A dehydrated swimmer


Dehydration (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s a new-to-me vocabulary: osmolality, which means measures of dehydration that trainers and coaches regularly check among their athletes along with gravity.

Ever heard of a dehydrated swimmer? A blind optometrist just whisked through. Samuel Taylor Coleridge too. “Water, water everywhere… and not a drop to drink.”

Swimming is a sport reported to be more likely to put athletes in danger of dehydration. Yes, the awareness exists: swimmers are in the midst of water or where else could they be. But I had that somewhat ironic how. Then the sense: swimmers can’t grab a sip while performing thus they are more at risk for dehydration than other athletes. Indeed!

Christine Gerbstadt, a registered dietician and anesthesiologist explains that “if an athlete’s event is an hour long or less, they shouldn’t drink water during the competition. If it’s more than an hour, the amount of water they should drink depends on the temperature, humidity and how much they actually perspire.” She also warns that ‘athletes should not go overboard on fluids.’ “It’s actually better to be under-hydrating than taking in too much fluid.”

A note from experts for non-athletes: you may not experience the same athletic demands for Olympians but here’s a tip for those who exercise. Weigh yourself before and after your workout. “The decrease in weight will represent the amount of lost fluid.” A pound lost needs to be replaced with 24 ounces of fluid if you want to perform well.

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What do Olympians eat?

Flanders, Netherlands

Flanders, Netherlands (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As media keep us updated with the London Olympics we see how athletes show power and stamina. Those medals. The hype, the awe. Do you wonder what makes all that possible? More specifically what fuels their extraordinary feats. Let’s narrow down to the dining table. If you are wondering what exactly do Olympians eat, you are not alone.

Athletes currently starring in the 2012 Olympics are said to be eating a lot.  Emphasis on “a lot” sent a memory back of my mother musing about what a boxer in her hometown eats: loads of eggs, milk and meats. Loads.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says that the average, moderately active man needs 2,000 to 2,800 a day. Look at the contrast against calories consumed everyday by athletes: it’s between 8,000 and 10,000 calories per day. The business of feeding athletes for elite sports includes appropriate times for meals, a balance of percentages between carbohydrates and proteins, and how much fluid they take.

Diet advice has changed over the years with the advance of science. Ingesting the right proteins that will help repair muscles for the next competition is now added. It was  usually the normal huge steak athletes sit down to a couple of decades back. What do today’s athletes have on their plate?

That I’m no athlete but eat similar stuff almost everyday surprises me. You may be eating the same food too although Olympians spend long hours of hard training while the rest of us do not. So they have more factors to consider with their diet. They are advised to have a light meal before an event, i.e. oatmeal, banana with milk or yogurt

Athletes also have a “recovery meal,” the food they eat after an event. And the suggestion is fruit smoothie with protein powder or a turkey sandwich. So there. But what now? No steak? There must be a place for that somewhere on the platter. The honorable mentions are highlighted with notes on quantity and timing.Enhanced by Zemanta

The hungry organ

Two Juglans regia walnuts.

Two Juglans regia walnuts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Give the body junk food and the brain is certainly going to suffer,” comments nutritionist Bethany Thayer, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

It is statements like that that renews my horror every time I remember sacks of junk food at the ex-hubster’s house, made available for my then 4-year old.

Experts ask parents, “‘Want your child to do better in school? Take a close look at his or her diet. Certain “brain foods” may help boost a child’s brain growth — plus improve brain function, memory, and concentration.'”

The brain is called a very hungry organ.  Thayer explains that “it is the first among the body’s organs to absorb nutrients from the food we eat.”

WebMD presents these top ten brain foods that will help kids get the most from school. Their experts also provide preparing and serving suggestions:

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The humorous stimuli

Have you got a funny kid or have one among your friends or acquaintances?

If a child has sense of humor early on, it may mean he’s got the genes. Study shows the same parts of the brain that respond to humor in adults are as active in children as early as six years old. And these parts of the brain develop; become more sophisticated with age.

Researchers say this “finding should lead to a better understanding of how positive emotions like a sense of humor develop and affect a child’s well-being.”

Let us touch a little on the significance of humor, the good kind of humor. Better clarify that as there’s a dark sense of humor, a rotten sense of humor, a sick sense of humor, etcetera.  Researchers featured on WebMD specified “balanced and consistent sense of humor may help children negotiate the difficult period of pre-adolescence and adolescence.”

Don’t we all remember the confusion, difficulty as well as the excitement of adolescence? Do you remember how humor helped in whatever way?

A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience show how researchers analyzed brain scans of 15 children aged 6 to 12 years while they watched short video clips. These videos were classified funny (funny and rewarding to watch), positive (rewarding but not funny), and neutral (neither rewarding nor funny).

The results showed that the funny videos activated two regions of the brain, i.e., a lot of activity; that are also activated in the adult brain in response to humor.

English: Dolphy, Filipino actor

English: Dolphy, Filipino actor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Talking of laughter, the passing away of the King of Comedy, Dolphy holds the top spot on Philippine broadcast media this week, doesn’t it? How did he keep people laughing for sixty years? I wonder if he already showed signs of such talent when he was a kid.

Among the speeches at the tribute services, I find myself laughing through my tears at Nova Villa’s account of her funny moments with Dolphy, eg. (“ay hindi pala si Tita Cory… huminto ako sa ka-iiyak dahil sa hiya…” “yon bang wine… pagdating sa bahay binuksan ni Tito Dolphy ang regalo ko, ayun patis!”) I mistook Aunt Cory for someone… so embarrassed that I stopped crying…. That wine we were all keen at that time… when he got home Uncle Dolphy opened my gift, the bottle I gave him and voila! Fish sauce!

May I leave you, friends with this quote: He who laughs, lasts.

Although it doesn’t biologically apply to the dearly departed Dolphy right now 🙂

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Chubby doctors

E.D. Leavitt, Physician, Butte, Mt

E.D. Leavitt, Physician, Butte, Mt (Photo credit: Butte-Silver Bow Public Library)

Is your doctor fat, thin or just right?  HealthDay Reporter Randy Dotinga didn’t actually say fat or thin in his Medicine Net report. He called them ‘chubby’ doctors, and that they could be bad for your health.

How? Yes, I asked the same question. Possible reasons derived from a new study are:

  • a doctor with extra pounds to his weight may be unlikely to advise patients to shed excess weight
  • overweight doctors who responded to a survey say that they are less likely to talk to their patients about weight control
  • even doctors of normal weight aren’t prone to talking about  weight loss to their heavy patients

It doesn’t seem far from the pot calling the kettle black. Study author Sara Bleich of the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health says “you can’t look at overweight doctors and say, ‘You’re the problem.'” Research did find that –

doctors of normal weight were more confident than their overweight counterparts about their ability to counsel obese patients about diet and exercise.

A patient having his blood pressure taken by a...

A patient having his blood pressure taken by a physician. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bleich did this study on doctors’ tendency (or the lack of it) to counsel their hefty patients after she went to a dentist with bad teeth. Indeed. How can that dentist take care of his patients’ teeth when he can’t take care of his own? It is also similar with doctors or parents who smoke. Can they really be authoritative or credible if they advise their patients or children to stop smoking?


So could chubby doctors be bad for your health? With the absence of likelihood that they could be of help to a patient’s ballooning weight, they could be. Unless if you have no issues with weight; but something just seems off about being treated or examined by an overweight physician, don’t you think?Enhanced by Zemanta

Getting kids to eat healthy meals

It’s a challenge; and understandable enough: if it’s hard getting adults to eat healthy, how do we go about this business on kids?

I check what I am doing or not or have done against professional advice that I read.  MedicineNet nutrition experts suggest ways for parents to guide their children to eat a sound diet.

Avoid power struggle
“Do it because I’m the parent” or worse, “Eat or else…” Have you said something like that to your kids during a meal? Once I told my son, “no eat, no play.” I realize it could be a form of slight power struggle. He ate but couldn’t have understood why he had to eat in order to play. Author of The Parent’s Toolshop Jody Johnston Pawel explains that this rationale does not work for long.

I had no idea children have to be exposed to a new food 10 to 15 times before they accept it. If they play with a berry on their plate, parents are advised not to give up but keep encouraging them to eat. Suggested exposure is 1 or 2 new foods a week.

Don’t label
We may refer to children who are difficult to feed as “limited eater” rather than “picky.” Experts claim that kids under 5 are normally selective eaters.

Build on the positive
A child’s growth spurt is an opportunity to introduce new foods, but don’t let your child eat all he wants just because things have become easier on the dining table.

 Let kids participate
“Get a step stool and ask your kids to lend a hand with easy tasks in the kitchen,” says Sal Severe, author of How to Behave So Your Children Will Too.  He gives the logic here: if children participate in helping to make the meal, they are more likely to want to try it.

Don’t bribe
Do you use sweets to get your child to eat what you want him to? I sometimes do. But experts advise parents to avoid it because it can send a message that eating veggies should involve a reward.

“The real reward of sound nutrition is a healthy body, not a chocolate cupcake.”

Beware of over-snacking
If you remember your mom or dad giving you less to eat between meals, they were right. The problem is not the child does not like new food, but he is actually already full from snacks. Children can consume a lot of calories from milk and juice or chips and sodas.

“Good snacks are those that supplement meals, not sabotage them.”

Role modeling on the dining table
“Do as I say, not as I do” is not just old, it’s wrong.  You can’t expect your kids to have salad while you are having french fries.

Defuse mealtimes
Don’t discuss your child’s eating habits during meals. Tense talk loses people their appetite. Parents can stress the importance of good eating through stories around bedtime.

Give it time
Children are known to grow out of limited eating as they grow older. One day you may be surprised to see them eat healthy food on their own; without being told.

I didn’t like vegetables for as long as I can remember when I was a kid. But at age 19 that  was no longer the case. I finally learned the value of healthy eating.