Diana is a qualified naturopath and nutritionist who believes health starts in the kitchen and loves to inspire the creation of simple, nutritious meals as a starting point to better health.
The way to look and feel vibrant and full of energy is simple. You are what you eat, think and feel, which are often drawn from the sum of our habits.
The following is a three part series covering simple, effective ways to get on top of the daily grind and turbo charge your health.
- Water: the fountain of life, or is it really when it comes straight from the tap?
- Greens : maximise your nutrient bang for your buck with the right preparation and choice of greens
- Probiotics: find out how looking after your gut health impacts not just your digestion but immune system and even mood
Those simple hydrogen and oxygen atoms are obviously vital component to our body, but even more so to our brain and muscles. Whilst each human body consists of approximately 70% water, the brain and muscles are 85%. Mild dehydration of as little as 1-2% has been linked to headaches, fatigue, impairment of cognitive function and decreased athletic performance 
On average our bodies turn over 2-7 litres of water, depending on diet and life style. Soft drinks, caffeine, stress, high protein diets, air conditioners, hot weather, manual labour and exercise increase the need for hydration. An adult with a desk job, normally requires 2-3 litres of water a day.
The most common signs of dehydration :
- You feel like you want a drink of water (der)
- Dark urine
- Lack of concentration
- Irritability (watching reality TV can also cause this)
- Dry skin and lips
- Sugar cravings
- Headaches (also sometimes due to the xmas period)
In extreme cases severe dehydration is associated with nausea, blood clots, fainting and some studies even point to colon and bladder cancer as well as diabetes. If you experience any of the above symptoms please consult a health care practitioner.
How good is Australian tap water?
Drinking clean spring or well filtered water to allow your tissues to naturally flush out toxins.
Handy tip for improving hydration:
- Start your day with a big glass of water after 8 hours of dehydration during sleep
- Flavour your water by adding fresh lemon, mint or berries
- Omega 3 fatty acids improve the fluidity of cell membrane and regulate hydration 
- Add filtered water to fruit frappes and smoothies
Personally I find the Berkley filter the best. These filters out up to 95% of fluoride, chlorine, bacteria, and even viruses. They are not cheap, but this investment definitely pays off. You can even taste the difference – the water is so smooth on the palate.
Your daily greens
Mum was right when she said: “Eat your greens!”. But why?
Low calorie nutrient dense veggies are nature’s gift for well being: healthy weight, radiant skin and cell protection. At around 30 calories per serve, they are packed with folate, iron, calcium and magnesium.
All green veggies contain chlorophyll, which alkalises human tissues and increases oxygenation. Scientists have found that tumours, bacteria and fungi cannot survive in an alkaline environment. On the flip side, when the pH is acidic, the blood does not carry enough oxygen. This can lead to chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, hearth disease, candida and arthritis.
Chlorophyll provides a great environment for tissue healing, recovery from injuries and increases cellular resistance to disease. A study found that moderately overweight subjects reported feeling less hungry and reduced cravings following chlorophyll containing meals .
Are all green veggies the same?
Actually, the darker the leaves the more chlorophyll. Think spinach, rocket, kale and Asian greens. Some greens are prone to heavy pesticide sprays, especially spinach. So to preserve all the healthy qualities opt for organic and locally grown from farmers market.
Raw is not always the answer
Over the past years the raw food movement has gained momentum. However some greens are better eaten when lightly steamed. When eaten raw, the Brassica family of greens such as broccoli, kale, cabbage and brussel sprouts contain goitrogens, which interfere with the correct functioning of the thyroid.
Oxalates on the other hand are found in highly amounts in raw spinach. These soluble salts can over the time lead to calcium accumulation in the kidneys and render dietary calcium less likely to be efficiently absorbed.To preserve all the nutrients, whilst reducing the above mentioned substances simply lightly steam or stir fry your Brassica’s and spinach for 2-3 minutes.
How to eat more greens
- Make a refreshing green smoothie with barley grass, mango and coconut water
- Big Asian green, broccoli and spinach stir fry
- Silverbeet frittata
- Kale, cashew, garlic pesto
I’ll let you in on a simple cheat: if you get to the end of the day and haven’t had your greens, simply mix super greens powder (spirulina, barley grass, wheatgrass) or chlorophyll in some water. Whilst this is no substitute for fresh veggies, it is better to get your greens than go without.
From practical experience adding greens not only provides you with ample energy, but also beautiful skin and lightness.
Stenblom EL, Montelius C, Östbring K, Håkansson M, Nilsson S, Rehfeld JF, Erlanson-Albertsson C. Supplementation by thylakoids to a high carbohydrate meal decreases feelings of hunger, elevates CCK levels and prevents postprandial hypoglycaemia in overweight women. Appetite. 2013 Sep;68:118-23. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2013.04.022. Epub 2013 Apr 28.