Drink for Your Health!

Have you ever wondered why you need to drink water or how much you need to drink?  What about whether you should drink your water ice cold or warmed up?  Will drinking water help promote weight loss?  What is dehydration and how does it affect our bodies?  These are all great questions.  Let’s dive into this topic and explore the many reasons why drinking water is vitally important to healthy living.

Water is essential to life and composes about 70-80 percent of muscle tissue and 10 percent of fatty tissue.  You can live significantly longer without food than you can without water because all internal organs depend upon water to function normally.  However, there is a continuous water loss that occurs through normal bodily functions, and this water that is lost needs to be replaced throughout the day.  Recommendations for amounts of water vary, but a good place to start is with eight 8-ounce glasses a day.  This will need to be adjusted up according to your activity level and heat exposure.

There is some thought surrounding the temperature of the water you should drink, but actually, the most important factor is how much you drink, not the temperature.  Drinking water at whatever temperature you enjoy the most, will encourage you to drink more.  If you enjoy it ice cold, drink it with ice and enjoy.  If you enjoy it at room temperature, it’s even easier.  Keep a container of water with you wherever you go and drink it frequently.  If need be, set reminders to drink your water every hour.

There are many benefits that come from drinking an adequate amount of water each day.  Here are some of them.

1.     Give your energy level a boost - feeling sluggish in the middle of the day?  Drink a glass of water.

2.     Fuel your workouts - help prevent muscle fatigue and cramps, loss of coordination, and increased overall fatigue by staying hydrated.  Your physical performance can suffer with as little as 2% water loss.  Drink water before, during and after exercise.

3.     Help reach your weight loss goals - hunger can be confused with thirst.  When hungry, drink a glass of water first.  Drinking water throughout the day will help to fill you up.  Drinking water before meals will help prevent overeating.

4.     Limit calories - It will help you avoid sugary drinks and limit calories from drinks.  If you are drinking water, you’ll be less likely to drink soda, juice or other drinks that are full of sugar and empty calories.

5.     Improve your cognitive function and mood - hydration is closely linked with brain functions such as working memory and mood.

6.     Reduce the intensity and duration of headaches - drinking water may not prevent headaches but can lessen the severity and duration.

7.     Maintain regular bowel habits - drinking water can help to prevent occasional irregularity and constipation.

8.     Flush toxins from your body through the kidneys – this is especially useful as cold season is upon us.

9.     Stay safe in the heat - dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion or even heat stroke.

10.  Reduce bad breath - bad breath occurs when bacteria builds up in your mouth.  Drinking water flushes some of this bacteria away.

So, what does it mean to be dehydrated?  Dehydration is a deficit of total body water accompanied by a disruption of metabolic processes.  This can occur either through water loss (sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, use of diuretics) or insufficient intake.  One sign of dehydration is thirst.  Never wait until you are thirsty to drink water.  If possible, keep a bottle of water with you to drink throughout your day or schedule times to stop and drink a glass of water.  Drink water before, during and after exercise or exposure to higher temperatures.

Drinking water is not the only way to stay hydrated throughout the day.  There are many foods that contain a high amount of water.  Most of these foods are fruits and vegetables, so by consuming them you’ll be receiving multiple benefits.  Some of the foods highest in water content are cucumbers, broccoli, celery, tomatoes, zucchini, cauliflower, green peppers, spinach, grapefruit, watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, and oranges. 

Decide to make drinking water part of your healthy lifestyle choices.  It’s relatively easy to do and doesn’t have to cost a thing. Staying well hydrated is one of the easiest ways to promote health and well-being.

The team at Enhance Health can help you start or continue on your healthy lifestyle journey.