Prevention

Saturday, 10 March 2018 21:05

Can Probiotics Affect our Moods and Stress? Yes!

Written by
What do you do when your mood is off or you’re stressed to the max?

  Eat ice cream?  Binge watch Netflix?  Call your bestie?

  After reading this article, you may consider yogurt, a handful of walnuts, or maybe even some dark chocolate as your go-to mood-boosters and stress-busters.

Today, we’ll unpack some of the exciting (and preliminary) new research about the link between your gut health and moods/stress. 
We’ll talk about your friendly resident gut microbes (mostly bacteria), probiotic foods and supplements, as well as foods to feed those gut microbes and probiotics (aka “prebiotics”). 

WHAT THE HECK ARE “GUT MICROBES?  ”

Oh, our friendly “gut microbes.” 

They are the trillions of microbes that happily live in our gut. They help us by digesting foods, making vitamins, and even protecting us from the not-so-friendly microbes that may get in there.

Believe it or not, these friendly microbes have mood-boosting and stress-busting functions too!

FUN FACT: There are more microbes
FUN FACT: There are more microbes inside our gut than all of the human cells that make us. Yup, we’re more than half microbe! So, how can they NOT impact our health?

It’s a hotbed of research right now and we’re finding out more about their awesome health, and mood/stress benefits every day.

And, while the research is just starting to figure out the many gut microbe-brain connections, it’s such a cool new topic that I couldn’t wait to share it with you!

GUT MICROBES AND PROBIOTICS

The microbes that live in our guts are known as our “gut microbiota”. 
 
The microbes that we can ingest are known as “probiotics”.

“Probiotics” are live organisms that you can eat, drink, or take as a supplement. They’re what turn milk into yogurt, and cabbage into sauerkraut; and they are great for both your gut health and mental health.

Special probiotics that have mental health benefits are called “psychobiotics,” (psycho = mental health, and biotics = live). They’re live organisms that can benefit our psyche.

So, what’s the link between gut microbes, probiotics, and moods/stress?

  BAD MOODS/STRESS CAN MEAN BAD MICROBES

.  Stress can affect our friendly gut microbes.

 Several studies show that stressed rodents not only have increased stress hormones and stressed behaviours; but, they also have different gut microbes!

And this has been studied, to a small extent, in people too.

 One study showed that moms with high levels of stress hormones during pregnancy had infants with more of the “bad” gut microbes. 

But, can it work the other way around? Can changing our gut microbes affect our moods and stress responses?

Studies of rodents that grow up without any gut microbes at all (in a “bacteria-free” environment) respond to stress more than mice with normal gut microbes. Then, when they’re given either a probiotic or gut microbes from non-stressed mice, their stress responses often go back to normal.

The gut microbe, probiotic, and mood/stress connections are starting to get interesting, aren’t they?

  BAD MICROBES CAN MEAN BAD MOODS

“Gut microbiota and probiotics alter behavior and brain neurochemistry.” (Ait-Belgnaoui, et. al., 2012)

That’s a pretty powerful statement, don’tcha think?

Many animal studies show positive effects on behaviour when they get probiotic supplements.

For example, after a probiotic, stressed rats had lower levels of both stress hormones and an inflammatory molecule associated with depression (“LPS” - lipopolysaccharide).
 
 
One fascinating study showed that when people took probiotics, brain MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) tests showed reduced brain activity for negative and aggressive thoughts!

So, as you can see, there is some exciting research on the positive effect that probiotics can have on moods and stress.
 
You might be wondering how exactly your gut can influence your moods...
 
HOW IS THIS GUT-BRAIN CONNECTION POSSIBLE?
 
It may not seem obvious or intuitive, but your body is interconnected in many ways.
 
And more and more research is figuring out the “microbiota-gut-brain axis.” It’s the very complex connection between your gut, its microbes, and your brain.
 
This new field has been called a “paradigm shift in neuroscience” (Dinan, 2017).
 
In fact, there are a number of ways that we’re beginning to understand how our gut microbes can affect our brain.
 
One is via the “vagus” nerve, which is a nerve that directly connects your gut to your brain. 
 
The other ways are through “biochemical messengers.” Biochemicals that are made in your gut and travel through the body to communicate with other parts, including your brain. Biochemicals like short chain fatty acids, cytokines, and even tryptophan (the amino acid that the neurotransmitters melatonin and serotonin are made from).
 
The exciting thing is that this may help us with not only moods and stress, but the microbiota-gut-brain axis may one day prove to be helpful for other conditions like autism and Parkinson’s.
 
So, your trillions of gut microbes seem to be more closely interconnected with our moods than we used to think.

So, what can you do to nurture your own healthy gut microbes?
 
HOW TO NURTURE HEALTHY GUT MICROBES - PROBIOTICS
 
First, eat (and drink) probiotics. 
 
Probiotics can be eaten in yogurt, sauerkraut (and other fermented veggies), miso, tempeh, and kimchi. You can drink them in kefir or kombucha. Be sure to choose unpasteurized ones that will be refrigerated in your local grocer. 

Of course, there are a number of probiotic supplements available too. Look for one that’s refrigerated and has at least 10 billion active cultures. I also suggest you look for one that has been “third party tested,” which means someone outside the company has tested it and says it’s a quality product.

  Oh, and always read the label before taking any supplements.

 The probiotics with the most research are of the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus types. But we still don’t know enough about the psychobiotic effects to make specific mood-boosting recommendations...just yet.
 
HOW TO NURTURE HEALTHY GUT MICROBES - PREBIOTICS
 
Second, consider that our resident gut microbes don’t just live inside us to help us - they get something out of the deal too.

Food!

PREbiotics are “compounds that, when fermented in the gut, produce specific changes in bacterial composition or activity”. They are your friendly gut microbes’ favourite delicacies so they’ll happily grow, and multiply. 
 
Prebiotics are basically foods that contain fibre. Things like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Even dark chocolate (preferably with at least 70% cocoa).
 
Giving animals prebiotics can reduce stress hormones and anxiety-related behaviours.
, and in people, studies show that taking psychobiotic's along with prebiotics can improve both the microbes in our gut, as well as our mood. 
 
How amazing is that?

CONCLUSION

The science behind interactions of gut microbes and mental health is still new and ongoing. Much of it is in rodents, with a few studies in people. Some show interesting links and promising potential to help with moods and other areas of mental and brain health.
 
CONCLUSION

:  The science behind interactions of gut microbes and mental health is still new and ongoing. Much of it is in rodents, with a few studies in people. Some show interesting links and promising potential to help with moods and other areas of mental and brain health.
 
More research, especially in humans, is needed; so I’ll be on the lookout for new studies in this young and promising area of mood-boosting and stress-busting nutrition.

What if one day we were able to help mental health by fixing gut health? What an amazing, and less moody, a world that could be!
 
Try eating more probiotics like in yogurt, kefir, miso, kimchi, and kombucha. Consider taking probiotic supplements (making sure you read the label and follow directions).
 
And don’t forget their favourite foods called prebiotics. Those are in fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds (and even dark chocolate). 
 
Optimize your gut for more than just gut health, but mood-boosting and stress-busting too.
 
Buh bye blah moods.
 
REFERENCES
 
Ait-Belgnaoui, A., Durand, H., Cartier, C., Chaumaz, G., Eutamene, H., Ferrier, L., Houdeau, E., Fioramonti, J., Bueno, L. & Theodorou, V. (2012). Prevention of gut leakiness by a probiotic treatment leads to attenuated HPA response to an acute psychological stress in rats. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 37(11):1885-95. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2012.03.024.
LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22541937
 
Bailey, M.T., Dowd, S.E., Galley, J.D., et al. (2011). Exposure to a social stressor alters the structure of the intestinal microbiota: implications for stressor-induced immunomodulation. Brain Behav Immun. 25(3):397–407.
 
Bharwani A, Mian MF, Foster JA, et al. (2016). Structural & functional consequences of chronic psychosocial stress on the microbiome & host. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 63:217–227.
 
Cryan, J.F. (2016). Stress and the Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis: An Evolving Concept in Psychiatry. 
Can J Psychiatry. 61(4):201-3. doi: 10.1177/0706743716635538. 
LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4794959/
 
De Palma, G., Blennerhassett, P., Lu, J., Deng, Y., Park, A.J., Green, W., Denou, E., Silva, M.A., Santacruz, A., Sanz, Y., Surette, M.G., Verdu, E.F., Collins, S.M. & Bercik, P. (2015). Microbiota and host determinants of behavioural phenotype in maternally separated mice. Nat Commun. 2015 Jul 28;6:7735. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8735.
LINK:  http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms8735
 
Dinan, T.G. & Cryan, J.F. (2016). Mood by microbe: towards clinical translation. Genome Med. 8(1):36. doi: 10.1186/s13073-016-0292-1.
LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4822287/

Dinan TG1, Cryan JF. (2017). The Microbiome-Gut-Brain Axis in Health and Disease. Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2017 Mar;46(1):77-89. doi: 10.1016/j.gtc.2016.09.007.
 
Kelly, J. R., Kennedy, P. J., Cryan, J. F., Dinan, T. G., Clarke, G., & Hyland, N. P. (2015). Breaking down the barriers: the gut microbiome, intestinal permeability and stress-related psychiatric disorders. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 9, 392. 
 
Messaoudi, M., Lalonde, R., Violle, N., Javelot, H., Desor, D., Nejdi, A., Bisson, J.F., Rougeot, C., Pichelin, M., Cazaubiel, M. & Cazaubiel, J.M. (2011). Assessment of psychotropic-like properties of a probiotic formulation (Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175) in rats and human subjects. Br J Nutr. 105(5):755-64. doi: 10.1017/S0007114510004319.
LINK:  https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/div-classtitleassessment-of-psychotropic-like-properties-of-a-probiotic-formulation-span-classitaliclactobacillus-helveticusspan-r0052-and-span-classitalicbifidobacterium-longumspan-r0175-in-rats-and-human-subjectsdiv/2BD9977C6DB7EA40FC9FFA1933C024EA/core-reader
 
O’Mahony, S.M., Marchesi, J.R., Scully, P., et al. (2009). Early life stress alters behavior, immunity, and microbiota in rats: implications for irritable bowel syndrome and psychiatric illnesses. Biol Psychiatry. 65(3):263–267.
 
Rea, K., Dinan, T.G. & Cryan, J.F. (2016). The microbiome: A key regulator of stress and neuroinflammation. Neurobiol Stress. 4:23-33.
LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5146205/
 
Rieder, R., Wisniewski, P.J., Alderman, B.L. & Campbell, S.C. (2017). Microbes and mental health: A review. Brain Behav Immun. 2017 Jan 25. pii: S0889-1591(17)30016-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2017.01.016. 
LINK:  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889159117300168
 
Romijn, A.R. & Rucklidge, J.J. (2015). Systematic review of evidence to support the theory of psychobiotics. Nutr Rev. 73(10):675-93. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuv025. 
LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26370263
 
Sarkar, A., Lehto, S.M., Harty, S., Dinan, T.G., Cryan, J.F. & Burnet, P.W. (2016). Psychobiotics and the Manipulation of Bacteria-Gut-Brain Signals. Trends Neurosci. 39(11):763-781. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2016.09.002.
LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5102282/
 
Sender, R., Fuchs, S. & Milo, R. (2016). Revised Estimates for the Number of Human and Bacteria Cells in the Body. PLoS Biol 14(8): e1002533. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1002533
 
Sherwin, E., Sandhu, K.V., Dinan, T.G. & Cryan, J.F. (2016). May the Force Be With You: The Light and Dark Sides of the Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis in Neuropsychiatry. CNS Drugs. 2016 Nov;30(11):1019-1041. doi: 10.1007/s40263-016-0370-3
LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5078156/
 
Steenbergen, L., Sellaro, R., van Hemert, S., Bosch, J.A. & Colzato, L.S. (2015). A randomized controlled trial to test the effect of multispecies probiotics on cognitive reactivity to sad mood.
Brain Behav Immun. 48:258-64. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2015.04.003.
LINK:  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889159115000884
 
Zijlmans, M.A., Korpela, K., Riksen-Walraven, J.M., de Vos, W.M. & de Weerth, C. (2015).  Maternal prenatal stress is associated with the infant intestinal microbiota. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2015 Mar;53:233-45. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.01.006.
LINK:  http://www.psyneuen-journal.com/article/S0306-4530(15)00020-7/abstract
 
 
Monday, 02 January 2017 14:05

3 Ways to Get Back on Track to Healthier Eating

Written by
3 Ways To Get Back On Track To Healthy Eating
 
 
Feeling bad about overeating on the holiday? Don’t worry about it! It’s good to indulge every once in a while – everything in moderation, including moderation! The trick now is to get back on track as soon as possible and return to your normal healthy routine.
One day of over doing it can send your hormones and metabolism into a tizzy as it tries to process the onslaught of calories. This can directly affect the hormone insulin because the pancreas goes into overdrive to break down the excess blood sugar. This can leave you with a food hangover- and with symptoms like drowsiness, dizziness, and an unsettled stomach.
Another hormone that becomes messed up is leptin. When you overeat, your body is unable to recognize when it is legitimately full and it is harder to feel satiated. Occasionally, this can actually work to your benefit because higher leptin levels lead your body to think it is lacking food and can cause the release of fat from cells to provide energy.
We should see how many calories there are in a holiday meal.
May I present the average Christmas dinner- turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, pie, ice cream, and wine- you are looking at about 2,500 calories and more than 100 g of fat! And that is without going for seconds!
Like I said, it is okay to overdo it from time to time, if you know how to get back on track. Here are some “day after” tips for you to try:
 
1. Eat some Salad
Do yourself a favour and buy a large package of the pre-washed baby lettuce greens and whip up a large batch of salad dressing. If you make it easier on yourself, by having the ingredients on hand and ready to go, you might feel more compelled to eat a healthy lunch and dinner. To complete the meal using the greens, add a hard-boiled egg or some lean protein – like white turkey meat or chevre (goat cheese). Top your big salad with some grated carrot and then sprinkle on some pumpkin seeds.
 
2. Drink some tea
Holiday meals, though delicious, can also be salty. High-sodium foods can cause weight gain and register as increased poundage on the scale – all because of water retention. Weight gain from water retention is temporary because your kidneys can flush excess sodium from your body. One way to jumpstart this process is by drinking a detox tea that is designed to get things moving. I like the effect of dandelion tea because it flushes out the excess sodium and also improves transit time – meaning your colon will also be flushed – and then you can flush the toilet! Healthy elimination is the first step to getting rid of toxins and losing excess fat.
 
3. Go for a walk
Chances are your exercise routine was put on hold over the holiday too! While you might not want to get out and move it after dinner (what with the turkey coma and all), going for a walk the next day can give you the motivation you need to get back on track with your exercise program. It is a wonderful time of year to get out to see the snow covered trees and hear the crunch of the snow beneath your feet, de-stress, and appreciate nature with its fresh crisp air.
 
That’s it – 3 simple steps to return to healthy eating– salads, tea, and walking. Getting and staying on track is important in balancing hormones, losing weight and feeling great. 
Saturday, 24 December 2016 14:59

6 Ways to Avoid the Winter Flu

Written by
Avoid Sugar
Sugar decreases the function of your immune system almost immediately, and as you likely know, a strong immune system is key to fighting off viruses and other illness, including the flu. It is especially imperative to avoid sugar if you feel you are coming down with something, but keeping sugar out of your diet for the long haul will do wonders for your health and make your body stronger, which will make it harder for the flu to bother you.
 
Get Enough Rest
Just like it becomes harder for you to get your daily tasks done if you’re tired, if your body is overly fatigued it will be harder for it to fight the flu. 
 
Eat Garlic Regularly
Garlic is a triple-whammy: it’s antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal. Garlic is one food that you should be eating every day. 
 
Don’t Let Stress Become Overwhelming
We all face some stress every day, but if stress becomes overwhelming then your body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illness. It has been estimated that up to 90 percent of illness and disease is stress-related.
 
Exercise
When you exercise you increase your circulation and your blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of fighting an illness before it has a chance to spread. In a sense, exercising helps your immune system to be more efficient in weeding out and acting upon viruses and diseases. 
 
Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. If your immune system is strong, it should be able to fight off the virus if it does enter your body, but washing your hands provides a bit of extra protection.
Monday, 23 November 2015 18:54

Echinacea and Vitamin C- Do they work?

Written by

This is the time of year when everyone is rushing out to get the Flu shot. Doctor's offices are filled with people who are scared of getting sick. Getting a needle is much easier than changing your diet and making healthier choices…right?

Your immune system works hard for your 24/7, 365 days per year. It doesn’t get a break or a chance to take a vacation. Are you doing what you can to support your hard working immune system?

Ever wondered how your immune system actually works and what specific foods or nutrients can strengthen it. I can tell you one thing for sure…all the Vitamin C and Echinacea in the world won’t do it!

Grab a cup of Green Tea and read the story of your good ol’ immune system.

The immune centres of your body are located in the tonsils, thymus, spleen, and bone marrow. These are like the army command stations housing the first line of defense soldiers ready to fight against the enemy invaders (bacteria).

From these command centres the soldiers (immune cells) cruise around your body, looking for the enemy invaders. The evil enemies are foreign bodies or antigens commonly disguised as viruses, bacteria and even pollen. 

When the enemy (disease) is found by your army of immune cells, the method of attack depends both on the disease and on the particular immune cell.

Phagocytes, a type of white blood cell, are the front line killers and are sent to engulf, absorb, or eat the enemy invaders. Phagocytes make the enemy disappear by consuming the dead cells and play an important role in allowing the war wounds to heal.

Lymphocytes, second in command, attack and destroy the disease enemy by creating antibodies and tag the cell with an antigen to be attacked later should there be another enemy invasion.

After defeating a particular disease, the lymphocytes will keep a profile of the enemy and remember the disease throughout your life. Should it appear again, they will quickly eliminate it.

The memory effect of immune cells is the premise behind vaccines. A vaccine injects weakened antigens into the body so your immune system can practice remembering and attacking this weakened form of defense.

Vaccines are effective because whenever the same type of enemy disease enter your body; your immune system draws upon its memory to send out second in command lymphocyte soldiers to quickly defeat it. At some point, though, the soldiers are replaced and the profile isn’t passed down. It’s like your immune system gets a bit of dementia and forgets about the antigen. Vaccines are not life long!

In addition to quality sleep, reducing stress levels and exercising, there are certain micronutrients that can help your army of immune fighters. Unfortunately, there is not one single vitamin or mineral; contrary to popular belief that will strengthen your immune system so drowning yourself in Vitamin C this winter won’t work.

Vitamin A plays a key role in production of white blood cells, vital for fighting off infection. Vitamin A foods include carrots, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes.

Vitamin C can help boost the immune system, particularly in endurance athletes and those undergoing physical stress. Vitamin C foods include chilies, guavas, bell peppers, broccoli, papayas, and strawberries.

Zinc, among other immune functions, is necessary for the creation and activation of lymphocytes. Zinc has also been shown to help alleviate symptoms of the common cold, and may even accelerate the time to recover. High zinc foods include Oysters, wheat germ, sesame , pumpkin seeds and squash seeds, peanuts, and dark chocolate.

Vitamin D. Vitamin D, which is produced by the skin when exposed to sunlight, signals an antimicrobial response to bacteria. Foods high in vitamin D are white mushrooms, cod liver oil, fish, Oysters and eggs. Vitamin D is fat-soluble which means you need fat to absorb it.

Probiotics Beneficial bacteria have a lifelong, powerful effect on your gut's immune system and your systemic immune system as well.  The bacteria play a crucial role in the development and operation of the mucosal immune system in your digestive tract.  They also aid in the production of antibodies to pathogens.

Friday, 22 May 2015 11:58

Healthy Lunch Ideas

Written by
 
Are you stuck in a lunch time rut?  Here are several tasty ideas to break the brown bag monotony.
 
  • Thermos ideas:  left over homemade soup, pasta/Mac and cheese, or stews
  • Sandwiches made with veggies, leftover chicken/turkey/fish/roast beef or preservative free lunch meats
  • Fresh fruit instead of canned
  • Buy the big containers of plain yogurt and sweeten with honey/agave nectar/ maple syrup, add some cinnamon and fresh grapes/raisins/cantaloupe etc.  Could dip apple slices into the yogurt as well.
  • Fresh veggies and hummus (homemade of course- so easy to do) or any other kind of dip (could use plain yogurt instead of sour cream)
  • Wraps with hummus, grilled or fresh veggies, cheese,  left over meat, rice, beans -- the combinations are endless.
  • Cheese, crackers, lunchmeat.  Make your own "snackables" since the store bought versions are full of preservatives and food colouring.  Buy preservative free lunch meat or use leftovers.
  • Sprouted grain breads, ezekial, twelve grain or multi-grain breads in place of white or whole wheat
  • Quinoa and beans/lentils and loads of veggies for a salad
  • Lentil or split pea soup
  • Wraps spread with cream cheese and some sliced meat rolled up and then cut into pinwheels are fun 
  • Thermos or reusable bottle filled with 100% juice, water or milk substitute ie. rice, almond or hemp
  • Homemade iced tea (we prefer green sweetened with stevia or a little raw honey
  • Homemade pizzas on english muffins or pita bread, these are great when cooked on the grill
  • Pumpernickel bread and spinach dip
  • Cheese cubes from the big slab instead of processed cheese
  • Smoothies with a little spinach and added protein for a balanced snack
  • Lentil loaf
  • Vegetarian lasagna
  • Green salad with homemade dressing on the side
Thursday, 21 May 2015 14:22

5 Hydrating Foods for Summer

Written by

 

 
 
Water is your body's principal chemical component and makes up about 60% of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. Water regulates body temperatures, eliminates toxins, carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells, and provides a moist environment for body tissues and joints.
In this article we will share the top 5 hydrating foods along with how to stay hydrated, energetic and headache free this summer.
An appropriate water and electrolyte balance are critical for the function of all body systems. Ensuring your electrolytes are balanced means that you need more than just water to stay hydrated this summer.
 
What Are Electrolytes? Electrolytes are vital minerals that are electrically charged (sodium, calcium, potassium, chlorine, phosphate and magnesium) and play a role in muscle contraction and various other physiological processes.
 
Did you know that 20% of your hydration could come from fruits and vegetables, reports The Institute of Medicine.
 
Staying hydrated is of top importance, especially during hotter months. If you are exercising in the heat, dehydration can cause blood volume to drop, which lowers the body's ability to transfer heat (sweat) and forces your heart to beat faster, making it difficult for the body to meet aerobic demands. You can also experience fatigue, headaches and constipation from being dehydrated.
 
Fact: During exercise, especially in the heat, individuals can sweat as much as 1.5 liters of water per hour.
 
It is very important to avoid dehydration and maintain electrolyte balance. Always try to match fluid consumption with sweat loss.
 
Don’t wait to drink until you feel thirsty. Unfortunately, thirst is usually perceived too late. You may not feel thirsty until you have lost approximately 1-3 pounds of body/water weight.
 
If you are concerned about fluid loss the best way to ensure you are properly hydrated is to weigh yourself before and after exercise.
 
Hydration Equation: Approximately 16 ounces or 0.5 liter of water should be consumed for every pound lost.
 
We can all agree that water gets boring sometimes, however, it’s essential to drink 8 to 10 glasses of clear, decaffeinated, uncarbonated water throughout the day to maintain proper fluid levels. Include these top 5 hydrating fruits and vegetables into your day to stay well hydrated and also provide your body with essential minerals, natural sugars, amino acids and vitamins that are all lost when you sweat.
 
Watermelon 
Watermelon contains 92% water, 8% natural sugar, and essential electrolytes such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. Watermelon is rich in Vitamin C, beta carotene and lycopene which will give the body protection from UV light.
 
Cucumbers
Cucumbers have 96% water content and a good balance of electrolytes such as, calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium.  The mineral, silica, also found in cucumber is essential for healthy, lubricated connective tissue, which includes muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bone.
 
Celery
Celery is considered to be a powerful electrolyte food. As little as two to three mineral-rich stalks of celery can replenish an athlete's sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron and zinc levels after intense exercise.
 
Broccoli
Broccoli is part of the cruciferous vegetable family. It contains 90% water and many health supporting compounds which are anti-inflammatory, others protect DNA with their antioxidant capacity, anti-cancer nutrients are found in broccoli and those that help to detoxify the vast number of potential toxins that we encounter each day.
 
Cantaloupe
Potassium is important for muscle contraction and the rhythm of the heart. The majority of potassium in the body is stored within the cells, so small changes in the concentration of potassium in the bloodstream can have serious health consequences. Cantaloupe, a potassium rich fruit provides 29 calories and is made up of 89% water. Cantaloupe is an exceptionally good fruit for supporting energy production through its efficient carbohydrate metabolism and ability to keep the blood sugar stable.
 
 
Hydration Tip: Drink water through a straw. There’s no scientific research to back this theory up, but it’s much easier to consume water when you drink through a straw. Add some cucumber and lemons to your water to boost the flavour.