Sodium is a great mineral that helps to regulate overall balance of vitamins and minerals present in your body. It is a very common misconception that sodium directly leads to bloating. Sodium should be controlled not cut out. Especially when you are low on carbs, as it is responsible for muscle fullness and strong muscle contractions. Being low on carbs stops your muscles drawing fluid into the muscles, and you need sodium to help you keep hydrated. Going too long without it eventually leads to dehydration. Sodium does make you hold water, but when you are training for a contest, doing cardio, tanning and posing, you are losing an enormous amount of sodium in your sweat and urine. This should be replaced through dietary sodium or you will experience cramping, weakness and low blood pressure. Sodium is only your enemy about 24-36 hours away from your show.
I’m finding that, since I started training, I’m constantly hungry. Why is that? Should I worry?
That hunger is normal, and it is a good sign. Training boosts your metabolism, so when you start training, you should feel much hungrier than you did before. Feed that appetite. Your body needs the extra calories, and if you expect to grow, you should eat. Naturally, if you fulfil your cravings with foods high in salt, sugar or unhealthy fats, you are not doing yourself and favours. Eat clean foods and your starving muscles will respond with growth.
If your goal is to lose weight, here are some ways to help you avoid feeling hungry without over indulging and hopefully lose weight in the process.
Get lots of healthy, high-fibre foods in your diet. Most high-fibre foods require more chewing, which helps to satisfy hunger. High-fibre foods are usually bulky so they fill up your stomach faster and can also delay the time it takes your stomach to empty. Also, many high-fibre foods are low in calories, so you can satisfy your hunger with fewer calories. Whole grains, vegetables and fruits are great sources of fibre.
Spread out your calories by eating five to six small meals as opposed to three large ones during the day. If you wait too long for a large meal, you will be starving and tempted to overindulge by the time you eat. Eating more frequent, smaller meals helps keep you full and lets you stay in control.
Slow down when you are eating. It takes our body about 20 minutes to realise that it is full. If you eat quickly, you will consume extra calories while your body is figuring out whether it’s hungry. By the time your body realises it is full, you have already eaten more than you needed. If you eat slowly, your brain will start sending signals to stop eating at the right time. This is another reason to spread your calories out during the day – you won’t be starving when it is time to eat, so you will take your time eating.
Coconuts are one of the richest sources of electrolytes, chlorides, potassium and magnesium with some amount of sugar, sodium and protein. Coconut water has the highest concentration of electrolytes than anything else found in nature. This makes it an excellent source of hydration. The potassium content benefits blood pressure and heart function. Coconut water is also found to have dietary fiber, manganese, calcium, riboflavin and vitamin C. Some research has shown coconuts to have cytokinins which have significant anti aging, anti carcinogenic and anti thrombotic effects.
The water of fresh green coconuts is actually fat free and has zero cholesterol and some studies even go as far as to say that it increases the HDL levels in the body. It is low in fat though rich in vitamins and the potassium level is twice the amount found in bananas. Drinking coconut water helps a person to lose weight as it is low in fat and it keeps a person feeling full and reduces food cravings. It is a storehouse of important nutrients, B-complex vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, thiamin and pyridoxine, and folates. It has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. These help when a person has flu or herpes, both of which are due to viral infections.
Many athletes may want to consider adding coconut water to their post-workout nutrition regime. On a macronutrient level 1 cup of coconut water contains 46 calories, 2 grams of protein, 9 grams of carbs and 1 gram of fat, but the micronutrients give this beverage its health power. It also boasts 252 milligrams of sodium, 600 milligrams of potassium, 60 milligrams of magnesium and 58 milligrams of calcium. Sodium and potassium are critical electrolytes that must be replaced after workouts. Coconut water appears to be more of an effective post-workout recovery drink than Gatorade and other sports drinks.
A study published in the Journal of Physiology Anthropology and Applied Human Science reported subjects consumed coconut water after working out in a heated room and achieving a state of dehydration. The coconut water rehydrated them just as well as a carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage, but was easier to drink and caused no stomach upset. Because it contains fewer calories than sports beverages, try mixing your post-workout protein(s) with coconut water to improve recovery.
Coconut water is generally recommended during pregnancy as it helps in constipation, heart burn and slow digestion. The lauric acid present in coconut water has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, which boost the body’s immune system.
Tender coconut water is very beneficial to a person with kidney stones due to its minerals, potassium and magnesium content. This water also acts as a diuretic as it increases the flow and production of urine. Most urologists recommend coconut water every alternate day as it can reduce the size of kidney stones and even help eliminate them.
Also coconut water is wonderful for the skin. When coconut water is applied to affected skin areas with acne, spots, wrinkles, stretch marks, cellulite and eczema and left overnight for two to three weeks, it clears up the skin and gives you a youthful-looking smooth skin. It can be applied to hands and nails for its smoothening and repairing properties.
Practically everything in the grocery aisles is prepared with salt. If you are sticking to a clean eating diet and choosing items that are in the most natural state possible you are doing very well. For those of you who are still reaching for prepared meals and packaged meals because you don’t have the time to make everything you eat from scratch, be wary. Too much sodium raises blood pressure, leading to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke no matter how much training you do. Lowering your sodium intake not only helps to prevent heart and stroke ailments, but it also reduces the risk of kidney stones.