Are You Hydrated?
Are you dehydrated? According to recent studies, almost 75% of Americans are and chronically so. We all know we should drink more water, but do you really know why its so important?
What does water do for the body?
Our bodies are made up of about 60% water, and we need to add more every single day. We can’t live without it. While we can go for weeks without food, we can only go a few days without water. Water is essential for removing toxins, transporting nutrients, aiding digestion, regulating temperature, circulation and absorption. Without this important substance, our organs would cease to work. Here are a few more reasons to stay hydrated:
Lower your risk for some cancers: Water has been found to reduce bladder, colon, and even breast cancer in various studies.
Be kind to your kidneys: Your kidneys are responsible for eliminating waste from your body and also help to control blood pressure and balance fluids. A lack of water causes the kidneys to have to work harder and can lead to kidney stones.
Aids weight loss: Water is essential if you are trying to lose weight. It can take the place of drinks that are high in sugar and will leave you feeling fuller. Drink a glass or two of water 30 minutes before a meal, and you will find you will eat less. A 2010 study found that people who drank two glasses of water before their meals lost five pounds more over three months than those participants who didn’t drink more water. Dehydration can also make you overeat. The feeling of being thirsty is often mistaken for hunger. You grab a snack when what you really need is a drink.
Hydrated skin is clearer skin: When you become dehydrated, your skin suffers. Water helps to remove the toxins from your body. If these toxins remain, it can cause skin to become inflamed and lead to breakouts.
Digestion aid: Water keeps everything moving in your digestive tract. If you are dehydrated, you will be much more likely to experience constipation. Water keeps things flowing smoothly.
Improve your mood: Studies have shown that drinking water can improve your mood. If you are feeling cranky, try a glass of water. You might find that thirst was the reason you were feeling down.
Reduce aches and pains: The cartilage around your joints is made up of 85% water. Without water, this important substance is no longer supple. You can start to experience joint pain. Muscle cramps are also a sign of dehydration.
Feel awake: When you are dehydrated, you can feel tired and sluggish. Being properly hydrated means more focus. If you drink enough water, you will find it easier to be alert, to think clearer, and to concentrate. A recent study in London found that students who were properly hydrated got better test scores.
What are the best sources to stay hydrated?
While plain tap water is the best way to stay hydrated, there are other ways to slip hydration into your day. You can try some foods that are rich in water. Fruits and vegetables such as cucumbers, watermelon, oranges, and strawberries are just a few delicious choices. You can also eat oatmeal, yogurt and soup to add fluids to your diet. Seltzer water and mineral water are also good alternatives. If you like to drink juice, think about diluting it to cut down on the sugar content.
If you are a coffee or tea drinker, don’t think you have to eliminate them. Their diuretic effect isn’t enough to offset the hydration you gain. Alcohol, however, will dehydrate you. If you are going to partake in some adult beverages, slip in a glass of water between each alcoholic drink to offset the dehydrating effects.
Still, water is your best source of hydration. Keep a refillable bottle on your desk and make sure you are having to refill it throughout the day. If you keep a bottle in your purse or in the car, you can keep sipping while on the go. Another tip: drink a glass of water first thing in the morning. This will help your body flush toxins and will fire up your metabolism for the day. It will help your brain to get moving too.
How much should I drink?
There has been a lot of debate on how much water each person really needs. The amount of water you should be drinking every day depends on your age, your activity level, and how much fluid you get through the other things in your diet. There are studies that say half your body weight in ounces is a good rule of thumb (if you weigh 140 pounds, you should be drinking 70 ounces of water a day). There are other studies that stick with the eight glasses a day. A good rule of thumb: you should find yourself urinating frequently and it should be clear in color.
With a few habit changes and a refillable water bottle, you too can be properly hydrated. Your body will thank you for it.
Categories: Health & Fitness