Water makes up more than half of our body’s weight and is absolutely necessary for life–our bodies are actually about two-thirds water! Almost every biological process involves water.
For most, drinking beverages with meals and in-between when feeling thirsty is enough to stay hydrated. The total amount will likely be from 7 – 13 cups of fluids per day. Why is this important?
Every day we lose water by sweating, in our urine and by breathing. In order to stay hydrated, we have to take in as much water as we lose. Not getting enough water—being dehydrated, can make you feel tired, confused and can decrease athletic performance. Being dehydrated can also make you more likely to get heat strain, which can be very dangerous.
Sometimes, however, we need more water to make up for these losses and relying on the feeling of thirst just won’t cut it. If it is very hot or humid—like during the summer, you will need to drink more water. If...
Iron is a mineral that exists in every single living cell. Its main job? To help our red blood cells carry oxygen to the rest of the body. It is also necessary for making important substances our bodies need, like amino acids (the building blocks of protein), hormones, enzymes (to digest food!) and to make new cells.
Iron storage is limited and when enough iron is not taken in from foods, these stores can be easily used up. If iron stores are low, you may start to notice that you don’t feel all that well.
This can all be easily fixed by consuming more iron-rich foods! Iron is found in both plant and animal foods. Animal sources include meat, poultry and fish. Plant sources include raisins, green leafy vegetables, lentils and beans, soy foods, and iron-fortified cereals,...
Caffeine is a compound found in food and beverages. It is naturally produced in the leaves and seeds of many plants. The main food and beverage sources of caffeine are coffee, tea, kola nuts, and chocolate, but it is also produced artificially and added to certain foods, beverages and over the counter medications. Caffeine is considered a drug because it stimulates the nervous system leading to the “caffeine buzz” (increased alertness/elevated mood) people sometimes feel.
While caffeine is thought to be safe in moderate amounts for adults, teenagers need to limit their caffeine intake for a number of reasons.
First, teens usually get most of their caffeine from soft drinks and energy drinks. These beverages tend to have added sugar and artificial flavors, filling teens with empty calories (and often replacing more nutritious beverages and foods) and undesirable additives. Higher doses of caffeine ca...
Vitamin D is quite unique. Both a vitamin we consume and a hormone we make, it is often referred to as the sunshine vitamin because the process of making it in our bodies is initiated by sunlight hitting our skin (and is ultimately synthesized in the kidneys).
We can also get vitamin D from food sources. But the truth is, it’s actually pretty difficult to get adequate vitamin D from foods. Few foods are actually good sources (fatty fish like tuna and salmon are!), and most of those sources are fortified (like dairy products and breakfast cereals). Because of this, vitamin D has recently been the subject of much research and discussion.It is thought that 1 billion people worldwide have low blood levels of vitamin D. This is especially problematic for those living in northern latitudes where the type of sunlight exposure necessary for adequate vitamin D synthesis isn’t up to par for the majority of the year.