Learn how to Stay Properly Hydrated This Summer

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Learn how to Stay Properly Hydrated This Summer

The hottest days of summer are here – be sure to stay hydrated!

Drinking water is essential for hydration anytime of the year, however during the very hot summer days you will be losing a significant amount of fluid as your body works hard to regulate your temperature.

Sweat is made of water and also several electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

Therefore it is important to replace these electrolytes as well – not just water!

You can make your own natural electrolyte formula (homemade “Gatorade”) at home using ingredients from your kitchen.

 

·      Add 1 litre of water or your favourite herbal tea (chilled) to a pitcher

·      Add 1/3 cup of freshly squeezed citrus juice (orange or grapefruit is yummy) to the pitcher

·      In a mug, add a few tablespoons of warm water to easily dissolve the following:

o   1/8 teaspoon salt

o   2 tablespoons of honey

·      Add the contents of the mug to the pitcher, stir well, and voila! Your own “homemade Gatorade”!

 

Adjust the recipe to your taste. The salt provides the necessary sodium while the citrus juice provides potassium, magnesium, and other electrolytes which are essential to sweat formation.

Drink as needed throughout hot days. Enjoy!

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Getting a Good Night's Rest is Key to Weight Loss and Health

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Getting a Good Night's Rest is Key to Weight Loss and Health

Can you believe how quickly time flies? We are already several weeks into the New Year (Happy New Year!) and the big thing on many people’s minds is “jeez I have already bailed on my resolutions!”. If this isn’t you – congratulations! If it is don’t despair, you are amongst the majority and with some goal setting and coaching, you will get where you want to be by the end of the year.

For most people the New Year is when they plan to get healthier and that often involves weight loss. Everyone knows that in order to lose weight your caloric intake must be lower than your caloric expenditure. However there are a few other factors at play and one of them is hormonal balance achieved by something we spend a significant portion of our lives doing… sleeping!

It may seem counterintuitive that sleeping will help you lose weight. I get questions like “aren’t I just resting and decreasing my metabolic rate?”.  Well yes, it is true that when you sleep your metabolism decreases to a rest state however so many other important processes take place when you are sleeping which help to prevent over-eating and balance your hormones during the day.

There is mounting evidence from both mouse models and human studies that chronic sleep loss increases the risk of obesity and weight gain.

Sleep restriction has been shown to have to following effects:

  • decreased glucose tolerance leading to increased levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood stream which is a risk factor for mortality
  • decreased insulin sensitivity which means when sugar is in your blood stream your cells are less efficient using the hormone insulin to get sugar into your cells
  • increased evening concentrations of cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that over extended periods of time signals the body to increase blood sugar levels, store fat particularly around the belly area, and breakdown muscle
  • increased levels of ghrelin AKA the hunger hormone
  • decreased levels of leptin AKA the satiety hormone
  • increased hunger and appetite

Häggström, Mikael. "Medical gallery of Mikael Häggström 2014". Wikiversity Journal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.008. ISSN 20018762.

 

A more recent study showed that even our intestinal bacterial cells have a circadian rhythm and if we have a disrupted sleep cycle, such as those with shift work, it can predispose us to dysbiosis! The unhappy bacteria then can cause endocrine changes which further leads to… you guessed it… weight gain.

Therefore if you are looking to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle you must aim for 7½ to 8 hours of sleep per night.

For now I suggest you make a goal for the next 30 days to do the following to improve your sleep:

  1. Turn off all screens at least 2 hours before bed and sleep in a completely dark room since light causes your suprachiasmatic nucleus (the part of your brain responsible for your circadian rhythm) to signal a decrease melatonin output which will impair your ability to fall asleep and your quality of sleep
  2. Stop eating at least 3 hours before bed time – digesting food during sleep does not allow for a rejuvenating rest. If you are truly hungry before bed have a small amount of protein and/or fat  (e.g. 10 almonds) to ensure your blood sugar is stable and low blood sugar doesn’t wake you up
  3. No caffeine after noon – you would be surprised how many people are in denial that they are caffeine sensitive! Are you one of them?

Book an appointment with me if you need to work on improving your sleep and/or have had difficultly with weight loss in the past. We can look into your medical history in detail to find out what is the root cause of your sleep disturbance and put together a plan to get those 8 hours of sleep!

Yours in health,

 

Nicole Bobala, ND

 

 

 

Leproult, Rachel, and Eve Van Cauter. "Role of sleep and sleep loss in hormonal release and metabolism." (2009): 11-21.

Sawamoto, R., T. Nozaki, T. Furukawa, T. Tanahashi, C. Morita, T. Hata, G. Komaki, and N. Sudo. "Higher sleep fragmentation predicts a lower magnitude of weight loss in overweight and obese women participating in a weight-loss intervention." Nutrition & diabetes 4, no. 10 (2014): e144.

Thaiss, Christoph A., David Zeevi, Maayan Levy, Gili Zilberman-Schapira, Jotham Suez, Anouk C. Tengeler, Lior Abramson et al. "Transkingdom control of microbiota diurnal oscillations promotes metabolic homeostasis." Cell 159, no. 3 (2014): 514-529.

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Have a cough? Try honey!

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Have a cough? Try honey!

I was talking to a friend of mine recently who asked “what is the best over-the-counter medicine I can give my child or even myself when I get the common cough?”. You may be surprised by my answer! It was, of course, nature’s tasty antibacterial substance – honey!

It isn’t just honey’s antimicrobial properties that make it so great for a sore throat or cough but also its ability to coat mucous membranes and create a protective barrier.

Science has even backed up the traditional wisdom to give honey to soothe a cough. There have been several studies using honey as a cough remedy and one of the best designed ones was a clinical trial where 139 children aged 24-60 months with coughs were assigned randomly to one of 4 groups. The first group received honey, the second one dextromethorphan (AKA Robotussin/NyQuil/Benylin), the third diphenhydramine (AKA Benadryl), and the fourth group was the control group. The study found that “receiving a 2.5ml [1/2 teaspoon] dose of honey before sleep has a more alleviating effect on upper respiratory-induced cough compared with the over-the-counter medications”!

A 2014 systematic review by the highly respected Cochrane Group even discredited the multi-billion dollar cough suppressant industry by demonstrating that they are not very useful and even potentially harmful:

We found no good evidence for or against the effectiveness of OTC [over-the-counter] medications in acute cough. Nineteen studies reported adverse effects of these medications and described infrequent, mainly minor side effects such as nausea, vomiting, headache and drowsiness”.

Therefore since the evidence clearly shows that honey is better or equal in effectiveness to over-the-counter drugs, doesn’t it make sense to go with the cheaper and healthier option, honey?

I would say so!

So next time you or your child develops a cough, try using honey for its cough-soothing effects. To use honey for a cough you can simply dose ½-1 teaspoon just before bed or:

·      Give half a teaspoon for a child and a teaspoon for an adult, as needed

·      Stay hydrated! Ideally lots of tea (decaffeinated for children) sweetened with honey and add lemon for its high vitamin C content

 

Lastly, keep in mind that coughing is not an inherently bad thing. Our bodies use this mechanism to expel viruses, bacteria, and waste from our lungs. Which means it is okay to let yourself or your child to cough it out during the day and then get a good night’s rest by using honey to soothe the cough.

As always, don’t forget to cough into your shoulder or inner arm to help prevent spread of pathogens!

Yours in health,

Nicole Bobala, ND

 

P.S. Do not give honey to children less than one year of age as there is a very slight risk of botulism toxin exposure which their young immune systems are unable to handle

P.P.S. If you or your child has any of the following then be sure to visit your primary care physician (Naturopathic or otherwise): a prolonged and worsening cough, wheezing, and/or high fever

 

 

Shadkam, Mahmood Noori, Hassan Mozaffari-Khosravi, and Mohammad Reza Mozayan. "A comparison of the effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and diphenhydramine on nightly cough and sleep quality in children and their parents." The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 16.7 (2010): 787-793.

Smith, Susan M., Knut Schroeder, and Tom Fahey. "Over‐the‐counter (OTC) medications for acute cough in children and adults in community settings." The Cochrane Library (2014).

 

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Coming soon!

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Coming soon!

Welcome to my brand-new website! I can't wait to share information on the latest research and trends in medicine. I will be posting soon. 

All the best in the meantime!

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