The Oil in Our Engines
Did you know that 60 percent of our body is composed of water, and that water makes up 75 percent of our muscles and 85 percent of our brains? In fact, water is often described as the oil that runs our engines–without it, we stop running.
Water is the biggest component of our bodies; it is necessary for us to digest and absorb nutrients, and to detoxify our livers and kidneys. And you should know, sugary drinks do not have the same healthy, hydrating impact as water does—not even close.
A few summers ago I served as a judge for the Mendocino County Public Health’s Rethink Your Drink contest. While judging, I had the opportunity to try many different infused waters (water with slices of fruits, vegetables and/or herbs), and I have to say, they were really tasty.
The Rethink Your Drink campaign focused on replacing sugary sodas with healthier choices, like water and water-based drinks, including tea and even lemonade. Like most people, I knew sodas and sports drinks weren’t good for me, but I learned just how damaging these drinks can be to our health—especially for kids.
If you read the labels of sodas or sports drinks, you won’t usually find “sugar,” instead you’ll see one of these other names for sugar: Dextrose, Lactose, Sucrose, Fructose, Glucose, Levulose, Maltose, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Maple Sugar, Turbino, Mannitol, Molasses, Milk Sugar, Maltodextrin, Sorbitol, Honey, Xylitol, Invert Sugar, Maltitol, Evaporated Cane Juice, and Brown Rice Syrup.
According to the Rethink Your Drink campaign, the average California teenager drinks 39 pounds of sugar from sugary drinks every year! And it’s not just young people: did you know that a 154-pound adult would have to walk for nearly an hour to burn off the calories in a 20-ounce cola?
I’m thinking I’d rather have a glass of water–it’s the oil my engine needs to stay in good working order.
In addition to drinking water, another healthy activity is regular exercise. Did you know that exercise could reduce your likelihood of getting cancer or even beating it once you have it? Scientists now say that appropriate exercise under professional supervision before, during or after treatment can significantly increase a person’s odds of beating cancer.
If you’d like to know more, go to www.abc.net.au/catalyst/ and search for the video on exercise and its effects on cancer. It’s a great example of how a little hard work (especially when paired with plenty of water) can really make the difference in our health.
Since being healthy should be a life-long endeavor, it’s better to make little, sustainable changes, rather than big, dramatic changes that are hard to keep up over the long run. HealthyMendocino.org launched a great resource guide called, “Small Steps to Big Changes.” The website lists local resources where folks can find ideas to improve their overall health and wellness a little bit at a time.
The idea is simple: the program provides opportunities for people to take small steps towards healthy alternatives. Over time, these small steps will add up to BIG changes! If you visit healthymendocino.org/smallsteps, you’ll find health and wellness resources from all over Mendocino County–everything from walking trails and healthy eating workshops to whale watching spots, fitness retreats, and dance classes.
Want to know where to go on a hike with the family? Or maybe where you can find a dog park or play a little disc golf? It’s right there in the Move More section.
Want to take a cooking class or figure out where to find a farmer’s market for healthy organic food? Or maybe you’d like to find a local food bank. It’s all right there in the Eat Well section.
There is something for everyone at this great website.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.