Friday, May 19, 2017

Drink More Water

I talk to many people who tell me they "just don't like water". Now, I'm a huge fan of water, in fact before I even thought twice about the impact it made on my health, I didn't drink much beyond water and coffee. My kids grew up without soda and very rarely drank juice. For the most part, my whole family drinks water without much of an issue.

So, let's start off with exactly how much you need a day. The old adage of eight 8 ounce glasses a day isn't completely correct. That would total 64 ounces and if you're an adult, that's perfectly fine if you weight 128 pounds. Yep, about half an ounce of water for each pound of weight. If you weigh 200 pounds that's 100 ounces. If you weigh 150 pounds, that's 75 ounces and so on. Here's the trick though, those are minimum amounts based on weight and activity. If you're living in a hotter climate or exercising more, you need more. Anywhere from 1/2 an ounce to 1 ounce per pound of body weight is a good rule of thumb.

Now, how about WHY you need water?

  • You can't live without it! Humans can live 3 weeks without food, but far less without water - 3 to 5 days! 
  • Water boosts your metabolism. Metabolism is a series of chemical reactions and water keeps that process running smoothly so you get a fat burning boost from drinking water.
  • Water helps prevent kidney stones. Dehydration causes calcium and other stone forming chemicals to settle in your kidneys. Drinking water keeps things moving.
  • It prevents migraines and helps keep you alert. Again, dehydration causes tiredness and even migraines.
  • You eat less when you drink more! Sometimes our body isn't asking for food, but water! The next time you think you're hungry, drink a glass or two of water first.
  • Your joints hurt less. Water keeps cartilage supple and soft, easing joint pain.
  • Water makes your skin more supple and clearer. Bright, glowy skin comes from the inside! Drink lots of water to look your best.
  • Prevents constipation. Water keeps your digestive system running smoothly so there's less chance of constipation.

Can you drink too much water? The answer to this is yes, but it's not likely.  When your kidneys can't rid themselves of excess water, the electrolytes (mineral) in your blood is diluted, and low sodium levels lower - this is called hyponatremia.

What else can I drink or eat to make sure I'm hydrated? If you're already drinking coffee in the morning, that's fine, but don't overdo. Many fruits and vegetables contain a lot of water and are great for hydrating beyond just plain water! Cucumbers, lettuce, watermelon and celery are great examples. Sports drinks are OK, but overdoing these can lead to fluctuations in electrolytes that aren't good for the body. Coconut water is low in carbs and high in potassium - unsweetened is great for hydrating.

How do you know for sure that you're drinking enough?  Check your urine. If it's pale yellow or clear, you're good to go! (no pun intended) If it's dark and smells strong, you need to drink more!

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