My food day.

There is a lot of press around these days about what you should and should not eat. Warnings about the levels of fat, or salt, or sugar or whatever else may have some negative effects; maybe. I will absolutely not argue that a diet of wine, cheese and processed meats is not great for you. What I will argue however is that there are benefits other than the easily measurable physiological ones. The joy of eating a grilled cheese sandwich, or some chocolate for instance; will leave you feeling happy. Something that has a high level of value, for me anyway. That isn’t to say that I don’t think you should try to be healthy with your food, just that there are more things to think about.

I eat a very small amount of red meat during the week in general, in part because of living on my own and the difficulty in getting reasonable portions for one person. But I have no issue in eating red meat, in fact I enjoy it greatly. Every Saturday my parents come around for chilli con carne, which of course contains beef.

Below is an example of a typical day’s food for me.

Breakfast

Smoked salmon and cream cheese on crumpets.

A glass of fruit juice and a cup of coffee.

Lunch

I rarely eat much for lunch when I’m not at work, I’ll usually stick to something quick and simple such as Soup and crusty bread.

Dinner

If I only had a small meal at lunch time then I will have something more substantial for dinner. Some sort of pasta dish is common, often with some variety of fish.

Snacks

I do of course get hungry between meals on occasion, and although I do like things such as chocolate I try to avoid eating them too often.

One of my favourite go to snacks is houmous with either carrot sticks or sugarsnap peas.

This is just an example of what I would eat on any given day. I’m not saying it is the best diet, nor is it something that would work for everybody. It just happens to work for me.

I think the best thing for anyone to do when looking at their diet is to pay attention to what your body is telling you. The recommended diet is designed for the average person, and in my experience the average person doesn’t exist. Eat and drink what you like, in moderation. If you notice yourself putting on some unwanted weight, change things. The same if you find you are not feeling well, or if your physical performance is suffering.

No one knows your body better than you.

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Green tea. Is it better than water?

Green tea has many of the same benefits as water, which you can read about here: The benefits of water according to science. But, it also has many other benefits.

Many of the plant compounds found in the tea leaves make it into the final drink, these compounds contain many important nutrients.

There are large amounts of catechins, which are natural antioxidants that help prevent cell damage as well as providing other benefits.
EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) is found in green tea, and has been found to treat a number of diseases.

Green tea, like all teas, contains caffeine; this is known to increase brain function. Where caffeine has been shown to increase conditions such as anxiety in some, the amino acid L-theanine is known to reduce it. Green tea contains large amounts of this important amino acid, which negates this potential downside of caffeine.

The combination of caffeine and L-theanine has been proven to have synergistic effects. The combination of the two being particularly potent at improving brain function.

Much like water, green tea is known to aid in fat reduction. It has the added benefit of the physical performance improvement gained by the caffeine.

So, if you are after a healthy drink that is not just plain old water. Give green tea a try.

The benefits of water. According to science.

The human body is roughly 60% water. The common recommendation is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. This particular figure does not have a great deal of science behind it, staying hydrated is however important.

Here are a selection of evidence-based health benefits of staying hydrated.

Maximum physical performance.

Physical performance can suffer greatly from a lack of hydration.

During intense exercise or while exercising in high heat this is even more the case.

Losing as little as 2% of your body’s water content can have a noticeable effect on you. It is not uncommon for athletes to lose anywhere up to 10% of their water weight through sweating, therefore adequate hydration is vital.

Even though the body as a whole is 60% water, muscle is around 80%, so water intake is far more important when the muscles are being worked hard.

Help with weight loss.

Drinking half a litre of water has been shown to increase metabolism by 24-30% for up to an hour and a half after drinking it.

That means that drinking 2 litres of water a day can up your energy expenditure by almost 100 calories per day.

Drinking water half an hour before a meal has been shown to decrease the the amount of food you eat at meal times by making you feel fuller. In one study, dieters who drank half a litre of water before meals lost an average of 44% more weight over the course of 12 weeks.

For the biggest benefit, water should be drunk cold. This way the body burns more calories to heat the water to body temperature.

Brain function.

Fluid loss of as little as 1.3% has been shown to impair brain function. Especially affected are concentration and mood. Other studies have shown that similar levels of fluid loss have had a detrimental affect on working memory and increased feelings of fatigue and anxiety.

Loss levels this low are to be expected in just day to day life, if putting high heat and exercise into the mix it is clear that improper hydration can have big effects on your health.

Further reading.

Below are some links to some of the studies and evidence mentioned in this post.

NCBI – Hydration and physical performance

NCBI – Water, Hydration and health

NCBI – Dehydration influences mood and cognition

NCBI – water induced thermogenesis

Nutrition.org – Healthy hydration guide