Do I REALLY Have to Drink Water?
Yes. You do. We all know that drinking water is important, but the reasons why are not always so clear. And with so many other beverages at your finger tips, it’s easy to bypass the plain, boring water unless you really have a buy in as to why it’s so necessary.
Reasons Why You Should Drink Water
- Weight loss- Drinking water is one of the best tools for weight loss! First of all, it often replaces high-calorie drinks like soda and juice and alcohol with a drink that doesn’t have any calories. But it’s also a great appetite suppressant, and often when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty. Water has no fat, no calories, no carbs, no sugar.
- Heart healthy -Drinking water, a good amount of water, could lower your risks of a heart attack. A six-year study published in the May 1, 2002 American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who drink more than 5 glasses of water a day were 41% less likely to die from a heart attack during the study period than those who drank less than two glasses.
- Energy – Being dehydrated can sap your energy and make you feel tired — even mild dehydration of as little as 1 or 2 percent of your body weight. If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated — and this can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness and other symptoms.
- Headache cure- Another symptom of dehydration is headaches. In fact, often when we have headaches it’s simply a matter of not drinking water enough. There are lots of other causes of headaches of course, but dehydration is a common one.
- Healthy Skin- Drinking water can clear up your skin and people often report a healthy glow after drinking water. It won’t happen overnight, of course, but just a week of drinking a healthy amount of water can have good effects on your skin.
- Digestive problems- Our digestive systems need a good amount of water to digest food properly. Often water can help cure stomach acid problems, and water along with fiber can cure constipation (often a result of dehydration).
- Cleansing- Water is used by the body to help flush out toxins and waste products from the body.
- Cancer risk- Related to the digestive system item above, drinking water has also been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45%. Drinking lots of water can also reduce the risk of bladder cancer by 50% and potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer.
- Better exercise- Being dehydrated can severely hamper your athletic activities, slowing you down and making it harder to lift weights. Exercise requires additional water, so be sure you are drinking water before, during and after exercise.
How Much Water is Enough?
To figure out how much water you need to drink daily, simply divide your weight in half and the answer is the number of ounces you need. So for me, that’s 114/2=57 oz. which is seven 8 oz glasses per day. If you’ve never measured out your water, be sure you do! Most people think a ‘glass’ of water is much more than it actually is. (hint: it’s more like the short glass, not the tall one)
When Should I drink my Water?
The best time for drinking water may not be what you expect. Most of us are in the habit of having a glass of water with our meals, but this is actually not the best time for water intake. At meal time, your stomach is filled with digestive acids and enzymes who’s job it is to digest your food. If you dilute those acids and enzymes, they will not be able to digest your food as efficiently, slowing or disrupting your digestion. Cold water makes this problem even worse. It is recommended that you avoid drinking water (or other fluids) 30 minutes before or after your meals. A few sips of room temperature water to help wash down your bites is ok, just avoid large amounts.
My daily water intake schedule goes like this:
- One warm glass of water with fresh lemon juice first thing in the morning, followed by my workout and additional glass of water throughout. Wait 20 min while prepping breakfast….
- Breakfast. Wait 30 min then…
- Water, at least 16 oz.
- Water, at least 16 oz.
- Water, at least 8-10 oz (can’t drink too much before bed!!)
What’s This I Hear About Lemon Water?
Warm lemon water in the morning helps kickstart the digestion process for the day. There are many health benefits of lemons that have been known for centuries. The two biggest are lemons’ strong antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting powers and their use as a weight loss aid because lemon juice is a digestive aid and liver cleanser. Lemons contain many substances–notably citric acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, pectin, and limonene–that promote immunity and fight infection.
HOW TO DO IT: You should be using purified water and it should be warm-lukewarm not scalding hot. You want to avoid ice cold water, since that can be a lot for your body to process and it takes more energy to process ice cold water than the warm. Always use fresh lemons, organic if possible, never bottled lemon juice. I squeeze 1/2 a lemon with each glass and I drink it down first thing before I eat a single thing, or workout, etc.
Can I Add Anything to My Water?
There are lots of great things that you are free to add to your water to give it some interest for fun or if you are having trouble with plain water. Here’s some suggestions:
- Give a Squeeze: Add fresh citrus juice, lemon, orange or lime
- Infuse: Fill a large jug with water, add sliced fruit (try citrus, berries, melon or pineapple); refrigerate overnight.
- Leaf It: Tear up some fresh mint or basil leaves and steep in water before drinking.
- Cuke It: Add sliced cucumber!
- Tea Time: Any herbal tea is a great way to add flavor and can be served hot or cold.
What About Coffee and Caffeinated Teas?
Having a small cup of coffee or caffeinated tea is acceptable while eating clean. It’s the stuff you put IN your coffee that’s often the problem. Too much caffeine however has some nasty side effects so limit your intake to about 200 mg (2 small cups max). Remember that caffeinated coffee and teas like Green or White are ok once or twice, the teas are actually quite beneficial, but the caffeine acts as a diuretic, so you will need to add a little extra water to compensate.
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