If you are focused on improving your health and wellness, take a closer look at your snacks in between meals. Even if you eat three healthy meals per day, it’s not hard to derail your progress with high calorie, fat and sodium options that taste great, and satisfy your hunger temporarily. But did you know that nutrient deficiency can trigger hunger?
Low Nutrition Warning Signs
The human body will send messages to the brain and communicate hunger if it is dehydrated, or if the food you have eaten is not satisfying nutritional needs. It is tricky because you can eat a large volume of food and still be convinced that you are hungry. The next step is usually to provide your body with more food, which can include processed foods that are very low in nutritional value. You’ve eaten, but your body will not register that it is satisfied, because the quality of food you have chosen is low.
Likewise, many people run their bodies on a state of perpetual dehydration. You think you are drinking enough water, if you count things like coffee or tea, or soft drinks and juices. However, the amount of sodium in many flavored drinks offsets the body’s need for hydration, and do little to replenish the minimum levels of water needed for healthy functioning.
How important is water to your health? Consider that every cell, organ and virtually all metabolic functions within your body require water to process nutrients, discard waste and fight bacteria and viral infections.
Read: “Hydration and Healthy Living: How Much Water Do You Need Daily? When your body is running low on nutrients and proper hydration, you may notice one or more of the following signals:
- Moodiness or irritability.
- Low energy.
- Irregular bowel movements.
- Disproportionate hunger.
- Problems focusing or with cognitive processing.
- Low immune system functioning (you may get sick more often).
If an athlete or someone who is normally very cautious about nutrition and hydration goes even a single day with poor dietary habits, they feel it immediately. Unfortunately for the rest of us, we may have developed a habit of poor nutrition and hydration for years, or even decades, which can hinder our ability to read the signs. Those symptoms may have become what we determine to be our “normal”, without realizing that many of them may be addressed through nutritional changes.
How to Stop Unhealthy Snack Attacks
Part of the reason that we frequently choose unhealthy snacks is due to convenience. Chips and candy, or packaged pastries, donuts or fast-food are all cheap and easy to acquire when we need a meal. They require no meal preparation, but offer no value to our health.
How to Beat the Unhealthy Snack Attack
- Prepare small snacks in portable containers at home. Vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, celery or cherry tomatoes make an antioxidant, fiber and nutritionally rich snack combination, and keep well for 1-3 days in the refrigerator after preparation.
- Explore protein snack packs for grow-up’s. These healthy variations include cheese, dehydrated fruit (i.e., cranberries) and healthy snack nuts like almonds, walnut or pecans for a protein punch to fuel your afternoon.
- Buy three BPA free re-usable water containers, and keep one at home, one at work and one in your bag for on-the-go. Fill and drink healthy no matter where you are, to combat excessive or unhealthy snacking.
- Take a high-quality daily multivitamin to bridge the gap between your dietary nutrition and what you body actually needs for healthy functioning.
If you have some suggestions for healthy snacking, or a nutritionally balanced go-to snack that you love, share and leave us a comment or link below.
Having a perfect diet does not mean you can adequately protect your body from free radicals, as they enter the body in a variety of ways including environmental pollutants (air, water and pesticides), processed foods and lifestyle habits including cigarette smoking. When you hear about free radicals, it is important to understand that the damage they do to cells is substantial if not controlled or counteracted by your body’s best and only defense against the destruction of healthy cells; antioxidants.
Vitamins such as vitamin E, beta-carotene and vitamin C combat free radicals. Selenium is a trace metal that also has an important role in antioxidant functioning. Vitamin E can be acquired in a natural diet that is rich in nuts, certain vegetables, whole grains, apricots and some fruits. Vitamin C (required for the production of vitamin A in the body) is present in citrus fruits, green peppers and leafy vegetables such as kale. Beta carotene (retinol) is acquired in foods like carrots, broccoli, yams and cantaloupe.
The Link Between Antioxidants and Good Health
Consider your daily diet from an antioxidant perspective. How many of these essential foods and nutrients are you receiving consistently to support the healthy antioxidant functioning that your body needs to combat cellular damage? Health and wellness starts at the cellular level, and high quality nutritional supplements are an effective way to bridge the gap between the nutrients you eat daily and the full spectrum of vitamins and minerals your body needs consistently to combat free radicals and to promote a healthy immune system.
There are other aspects to managing your personal wellness, including hydration and regular exercise, but nutrition is the key to achieving and maintaining health at all ages and in every stage of life. Dr. Robert Keller was passionate about educating others on the key role of antioxidants and healthy aging, and his research formulated a family of supplements designed to work synergistically to provide comprehensive nutritional support and cellular health.
Learn more about Dr. Robert Keller and his research on our website. Start your own personal health revolution by emphasising nutrition and self-care every day. Become an advocate for health and wellness and learn more about becoming an Affiliate with RobKellerMD®.
How The Immune System Works
When something is wrong with your body, you can just feel it. There are many messages that your body sends through a variety of different symptoms to let you know that the immune system is not running at an optimal level. Your immune system is constructed of a network of complex cells, tissues and major organs that work in unison to provide protection from bacterial or viral infection.
There are two types of white blood cells at work every minute within your body to seek out and destroy antigens and other threats to health. Leukocytes are stored in the thymus, bone marrow and the spleen. These white blood cells exist in two forms; the phagocytes and the lymphocytes. The Phagocytes are aggressive cells that find and eradicate any bacteria or virus that enters the body. The soldiers of the immune system literally chew up and destroy foreign organisms. The second type of white blood cell are lymphocytes, which act as a learning and memory center for the immune system. These remarkable cells remember the markers of viruses and bacteria, which help trigger an earlier response next time your body is exposed to invading organisms. The two pronged approach of the white blood cells are critical to the healthy functioning of your immune system, and are essential to remove infection (thereby reducing the length of time you are sick) and recognize the pattern of bacteria and virus to prevent future infections.
The Sweet Dilemma
Craving sweets is one way that your body compensates for a lack of energy. As the days get shorter and the weather changes in the fall, naturally we begin to crave higher carbohydrate foods. How we eat changes as a result with less fruits and vegetables, and more potatoes, thick creamy soups, bread and rich gravy saturated meats. There is nothing wrong with healthy comfort food options incorporated into a balanced diet, but overloading on carbohydrates can create other problems for your health.
Did you know that a large amount of carbohydrate (sugar) can impede the ability of white blood cells to fight bacteria for up to five hours after consuming something sweet and sugary? Every time you load up on sweets, consider that you are disabling the efficiency of your immune system for hours afterward, leaving you susceptible to viral or bacterial infection and moderate your intake, particularly during the cold and flu season.
Dehydration and Health
In the summer it seems habitually easier to remember to drink a sufficient amount of water; after all, the hot weather inspires us to stay hydrated. But the truth of the matter is that your body requires the same level of hydration throughout the year, regardless of the season. Trading fresh water for other hot beverages like hot chocolate, tea or coffee contribute to dehydration. When you feel tired, do you reach for a retail energy drink? They are generally loaded with salt which contributes to further dehydration. Your cells need water, and dehydration directly impacts the ability of white blood cells to function, making you more susceptible to viral and bacterial infection.
Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Immune System
- Reduce caffeine intake
- Reduce high carbohydrate meals and snacks (and replace them with high fiber and protein options for more sustained energy without the ‘carb crash’).
- Exercise regularly.
- Ensure you are drinking an adequate amount of fresh water daily. Remember that by the time you are thirsty, your body is already dehydrated.
- Wash your hands frequently and use antibacterial wipes or gels to reduce your viral or bacterial load on hands and your chance of infection.
- Get sufficient rest. Naps are not just for kids (you are allowed to have one too).
- Ensure you take a quality daily multivitamin and probiotic to fill in the gaps between your dietary nutrition and what your body needs daily for healthy functioning.
Vitamins are all natural substances that your body needs in order to stay healthy and function normally. However, your body isn’t able to generate most of them, so they need to be obtained from food and supplements. The vitamins most essential to your health are vitamins A, C, D, E, K, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folic acid (folate). Each of these vitamins has an important part to play in the proper functioning of your body, and the majority of them cannot be stored in your body; therefore, you need to replenish your body’s supply of these vitamins daily.