WATER: The Most Important Life Long Health Aid…Are You Getting Enough?
Our bodies are 67% water. Every time I read this I run to grab another bottle of water and drink it all! So how much water do we really need each day to be at our healthiest, our best looking, and to promote healthy longevity?
We are totally dependent on water; ALL bodily functions require water. Keeping yourself hydrated enables timely and efficient functioning to occur. Dehydration is one of the most common causes of fatigue…even mild dehydration can cause fatigue. It is estimated that almost 66% of Americans are mildly or chronically dehydrated.
Too often water is replaced by other beverages – many laden with sugars, calories and of little or no value nutritionally. This is especially true with today’s young people. The generations that grew up with soda pop have turned to caffeine laden drinks such as designer coffees and teas, sport and energy drinks—everything except plain water—whenever they have a thirst. These diuretic drinks actually drain the body of fluids creating a loss rather than a gain in body water content.
Our metabolism is a chemical process involving energy; by drinking more water we can increase our metabolic rate. In turn, this increase in metabolism will increase calories burned. Sometimes thirst is mistaken for hunger. You may feel cravings and think food when your body actually is requiring water. The next time you have a craving for food, try a glass of water instead. In a few minutes, you might find your hunger is gone. In fact, a new scientific study found that middle-aged and older adults who drank two cups of water before each meal consumed fewer calories and lost more weight.
Most people require 64 ounces of water daily. Those exercising, doing strenuous work, and living in areas with high temperatures should consider drinking even more. If you are dieting it is important to drink more water throughout the day. When exercising drinking additional water will help keep your energy levels up. You could even try adding some flavor enhancer – a squeeze of lemon, a few drops of orange extract, or any number of flavor extracts available…tea without sugar is acceptable too. Eating fruits and vegetables high in water content will also provide fluids and, in addition, will fill your stomach while supplying your body with additional vitamins and minerals without unwanted calories. A healthy diet will always include foods high in water content.
Some of the additional benefits of proper water intake include improved skin tone, appetite regulation and higher energy levels. It helps in reducing cholesterol and regulating blood pressure. It may even reduce the occurrence of headaches, decrease joint pain, and decrease the risk of developing kidney stones while helping to rid toxic wastes from the body.
A word of caution: Don’t go overboard! Electrolyte balances can be reduced by over consumption of water. Low levels of potassium, magnesium and sodium can be harmful. Adding a vitamin/mineral supplement to your diet will help counteract this. People with kidney problems or other conditions requiring the limiting of fluid intake should consult with their doctor for advice on correct amounts to drink.
So you can see that drinking the proper amount of water every day has multiple benefits. Water is readily available, free of calories and a natural way to help maintain health and well being. Make sure you are getting enough.
Until next time,