health

If ever there were a magic potion for health and weight loss, water would be it. It is the body’s most non-negotiable nutrient.

Next to oxygen, pure water is the most vital factor to life. Our bodies are made up of around 75% water and every cell, organ and system requires water to function properly.

It plays an integral role in nearly every biological process in the body. We need it for so many functions from controlling our body’s thermostat for blood pressure regulation, helping distribute nutrients to every cell to taking out the trash.

Water is so crucial that we can’t live for more than a few days without it, making it an even more important nutrient than food. Without water, the blood thickens and the body’s enzymatic processes get bogged down. If you refrain from drinking water over a few days the blood gets so gluggy that the body’s inner workings come to a rapid stop. After that, odds of survival are grim.

While you never want to be in such a dire situation, it’s not uncommon for many typical health problems and diseases to erupt due to insufficient hydration. Headaches, irritability and constipation are just a few of the more obvious conditions that indicate dehydration where the body needs more H2O.

Some telltale signs of dehydration include:
– Little or no urine, or urine that is darker than usual
– Dry, sticky mouth
– Sleepiness or fatigue
– Extreme thirst
– Confusion
– Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
– No tears when crying

Here are some more reasons why you want to ensure you are drinking enough water:
– Water supports weight loss by naturally suppressing appetite and helping body metabolize stored fat
– It aids in detoxification, helping the kidneys and liver rid the body of excess waste
– Is a natural laxative, maintaining proper bowel function
– Is a natural diuretic, key to reducing fluid retention
– Prevents dehydration
– Helps to maintain proper muscle tone
– Helps to cushion joints
– Aids in immune support, helping the body resist sickness

Tips for staying hydrated

– Keep a bottle of water with you during the day. Consider carrying a reusable or filtered aluminium water bottle and filling it from the tap rather than purchasing bottled water, which is expensive and creates plastic bottle waste.
– Add some fresh fruit, berries, herbs or even cucumber to give your water some flavour
– Drink water before, during and after exercise.
– Start and end your day with a glass of water.
– When you’re feeling hungry, drink water. The sensation of thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied by drinking water. Drinking water may also contribute to a healthy weight loss plan, as some research suggests drinking water will help you feel full.
– Drink on a schedule if you have trouble remembering to drink water. 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 top of each hour.
– Drink water when you go to a restaurant. Not only does it keep you hydrated, but you’ll eat less too. Not to mention it’s also free!

Water is one of the most basic needs for our body; keeping it your body hydrated with fresh, clean water is one of the easiest and best things you can do for your health. Drink up!

Image:  Pixabay

Herbs and spices give metabolism a good kick

Fight those extra pounds by ditching “carbage” which is a fabulous trendy word meaning ‘carbohydrate garbage’. It refers to all the high starch foods such as the main five whites – white rice, pasta, bread, potatoes, sugar and we’ll even throw salt into the mix! By eliminating these low nutritional foods from your diet and incorporating blood sugar-stabilizing spices at every meal your energy will soar while the needle on the scales will head in an anti-clockwise direction. We love that!

Once you’ve said goodbye to the white culprits you can then say hello to this gorgeous colored, spicy and tasty lot:

Cayenne pepper – this certainly brings some heat with it to meals and it can also melt away fat and suppress appetite. Capsaicin, the compound that gives peppers their heat, may help fight obesity by decreasing calorie intake, shrinking fat tissue, and lowering blood fat levels, as well as fight fat buildup by triggering beneficial protein changes in your body. Part of the benefit may be due to capsaicin’s heat potential, as it is a thermogenic substance that may temporarily increase thermogenesis in your body, where your body burns fuel such as fat to create heat, with beneficial impacts on metabolism and fat storage.

Turmeric – Turmeric is the gorgeous yellow-orange spice that forms the foundation of many curry dishes. Curcumin is an active ingredient of turmeric and it’s also the most thoroughly studied. It reduces the formation of fat tissue by suppressing the blood vessels needed to form it, and therefore may be a contributing factor for lower body fat and body weight gain. Studies have shown that turmeric increases the flow of bile in the stomach which helps to break down fat. Another way turmeric aids in weight loss is it helps fight insulin resistance and controls sugar levels. This not only keeps you from retaining extra fat but lowers your chances of developing diabetes. If you already have diabetes; it helps you control your glucose numbers.

Research has also shown that curcumin improves insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, and other inflammatory symptoms associated with obesity and metabolic disorders. It just takes one teaspoon of turmeric before each meal to help your digestion break down the fat that can cause you to gain weight.

Cinnamon – reduces blood sugar and LDL cholesterol. This is the bad cholesterol of the two. High LDL levels put you at greater risk for a heart attack from a sudden blood clot in an artery narrowed by atherosclerosis. Studies show that cinnamon can boost metabolism and increase insulin levels, lowering the chance of pre-diabetes. So add a teaspoon of cinnamon and throw in a clove in your next coffee!

Piperine – This common household condiment is better known as pepper and can boost metabolism through its main component, piperine. Not only does black pepper improve digestion, it also helps burn fat at a faster rate. In fact, black pepper can use up the same amount of calories that you would burn on a 20-minute walk. Grind away!

Dandelion – Dandelions cleanse the body and slow digestion, making you feel full longer. Dandelions also rank in the top four vegetables for nutritional value, according to the USDA. Spruce up your salad with some flower power.

Mustard – Who knew mustard is actually a great weight-loss tool?

Apparently, a spread of this tasty stuff can assist in your weight loss goals as it can boost your metabolism, which makes you burn fat faster. Since mustard has zero carbs and zero fat content, making it part of your diet can go a long way in promoting weight loss.

Ginger – Studies show that ginger can suppress appetite, aid digestion, remove toxins and raise the temperature of the body to boost metabolism. Who knew it had so many powers?

Panax Ginseng – This root-like looking herb gives spark to your metabolism, helping you get rid of the fat accumulated in the problematic and burning calories faster. You may have them as pills or even put extracts in your tea, making it into a good weight loss herbal tea.

Cardamom – It is one of the most flavorful Indian spices commonly added to many desserts and spicy foods. It has the ability to boost your digestive system that prevents the formation of gas that bloats up your stomach instantly.

Garlic – This herb comes with magical healing properties, which helps in treating cardiovascular conditions, improves your immune system and curing a common cold to even fighting fatal cancer. Garlic contains a special compound called allicin that suppresses hunger pangs and boosts metabolism. It can keep vampires away and fat too!

Guggul – (Commiphora mukul) – This is a popular herb used in Ayurveda. Guggul is frequently recommended by Ayurvedic practitioners for weight control, in addition, to use in lowering cholesterol.

All of the above spices and herbs for weight loss mentioned are widely used in our kitchens, but when we are unaware of their amazing abilities we can overlook using them as much as we could. I mean how about whipping up a turmeric salad dressing or a ginseng and ginger tea? Dieting doesn’t have to be bland and by incorporating these super amazing spices into your recipes, no meal you make ever be labelled that.

Image:  Pixabay