18 Mar

Water: The Underestimated Nutrient

A few facts about water probably pop into our mind — we need 8 cups of water a day, about 70-80% of our body is made of water, and most of the earth’s surface is covered with water.  We don’t usually think about water as an “essential nutrient.”  But it is just that.  It is essential that we drink water daily since it is required in amounts that exceed the body’s ability to produce it.  All chemical reactions need water to occur, water regulates body temperature, protects body organs and tissues, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, acts as a vehicle to expel waste, and helps to form the structure of protein and glycogen molecules.  If it wasn’t for water we’d simply cease to exist.

With all the immense relevancy and importance of water, surprisingly there still appears to be some inconsistency in water research.  But what the literature tends to agree on is that dehydration, particularly chronic or long term dehydration, has been linked to many life threatening health outcomes which include the following (brace yourself for this laundry list!):  falls and fractures in the elderly, increased risk of heat stroke during heat waves, heart disease, bronchopulmonary disorders, kidney disease, urolithiasis, bladder and colon cancer, urinary tract infections, constipation, decreased salivation, dental carries, decreased immunity, and cataract formation or sight problems (1).

For quite some time the research on water was mainly supported by the bottled water industry, and as critical thinking scientists, we don’t really like research of this nature since some of these studies are biased and intend to produce results that favor the “product.”  Biased research can paint a fainter picture of methodical science on a particular topic and limits the dependability of conclusions drawn.  This is always important to keep in mind when looking at scarce data as it restricts the opportunity to compare and contrast studies.

How does drinking enough water per day really help me?

As I mentioned above, a lot of the research we have today on water come from more biased sources.  However, one of the best studies to date on the effects of adequate water consumption was conducted by the Adventist Health Study and included 20,000 subjects.  These were divided into two groups, one drank over 5 cups of water, the other less than 2 cups of water.  It was found that the group that drank over 5 cups of water per day were 50% less likely to get coronary heart disease than the group that only drank 2 or less cups of water per day (2).  It’s important to note that these results were estimated after controlling for other healthy behaviors like diet and exercise, so the water itself had health promoting effects.  The decrease in risk of heart disease may have had something to do with the viscosity of the blood with higher intake of water.  Of course, other aspects of the body can also benefit from improved circulation of the blood, so increased water can lend itself to overall health.  This is very powerful research because it produced results based on evidence and emphasized the effect of water in the absence of other healthy behaviors through the controlling process.

Where did this widely accepted 8 cups of water standard come from?

To reach a place where any “treatment” is being regularly prescribed by the medical community as a standard of care, there needs to be scores of evidenced-based sources to back it up.  But rather surprisingly the recommendation of drinking 8 cups of water per day stems back to a single 1920’s paper in which the author himself was the only subject enrolled in the study.  I’m not sure how biased that would have made it, but after calculating his own water expenditure (such as through urine and sweat), he found that approximately 8 Cups would replenish the lost stores of water one experiences in a day (4).

So how much water are we really supposed to have since this obviously isn’t the only source we should quote for a standard of care, right?  After much analysis of data, the medical authorities in Europe, the US Institute of Medicine and the World Health Organization finally recommended (not including fluids from food and other drinks) 4-7 Cups per day for women, and 6-11 Cups per day for men (2).  This does not take into consideration the water intake needs associated with regular or strenuous physical activity.  But I guess you could say Dr. Adolph was pretty close in his 1920’s paper with a single enrolled subject!

Behavioral health practices associated with low water consumption

Behavioral health practices have been shown to be strongly interconnected.  One behavior can influence and dictate the outcome of another.  If someone is diligent about daily exercise it’s not far-fetched to assume they may also eat a healthier diet than one who rarely ever exercises.  Healthy practices promote other healthy practices, and poor health practices tend to encourage other poor ones.

In a study analyzing the food behavioral practices of several thousand adults it was found that individuals who drank lower amounts of water were also involved in other unhealthy behaviors which included low fruit and vegetable intake and high fast-food intake.  The study concluded that understanding characteristics associated with low drinking water intake may help to identify populations that could benefit from targeted health interventions (2).  And if you think about it, who is most likely to drink more water?  Athletes and people who exercise more.  And so, it should not be surprising to see that those who drink more water overall also experience lower disease rates as this group is also practicing other beneficial behaviors that promote health and wellbeing.  The healthier behaviors we pick up the more likely we are to pick up more health behaviors until we are living a truly healthy and balanced lifestyle, so yes, every step in the right direction counts!

Does it make a difference whether I drink bottled water or tap water?

I’m very particular of the water I drink.  If I sense even the slightest off-taste or just that tiny bit of chlorine, I simply will not drink that water.  I’m not about to distrust my sense of taste and go right ahead and drink my water out of the tap either, after all, why would there be numerous water bottle companies if we could do just that?

This is a mindset that probably many of us have, but the research tends to show us some interesting findings.  A study analyzing the water from 35 water bottle companies did not guarantee higher quality, safer, or cleaner water than tap water (5).  Looks like just because water might come in the form of a pretty bottle with a sharp logo on it doesn’t make that much better than whatever is coming out of your tap.  I’m not recommending that you start drinking your tap water, but this is good drink for thought.

What about coconut water?  Is it really “glorified water?”

Cold coconut water out of the fridge can be so refreshing and delicious.  With its barely-there sweetness and tiny bits of coconut shreds along with the snazzy packaging promising invigorating electrolyte replenishment and an abundance of nutrients, it can make anyone feel like a health pro.  Unfortunately, mainstream media likes to blow things out of proportion in terms of benefits, and coconut water has been an easy and very marketable victim.

But what does the science tell us about the real benefits of drinking coconut water?  The truth is, it doesn’t provide any more benefit than a common sports drink would, aside from less sugar content.  A study conducted by the International Society of Sports Nutrition compared coconut water to regular manufactured sports drinks and found no difference between the two in terms of hydration or exercise performance.  Here’s the kicker though, those who drank the coconut water reported feeling more bloated and had more stomach upsets than those who were drinking the regular sports drinks (6).  Surprisingly, this study was funded by a coconut water manufacturing company!  It’s good to know that results were still published, though not in favor of its own product in comparison with a competitor.

How do we bottle up this whole water case?

If you want to keep your body hydrated and cleansed, drink your recommended amount of water daily.  Get most of your fluids from pure water.  Try to avoid sodas and caffeinated beverages, and even fruit juices (most are made from sugary concentrates).  If you get tired of drinking just water, infuse it with fresh fruit like strawberries, oranges, and lemons.  You can sweeten it naturally with stevia leaves and add a little more flare with fresh mint or rosemary.  If you want something hot, then have your water in the form of healing herbal teas like chamomile and mint.  Recently I’ve taken quite the liking to iced herbal tea, you just make yourself some hot herbal tea and then pour it over a cup full of ice.  I don’t even need to add any sweetener to it.  It is delightful and refreshing!  If you really want to have coconut water, then its best to have it fresh right out of the coconut, otherwise the bottled version may just be like buying expensive water.

Water is most definitely a gift from the Lord, we really don’t need to do much to it to reap its intended benefits.  Keeping it simple and consistent is the best attitude we can have in our hydration lifestyle. Cheers to going back to the basics, appreciating good research, and following simple recommendations for ultimate health!

–This article was originally published on NAD Health Ministries Website

11 Mar

“How God Heals Today” Interview

Pastor Tom Tupito of the Aurora church is on a journey of health and healing, he would like to share in the hope that his story will inspire and encourage others to experience the healing power of God through His amazing lifestyle principles. The following interview was conducted by Rick Mautz, director of the Rocky Mountain Lifestyle Center, who had the pleasure of walking this health path with Pastor Tupito.

 

RMLC:  Tom, tell me where your story of heart disease began. Give us a little history

Tom: All my family had heart trouble. In 1999, I had coronary bypass surgery. When I started working at Rocky Mountain Conference In 2017, I failed my stress test, but refused to go to the cardiologist. In 2018, I again failed the stress test, but still wouldn’t go to the cardiologist. When my wife passed away from a heart attack, I finally got serious and called the cardiologist who, after giving me an angiogram, revealed that I needed another bypass surgery because all those vessels had plugged up. I told him I needed to talk to my kids to decide what to do. At that time, I could only walk about ten minutes before chest pain would start.

RMLC:  That’s when you called me and wanted some options. And I told you that I am not your doctor, but I would find as much accurate information on the subject so that you and your kids could make an informed decision. I am fortunate to have access to two fine lifestyle physicians who I contacted for their feedback. One of those doctors was Dr. Caldwell Esselstyne from the Cleveland Clinic.  I recommended you watch his YouTube video entitled, “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease,” which is also the title of his book. Dr. Esselstyne wanted you to call him. Tell me about that conversation.

Tom: Well, I called him and he asked me about any chest pain with exertion. He described what was happening and how to turn it around and told me if I followed that plan, I would not need bypass surgery.

RMLC:  What did he tell you to do?

Tom:  He said that if I was serious about it and willing to follow this diet of no oil, no sugar and a hand full of greens before every plant-based meal that I could avoid the surgery. I also decided on my own not to eat anything after 4 p.m.

RMLC:  Some people call that radical and are not willing to make that change. They choose surgery instead.

Tom: You know Rick, I have had bypass surgery before and that is radical. This lifestyle change is not radical compared to that. Yes, I did have to do a 180-degree turn-around. I actually started to make major changes back in 1999 when I had my first bypass surgery. If I had not done that then, I wouldn’t have lasted this long.

RMLC:  So now you are known as the radical pastor?

Tom:  Yes, my kids even say that it may be radical, but we are seeing the evidence that it must be right.

I have lost weight in a short time, going from 240 lbs. to 180 lbs. I feel stronger now and after just 2-3 weeks, I can walk 40 minutes without chest pain. I have had no more chest pain since that time.

RMLC:  How hard was this for you to do? Wasn’t it difficult?

Tom:  No, God has given the wisdom and the people to help make a change. It is not a burden; it is now my passion and also my witness. I realize now that God gave me this body and my health and I want to honor Him by taking care of it.

RMLC:  But Tom, hasn’t all the joy gone out of your eating? Aren’t you just tolerating this food you have to eat?

Tom:  I enjoy my food. It is a pleasure. You might say I am on auto-pilot, it is that easy.

RMLC:  Have you been in contact with your cardiologist lately?

Tom:  The cardiologist’s office kept calling me every month to schedule my surgery. Each time, I would tell them that I am doing well, exercising and eating healthy foods. Finally, they realized that I was doing so well I didn’t need the surgery and they didn’t need to call anymore.

RMLC: Will you continue to live this way?

Tom:  By the grace of God, I will continue to live this way. I know it is right and I give glory to God. I hope that others are inspired to make some of these changes and maybe even stop the progression of heart disease. I could not be available to help people in this way if I did not practice it myself.

RMLC:  Thank you Tom. It is a pleasure to watch the Lord bless you with a natural lifestyle miracle. It is my prayer that others will be blessed by it and your ministry will thrive for many years to come.

 

The following link is for the video that Tom watched–Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease with Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., M.D    https://youtu.be/ZC3wRx4vV7g

If you would like more information, call 303-909-8274 at the Rocky Mountain Lifestyle Center.

Any coaching support that we provide at the RM Lifestyle Center is confidential. Tom’s story is presented now with his permission and a desire to make a difference in the lives of others.

03 Mar

Do You Really Need 10,000 Steps Per Day?

By Danny Kwon — A few years back, I met up with an old friend I hadn’t seen in years at a conference on the other side of the world. After a long day of meetings and sitting all day, we agreed to meet in the lobby of the hotel after dinner to go for a walk around the neighborhood to catch up and to get some exercise as well. We met on time and proceeded to go for a nice, brisk, approximately 4-mile hike around the hotel. When we were almost back to the hotel, my friend looked at his Fitbit watch and stated that he was going to keep walking since he was close to 10,000 steps for the day and needed a few hundred more steps. He explained that ever since he got his step counting watch as a gift, he’d been doing 10,000 steps per day for over a month now.

Since then, I’ve noticed that the 10,000 step figure is a standard goal for daily steps for many people. But it’s not always easy to get that many steps in a day. And where did this figure of 10,000 steps come from anyway? Is that the optimal or minimum level of walking for good health? Can I get away with walking less? A recent Harvard study found that just 4,400 steps per day reduced the risk of premature mortality in women by a whopping 41%.

Here’s an excerpt from WebMD of an interview with the study lead Dr. I-Min Lee.

Were you surprised by the results of your study?

Lee: Yes and no. Previous studies have shown that when it comes to physical activity, “some is good, more is better,” but there’s little data on steps and health, particularly long-term health outcomes. I knew this was a critical gap in knowledge, since so many people monitor their step counts. But 4,400 steps per day is a very modest number of steps.

Where did the more well-known goal of 10,000 steps per day come from?

Lee: It likely originated as a marketing tool. In 1965, the Yamasa Clock and Instrument Company in Japan sold a pedometer called “Manpo-kei,” [which roughly translates to] “ten thousand steps meter” in Japanese. But, for many older people especially, 10,000 steps per day can be a very daunting goal. That’s why we wanted to investigate whether this number was necessary to lower mortality rates.

Is 10,000 still a good goal? Or should women now shoot for 4,400 steps a day?

Lee: If you can get to 10,000 steps per day, that’s fantastic, and I certainly would not dissuade you from that goal. For those who are inactive, though, that might not be achievable. Most people average 2,500 steps per day just doing normal activities, like going to the bathroom, walking around the office and getting the mail, so adding 2,000 steps per day more to your usual routine is very doable. Just move more. Even a modest number of steps is associated with lower mortality. You don’t need to go walk for miles or hit the gym. The extra 2,000 steps (which is about one mile) can be accumulated throughout the day. Once you get into the habit of not sitting around so much, you’ll be surprised by how easy it is to get the extra steps.

So here are 5 ideas to get more steps per day.

  1. Park farther away – next time you go to the supermarket, don’t look for the closest spot. Relieve stress as you park far from the hustle and bustle of cars all trying to get the choicest spot.
  2. Walk at work – During your lunch break or other break times, go outside and go for a stroll around the block. After eating your lunch, make it a point to get in a routine walk around a set course. Make it a habit.
  3. Do chores and yardwork – Just doing the laundry can get you more steps if you go up and down stairs, go in and out of rooms, etc. Mowing the lawn gets you lots of steps as well as weeding, raking and just all-around outdoor work.
  4. Play – Say yes to the basketball pickup game you used to go to. Join an adult league. Go outside with your kids and play with them. Take your kids to explore parks in your area… a different one every weekend until you’ve explored them all.
  5. Get a Step Counter – If you don’t have one already, get a step counting watch. Simple step counters are very cheap and worth getting. You’ll find that the act of counting your steps will motivate you to keep walking and give you a goal to reach every day. More advanced smart watches can even connect with your phone and apps that can share running and exercise goals with a large social network, motivating you even more by creating competition among friends.

–Danny Kwon is the executive director of Life and Health Network based out of California; photo by pixabay.

This article was originally published on the Life and Health Network webpage.

17 Feb

Lifestyle Choices to Boost Immunity

By Rick Mautz — Denver, Colorado … The Rocky Mountain Lifestyle Center is here to serve you, by providing reliable health information and ongoing support as you begin your journey toward better health.

One of our major trusted sources is the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM). Since most of us are thinking about how we can have the most effective immune system. I would like to start with that, realizing that the steps you take to improve your immunity will also help with most other aspects of your health.

To make it easy, here is a handout by the ACLM that illustrates each point.  Pick just one to start with, I suggest starting with the easiest one for you.  Then add another each week, until you are able to do them all regularly.  (if it takes longer than a week for some of these steps, don’t worry, it is better to go slow and develop strong healthy habits that will last a lifetime than to try too much at once and fail.

You can expect more helpful information as we continue to develop this website.  And if you need personal support, feel free to call the Lifestyle center to connect with one of our Health Partners at 303-282-3676.

–Rick Mautz is Rocky Mountain Lifestyle Director; photo by UnSplash