Monday, January 31, 2011

Dehydration. What you need to know.

Here at Jungle Miami we get dehydrated alot!  We push ourselves for almost three hours, routinely.  For those of you that do the same, here is some information that you need to know.

What Is Dehydration? What Causes Dehydration?
Written by Peter Crosta M.A.
Copyright: Medical News Today
Dehydration (from the Greek hydor (water)) and the Latin prefix de- (indicating deprivation, removal, and separation) occurs when more water and fluids are exiting the body than are entering the body. With about 75% of the body made up of water found inside cells, within blood vessels, and between cells, survival requires a rather sophisticated water management system. Luckily, our bodies have such a system, and our thirst mechanism tells us when we need to increase fluid intake. Although water is lost constantly throughout the day as we breathe, sweat, urinate, and defecate, we can replenish the water in our body by drinking fluids. The body can also shift water around to areas where it is more needed if dehydration begins to occur.

Most occurrences of dehydration can be easily reversed by increasing fluid intake, but severe cases of dehydration require immediate medical attention.

A study explains that even small levels of dehydration can create headaches, lethargy, or just overall lack of alertness. Dehydration can also cause constipation.

What causes dehydration?

The immediate causes of dehydration include not enough water, too much water loss, or some combination of the two. Sometimes it is not possible to consume enough fluids because we are too busy, lack the facilities or strength to drink, or are in an area without potable water (while hiking or camping, for example). Additional causes of dehydration include:

Diarrhea - the most common cause of dehydration and related deaths. The large intestine absorbs water from food matter, and diarrhea prevents this function, leading to dehydration.

Vomiting - leads to a loss of fluids and makes it difficult to replace water by drinking it.

Sweating - the body's cooling mechanism releases a significant amount of water. Hot and humid weather and vigorous physical activity can further increase fluid loss from sweating.

Diabetes - high blood sugar levels cause increased urination and fluid loss. Tips for handling summer heat for people with diabetes.

Frequent urination - usually caused by uncontrolled diabetes, but also can be due to alcohol and medications such as diuretics, antihistamines, blood pressure medications, and anti-psychotics.

Burns - water seeps into damaged skin and the body loses fluids.

Who is at risk of dehydration?

Although dehydration can happen to anyone, some people are at a greater risk. Those highest at risk include:

People in higher altitudes

Athletes, especially those in endurance events such as marathons, triathlons, and cycling tournaments. Dehydration can undermine performance in sports, as this article explains.

People with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, kidney disease, cystic fibrosis, alcoholism, and adrenal gland disorders.

Older adults, infants, and children. Dehydration in elderly people can be explained by brain malfunction, a study revealed. An article explains how drinking more water improved the health of elderly people.

What are the symptoms of dehydration?

The first symptoms of dehydration include thirst, darker urine, and decreased urine production. In fact, urine color is one of the best indicators of a person's hydration level - clear urine means you are well hydrated and darker urine means you are dehydrated. As the condition progresses to moderate dehydration, symptoms include:

Dry mouth
Few or no tears when crying
Weakness in muscles

Severe dehydration may be characterized by extreme versions of symptoms mentioned above as well as:

Lack of sweating
Sunken eyes
Shriveled and dry skin
Sunken fontanels (soft spots) in babies
Low blood pressure
Increased heart beat

How is dehydration diagnosed?

A physician will use both physical and mental exams to diagnose dehydration. A patient presenting symptoms such as disorientation, low blood pressure, rapid heart beat, fever, lack of sweat, and inelastic skin will usually be considered dehydrated.

Blood tests are often employed to test kidney function and to check sodium, potassium, and other electrolyte levels. Electrolytes are chemical ions that regulate hydration in the body and are crucial for nerve and muscle function. A urinalysis will provide very useful information for a dehydration diagnosis. In a dehydrated person, urine will be darker in color and more concentrated - containing a certain level of a compound called ketones.

To diagnose dehydration in infants, doctors usually check for a sunken soft spot on the skull. They may also look for a loss of sweat and certain muscle tone characteristics.

How is dehydration treated?

Dehydration must be treated by replenishing the fluid level in the body. This can be done by consuming clear fluids such as water, clear broths, frozen water or ice pops, or sports drinks (such as Gatorade). Some dehydration patients, however, will require intravenous fluids in order to rehydrate. People who are dehydrated should avoid drinks containing caffeine such as coffee, tea, and sodas. A study indicated that dehydrated children should be given fluids by mouth. Underlying conditions that are causing dehydration should also be treated with the appropriate medication. This may include anti-diarrhea medicines, anti-emetics (stop vomiting), and anti-fever medicines.

How can dehydration be prevented?

Prevention is really the most important treatment for dehydration. Consuming plenty of fluids and foods that have high water content (such as fruits and vegetables) should be enough for most people to prevent dehydration. People should be cautious about doing activities during extreme heat or the hottest part of the day, and all person who are exercising should make replenishing fluids a priority. Since the elderly and very young are often most at risk being dehydrated, special attention should be given to them to make sure they are receiving enough fluids.

Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Addicted to food? No worries, you are not alone.

All humans have addictions. Some are really bad to overcome. Today, Jungle Miami's post is about food addiction. We hope you enjoy it. And please, feel free to share any thoughts you may have on this or any other subject. If you have a particular subject  you are interested in, let us know, we will do the research and bring you a balanced opinion on it.

Conquering food addiction

By Jennifer LaRue Huget
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sitting across a Starbucks table from Michael Prager a few weeks ago, I'd never have guessed that he once weighed 365 pounds. Or that he's an addict.

I met with Prager, a 53-year-old author, journalist, blogger and stay-at-home dad who lives in Arlington, Mass., to talk about his self-published book, "Fat Boy, Thin Man" (2010). It's a clear-headed exposition of a life in which 12-inch roast beef Subway sandwiches with onions and mayonnaise once played a central and controlling role.

Prager is thin, even angular, nowadays. But his 160-pound weight loss some 20 years ago came only after he accepted a discomfiting idea: He was addicted to food.

The notion of food addiction remains controversial, but there's growing belief that it's a real phenomenon, a stance that's increasingly supported by science. Recent research found that people with a family history of alcoholism had increased risk of obesity, suggesting that both conditions might be driven by the same tendency toward addictive behavior. In fact, some experts think food addiction might be one of the prime causes of America's obesity epidemic, especially as potentially addictive ingredients such as fat, sugar and salt have played a larger role in our nation's diet.

A fight for control

When Prager was in his early 30s, he reluctantly came to understand that both his obesity and his inability to get along with other people derived from the same root cause: his lifelong obsession with cramming food into his maw. As with other addicts, he explains, his emotional development stalled the moment he became addicted; for him, that was at age 12, in the midst of a troubled childhood.

Prager's book is peppered with accounts of unsettling behaviors: leaving a family dinner early to ensure he'd get to the McDonald's drive-through before it closed, loading his car with enough sub sandwiches so he would, he writes, "have something for the ride home without running out once I'd got there." Some of those sound scarily familiar to me.

Rather than consign the rest of his life to his addiction, the adult Prager sought treatment at the urging of others. And, after decades of gaining and losing the same 100 pounds, he finally shed his extra weight. It seems the pounds might be gone for good: The 5-foot-10 Prager has weighed about 210 pounds for the past 20 years.

But maintaining that weight loss requires constant vigilance and discipline. When he measures his morning serving of yogurt, if a bit of it lands on his finger he must rinse it right off. Allowing himself to lick it off, he knows, would be the first step down a slippery slope leading to reckless consumption; he has to control food, or it will again control him.

Hijacking the brain

Food addiction does not have an entry in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), the American Psychiatric Association's bible of accepted psychological diagnoses. Inclusion in the DSM lends legitimacy to conditions and paves the way for insurance to cover treatment.

But many psychologists recognize and treat food addiction anyway. Marilyn Mertzl, a psychoanalyst practicing in Kansas City, Mo., says, "Addiction to food operates on the same neurobiological highway as addiction to drugs, sex, gambling or alcohol."

As with any addiction, Mertzl says, "the source of all pleasure has become the source of all pain."

"With food addicts, they eat all day, and they eat all night. The turnoff valve is broken. They don't have the [physical] signal of fullness. Usually by the time they come to me, they've tried a variety of unsuccessful interventions."

Mertzl works with patients to identify and address the causes of their compulsion. For many, those include childhood experience of sexual abuse or parental controls over food, such as using it as a reward or requiring children to clean their plates. Mertzl also advises on such practical tasks as learning to eat more slowly and to eat while sitting down, with a nicely set place at the table, instead of gorging in front of an open fridge.

Ashley Gearhardt, a clinical psychology doctoral student who studies food addiction at the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, says animal research has found that certain foods ¿ often those containing lots of sugar, salt or fat ¿ can trigger the same brain receptors that are triggered by addictive drugs. It appears that for people at risk of food addiction, "some foods may have the ability to hijack the brain" the way other addictive substances can, she says.

Ashley Gearhardt, a clinical psychology doctoral student who studies food addiction at the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, says animal research has found that certain foods ¿ often those containing lots of sugar, salt or fat ¿ can trigger the same brain receptors that are triggered by addictive drugs. It appears that for people at risk of food addiction, "some foods may have the ability to hijack the brain" the way other addictive substances can, she says.

Gearhardt says that support programs, particularly 12-step ones patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous, and cognitive behavioral therapy can help people cope with food addiction. For Prager, overcoming food addiction has required developing "a clear plan of eating" with a nutritionist and seeking support from others. You can't just quit eating, he notes, but you can quit eating the foods you can't handle. For him, those include popcorn, peanuts, bagels with cream cheese and even sugarless gum.

Until I talked to Prager, I was among the many skeptics who viewed "food addiction" as a cop-out, a means of abandoning personal responsibility for what you put in your mouth. But Prager is quite clear on that point. "When I find out I have an illness, I take on responsibility to make it better," he says. "I have no respect for people who use [their addiction] as a crutch."

He adds, "Nobody ever held me down and put a doughnut in my mouth."

Pinpointing addiction

Consult your doctor if you think you might be addicted to food, who might refer you to a specialist. A physician or therapist might ask questions to help pin down signs of substance abuse.

Michael Prager outlines those questions in his book. Here's a sample:

- Do you increase the amount you eat over time to achieve the same effect?

- Does stopping overeating cause physical symptoms?

- Do you eat more food, and for a longer time, than you'd planned to at first? Have you tried unsuccessfully to cut down on or control your eating? Do you spend lots of time and effort to obtain food and recover from overeating? Do you sacrifice other activities to accommodate your overeating? And continue to overeat, even though you know the consequences are likely to grow worse?

There many are support groups and services, including 12-step programs patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous, for those who might suffer from food addiction. Here are a few:

- Overeaters Anonymous, 505-891-2664

- Food Addicts Anonymous, 561-967-3871

- Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous, 781-932-6300

- American Psychological Association

For nutrition news, visit the Checkup blog, follow @jhuget on Twitter and subscribe to the Lean & Fit newsletter by going to The Post's Wellness page.

© 2011 The Washington Post Company


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The new year is here. What is your resolution?

Towards the end of each year, many people make new year's resolutions they would like to achieve. Here at Jungle Miami we are no different from the rest of the mortals.
Bringuing even better workout routines and sharing the latest research on nutrition health and fitness with our  Jungle animals are our resolutions. Today we are posting new year's resolutions of different people. We want to encourage you to get your own resolution list down and stick with it as long as you can.

40 to 45% of American adults make one or more resolutions each year. The top new years resolutions are about weight loss, exercise, and stopping to smoke.

The following shows how many of these resolutions are maintained as time goes on:

- past the first week: 75%

- past 2 weeks: 71%

- after one month: 64%

- after 6 months: 46%

While a lot of people who make new years resolutions do break them, research shows that making them is useful. People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don't explicitly make resolutions: So, write yours down, try to follow through with it and most importantly, set realistic goals.


Resolutions for 2011: Eat and drink more healthfully

By Jennifer LaRue Huget
The Washington Post.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Last January I started a tradition by asking people I had interviewed for the Eat, Drink; Be Healthy column or The Checkup blog to share their resolutions for eating more healthfully in the new year. Below is this year's batch of ideas from folks I talked to in 2010.

For my part, now that I've shed the 10 pounds I set out to lose through Me Minus 10, I plan to relax a bit around food, perhaps be less obsessed with exercise. The scale - in particular, its measure of my body fat percentage - will keep me honest, I hope. In any case, I aim to enjoy food a bit more and fret over it a bit less in 2011.

David Kessler , former FDA commissioner and author of "The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite": I'm resolving to be more aware of my automatic responses to food cues. I'm talking to you, restaurant bread basket!

Scott Mowbray , editor, Cooking Light magazine: I'm about to embark on my second annual "Vegan January" month. I couldn't possibly become a full-time vegan because, in moderation, I just love my Benton's bacon and my aged Gouda. But a month of eating only plants and plant foods is a really good way to focus on new cooking techniques, new spices and flavors. So that's what happens Jan. 2. (I never start these things on New Year's Day!)

Sara Baer-Sinnott , president of Boston-based food think tank Oldways: My healthful eating resolution is to try at least one new recipe each week. And since this is the "Year of the Mediterranean," I'm focusing on recipes from different Mediterranean countries that feature vegetables of the season. In other words, I'll be taking a delicious trip around the Mediterranean, all without security lines and the TSA!

Walter Willett , chairman of the department of nutrition and a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health: I will be aiming to keep my intake of refined starch and sugar as low as possible (zero is optimal); these calories are really bad calories, with no benefit and many harmful metabolic effects. Instead, I will enjoy new ways of putting whole grains into my diet; we don't need many to be highly satisfying.

Mark Bittman , author of "The Food Matters Cookbook: 500 Revolutionary Recipes for Better Living": I'll keep on the path I've put myself on, which is to eat no animal products or highly processed foods before dark. This vegan-until-6 thing has worked for me for four years now, and I see no reason to change it. So I'll save my resolve for talking to other people about why it makes sense.

Joanne Slavin , professor of food science and nutrition at the University of Minnesota and a member of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee: Preparing and sharing food is the secret to happiness. A "healthy" box of no-added-sugar, low-sodium, no-solid-fat "food" will not improve your life.

Nina Gonzalez , freshman at Seton Hill University and advocate for vegetarian choices in school lunchrooms: I plan on eating more frequently in the attempt to keep my blood sugar more regular. I will do this by snacking and spreading out my meals. I'm going to make an effort to keep apples, pears and oranges in my bag. That way I can eat them between meals and on my way to class. At school I am working with the cafeteria staff to introduce a better labeling system. These labels will include all ingredients; symbols on the labels will let individuals more easily identify if the dish is vegetarian or vegan.

Norah O'Donnell , MSNBC's chief Washington correspondent and co-author of the cookbook "Baby Love": My resolution is to laugh more, love more, eat more superfoods like quinoa, and run the D.C. half-marathon in March.

Geoff Tracy , chef and restaurateur and co-author, with wife Norah O'Donnell, of the cookbook "Baby Love": My resolution technique is to tell people I care about what I am trying to achieve. That way you feel accountable to them. Currently, I am training for a half-marathon in March and a 100-mile bike race in July. I get there by going to the gym six times a week and scheduling a competitive road race each month. I include a weight-loss goal of eight ounces per month.

Chris Downie , founder and CEO of SparkPeople: One area our family always tries to keep improving is getting more vegetable servings in our diet. One way we'll do this this year is by involving our kids even more in selecting and cooking foods. Vegetable soups are one of our favorite ways to do this, where each of our boys can select the veggies they'd like to add and throw them into the pot.

© 2011 The Washington Post Company

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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Exercise Can Improve Your Sex Life, But Too Much Does Opposite

Here at Jungle Miami we think a good sex life is important for your health, and we love to exercise, too. So, when we heard that exercise improves your sex life, we couldn't help but share the info. But beware, too much exercise can get you on the little blue pill.

Exercise Can Improve Your Sex Life

Exercise is not only a well-documented means of maintaining muscle and losing fat, recent studies propose that it can also revitalize your sex life.

In a February 1999 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, scientists found that sexual dysfunction is more likely among those with poor physical and emotional health, and plays a major role with negative experiences in sexual relationships and with overall well-being.

Studying sex and exercise

Sexual function is affected by general health, and the more you can do to improve your health by taking good care of yourself, the better your sex life can be. Doctors at the New England Research Institute found that regular, vigorous exercise can be effective at lowering impotence risk. The researchers studied more than 600 middle-aged men who hadn't reported any problems with impotence. After eight years, the men who exercised regularly were less likely to have problems. Vigorous exercise - the equivalent of walking two miles or burning 200 extra calories a day - was most effective.

On the opposite coast, a University of California, San Diego study of 78 healthy but sedentary middle-aged men documented changes when the men were assigned to exercise three to four times a week for one-hour sessions. Overall, the former couch potatoes reported more reliable sexual functioning, more frequent sexual activity and orgasms, and greater satisfaction.

Yet another study, conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health, revealed that men who exercised vigorously for 20 to 30 minutes were about half as likely to have erection problems as inactive men. The scientists in this study also discovered that as a man gained weight, he became more susceptible to experiencing erectile dysfunction (ED).

Women's sex lives can also benefit from regular exercise. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin studied 35 women, ages 18 to 34. On two separate occasions the women first watched a short travel film, followed by an abbreviated X-rated film. To begin with, the subjects cycled vigorously for 20 minutes. The second time they didn't. Researchers calculated their sexual response using a device that measures blood flow in genital tissue, and discovered that the women's vaginal responses were 169 percent greater after exercising.

More to love

Doctors believe that exercise has the effect it does on increasing sexual potency because it strengthens the cardiovascular system and improves circulation. Good circulation is important for sexual function.

Other things that hamper circulation include obesity, smoking or heavy alcohol use, however losing weight and quitting smoking or drinking didn't improve sexual function the way exercise did.

If exercise can do so much for your sex life, shouldn't more be even better? The answer is no, according to the same doctors who did the studies. Heavy exercise can actually decrease testosterone levels, leading to a less-robust sexual appetite. In addition, over-training can compromise the immune system, which could also adversely affect sexual performance. Exercise, while not a panacea, can be just what the doctor ordered for physical and psychological complaints.

Source: ACE - American Council On Exercise