Nutrition & Health

5 Foods to keep you hydrated in Bangkok

April and May are Bangkok’s hottest months with dehydration creeping up on all of us. Expect to see the heat reach 38c this week which will feel much closer to 37c>  when you add the humidity and pollution.

 

You won’t be able to go outside for more than a few minutes before your clothes are soaked in sweat, wishing that you would have stayed in your room next to your air-con unit.

Expats who move to Thailand don’t realize the importance of staying hydrated in Thailand. If you just woke up or spent your last few hours outside then there’s a good chance you’re dehydrated right now.

 

Many expats who move to Thailand suffer from constant fatigue, migraines, constipation and fogginess for years without exactly knowing why.

 

Asides from a poor diet, the biggest concerning factor to the symptoms above is dehydration.

 

Do you think consciously about being hydrated in Bangkok? In today's article we're going to reveal how to know if you're dehydrated and the best foods to remedy the situation.

 

Signs of dehydration in Bangkok

Many people believe that if your body is becoming dehydrated you become thirsty, however this is not always the case.

 

There are five key signs you should look out for to spot dehydration in the tropics, they are:

  • Dark yellow urine
  • Headaches
  • Sleepiness
  • Feelings of nausea or fatigue
  • Irritability

Have you ever wondered why your pee in the morning is dark yellow?

 

It's because you didn't drink any water during your sleep and your body is in need of water.

 

If you don’t take the necessary steps each morning to correctly hydrate yourself, your interactions at work, the gym or your daily wanderings around Bangkok will feel extremely tiresome and difficult.

 

Okay then, so what foods and drinks should you consume along with water?

 

Rehydration is more than just drinking water, your body needs to replenish electrolytes and minerals which are lost through perspiration.

 

1. Watermelon (that do not contain added sugar)

Fruits are a great source of water, with watermelon ranking as one of the best sources due to its high water (92%) and mineral content:

 

(Source)

Every bite of watermelon contains potassium, magnesium and phosphorus which are key minerals to hydrating and balancing your body’s internal system.

 

Just remember to choose your Thai watermelon from a trusted source, as many are injected with sugar which can increase dehydration!

2. Cucumbers

Cucumbers are on average around 96.7% water, contain vitamins A, B and C and acts as a catalyst to help flush toxins out of your body.

 

Cucumbers in Thailand are inexpensive and can be found in almost all supermarkets in Bangkok.

3. Broth Soup

Broth is made from simmering bones in water over a prolonged period of time, this process extracts minerals from the bones into the water (and tastes great too!)

 

Eating broth soup is arguably the tastiest way to stay hydrated in Thailand.

 

When your body is dehydrated it requires sodium (salt) to replenish what has been depleted, broth soups do a wonderful job of that.

 

You should be able to find broth soup at every street vendor cart that sells noodles, but chances are they are loaded with high amounts of MSG and too much added sodium that may end up having a negative effect on your body (bloat, tiredness, fatigue).

 

We always advise making your own broth when possible so you can control the amount of sodium that goes into each soup.

 

The best is always to make your own broth at home the way you like it, but if you don't have the time to make your own broth, you can find chicken and veal broth at our Paleo Grocery that is packed with hearty goodness.

 

4. Bananas

While they don't look like they contain much water, bananas are in fact  74% water and native to Southeast Asia making them plentiful and cheap.

 

(Source)

 

Bananas are one of your best options for replacing lost electrolytes as they are high in potassium, magnesium and manganese which your body excretes in Thailand’s unforgiving heat.

5. Coconut water

Don’t be fooled by the Gatorade bottles claiming they are the perfect sports drink or that they will hydrate you.

 

The mass majority of sports drink you find at the are high in HFCS (processed high fructose corn syrup, bad sugar):

 

(Source)

Coconut water on the hand is lower in sugar (unprocessed) and rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and sodium which are all in their natural form.

 

If you can, drinking directly from the coconut is best and tastiest. If you’d like a more convenient way to drink coconut water, you can find organic coconut water from Maprao for as little as 40b per bottle at our Paleo Grocery.

 

Foods that increase dehydration

How do you avoid getting dehydrated in the first place aside from spending time in the sun? Reduce your intake of the following:

 

Coffee - We've all heard that caffeine in coffee acts as a diuretic and can result in dehydration, while this is true the effect it has is quite minimal unless you're drinking more than one coffee per day, or are drinking them with little water (espressos).

 

Limit your coffee intake to 1 cup per day.

 

Fried Foods - Most fried foods are processed and extremely high in salt, if you're eating fried food daily you can quickly go over your daily allowance of salt in a single meal and trip your body into dehydration directly after eating.

 

All dishes used in our Meal Plan are a great alternative to fried foods.

 

Soy sauce - A story published not so long ago told a story about a teenager who consumed too much soy sauce and ended up in a coma which almost killed him.

 

 

Doctors believed the excess salt he consumed from the sauce resulted in a condition called hypernatremia due to the excessive salt intake.

 

Be watchful of the condiments you use for your foods, many are high in sugars and salts which combined with the tropical heat of Thailand can quickly dehydrate your body.

Are electrolytes sachets worth buying?

If you’ve stayed in Bangkok for any prolonged period of time you will know someone who swears by the use of electrolyte sachets you can find at the 7-Eleven and almost all pharmacies.

 

They cost around 7-13b and they are meant to be consumed when dehydrated or after exercise, but are they really effective?  

 

In most cases no, they are merely a cheaper version of a sugary sports drinks that is condensed into powder form.

Unless you’re suffering from severe dehydration, you will be fine sticking to the 5 items listed above.

Summary

Do not underestimate the seriousness of dehydration, the effects of eating the wrong foods or not consuming enough water is compounded several times over in Thailand due to the excessive heat.

 

One study found that 75% of all Americans are dehydrated and we strongly suspect the number in Thailand to be something similar if not higher due to the tropical climate.

 

If you've had headaches for months or often feel lethargic or tired - are you drinking enough water in Thailand?

 

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5 Super Foods In Thailand You Aren’t Eating But Should

A few weeks ago we listed 5 potentially harmful foods that could seriously damage your health if you ate them on a daily basis.

 

In this article we’re doing the exact opposite and reveal 5 Thai super foods you can find almost anywhere in Thailand that you never eat, but should.

 

1. Seaweed

Seaweed has been dubbed a ‘superfood‘ by many and as of late become very popular in western countries.
 
seaweed
 
(Source)
 
Seaweed is packed with vitamin B12, fiber and iodine.
 

Studies reveal that around 40% of the world’s population are at risk of iodine deficiency, which can lead to future health problems in young children (dried seaweed from the 7-Eleven doesn’t count).

How To Avoid Getting Bitten By Mosquitos In Thailand

 

Reading Time: 4 minutes.

While rainy season is officially over, getting dengue fever in Thailand is still a potential risk. This year alone more than 42,000 people have been infected by the virus and has resulted in more than 35 deaths in Thailand alone.

 

The dengue fever virus is transmitted by mosquitoes and can lead to vomiting, high fever, headaches, fatigue, and several other nasty symptoms which can last for several weeks and sometimes even lead to death.

 

In today’s article, you will learn:

  1. Why Thailand mosquitoes are attracted to certain people
  2. Why pregnant women are at greater risk to mosquito bites
  3. Which parts of the body they bite the most and why
  4. Why you should never use DEET spray
  5. How to make a homemade mosquito trap in under 1 minute.

1. Why Thailand mosquitoes love to bit you

If you’ve spent any amount of time in a tropical country you’ll know that mosquitoes like certain people more than others.

Cooking with the real thing

 

praise-the-lard

Coconut oil is fantastic, and olive oil richly deserves all its good press. But they’re not the only Paleo fat choices around! In fact, some of the best Paleo-friendly fats might be right under your nose: animal fats.

Animal fat, of course, has a terrible reputation, but like all the rest of the low-fat myth, it’s completely undeserved. Fat, including saturated fat, from healthy pastured animals does not cause heart disease, cancer, high cholesterol, obesity or anything else. Chalk up one more point for traditional wisdom: the fats our grandparents and great-grandparents cooked with are good for us after all.

Why choose animal fat?

When you have jars of olive or coconut oil available in every store, why would you want to go for something “weird” like tallow or lard?

  • It’s usually cheaper. Many farmers will literally give it away, because nobody wants it. With the rest of the world still terrified that looking sideways at a spoon of lard will give them heart disease, mass quantities of animal fat are yours for the taking.
  • It’s delicious. Soybean and canola oil aren’t just unhealthy; they’re also a crime against taste buds everywhere. The right fat will do wonders for your cooking, and make even ordinary dishes taste like amazing indulgences. There’s a reason why duck fat French fries are so legendary.
  • It has health benefits. For example, here’s one paper where beef tallow increased the power of conjugated linoleic acid in fighting mammary tumors. This study is extremely interesting. A 10% beef tallow diet was carcinogenic, but when 1% conjugated linoleic acidwas added, the diet became anti-carcinogenic. This may suggest that pasture-raised tallow (which naturally contains conjugated linoleic acid) is significantly more healthful than factory-farmed tallow.

In this study, beef tallow helped subjects absorb Vitamin A better than sunflower oil. In this study, feeding either lard or tallow to alcoholic rats reduced liver damage dramatically compared to corn oil.

It’s hard to find studies in human subjects, or studies where animal fats were given without massive doses of soy or corn oil alongside, but the data we do have is encouraging.

Lard

Lard is the fat from a pig; both the raw and the rendered fat are called lard.

Raw fat: will be white to pale pink. It may have scraps of meat, connective tissue, or skin clinging to it (hey, you’re buying a part of something that was once alive; it’s not going to look 100% perfect all the time).

Rendered fat: should be pure white to very pale warm cream color. It’s solid at room temperature, but soft – around the consistency of butter.

How to cook it: lard is irresistible melted on top of a baked sweet potato (as a replacement for butter), or use it to cook any pork dish for extra flavor.

Fat composition:

Saturated

39%

Monounsaturated

45%

Polyunsaturated

11%

Suet or Tallow

Suet or tallow is the fat from a cow. Suet is the raw fat; tallow is the rendered fat.

Raw fat: will be white to pale yellow, crumbly, and very light for its size. It may have scraps of meat, connective tissue, or skin clinging to it.

Rendered fat: should be white to cream-colored. Because it’s highly saturated, it’s hard and brittle at room temperature. You can’t scoop it, and to cut it you’ll need a sharp knife. If this is a pain in the neck, you can pour your rendered tallow into an ice cube mold while it’s still hot and liquid; it will solidify in the cubes and you can pop them out to cook with one at a time.

How to cook it: tallow is one of the most stable cooking fats this side of coconut oil. Because it has a relatively high amount of saturated and a relatively low amount of polyunsaturated fat, it’s ideal for high-heat cooking. It has a very mild beef flavor, and it’s tasty with almost any kind of vegetables or eggs.

 

Fat composition:

Saturated

50%

Monounsaturated

42%

Polyunsaturated

4%

Duck fat

Both the raw and the rendered fat are simply called “duck fat,” although rendered is much more common to find in stores.

Raw fat: typically comes attached to a duck. Should be white to pale yellow or pink. Feels soft and slightly greasy.

Rendered fat: solid but soft at room temperature, around the consistency of butter. Should be a creamy white.

How to cook it: Duck fat is the Cadillac of animal fats – it’s so decadent you almost want to eat it straight from the spoon. Try roasting parsnips or other starchy root vegetables in it for a delicious treat. Alternately, try a confit.

Fat composition:

Saturated

33%

Monounsaturated

49%

Polyunsaturated

13%

Summing it Up

Animal fat is healthy, delicious, and economical. It just doesn’t make sense to butcher a cow, throw out huge chunks of perfectly good fat, and then buy more cooking fat to brown your meat with! And animal fat is also delicious in a way “vegetable oil” just can’t match – try it once, and you’ll never go back to tasteless junk fat again.

Look in the fats section of our online grocery store for lard from free-range pigs and tallow(un-rendered) from pasture-fed cows.

Article originally from paleoleap.com by Sebastian Noel

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