Water is amazing. We should really have a day where we celebrate and honor it...ok maybe we already do. But when you consider all the amazing benefits of water on our well-being it's hard not to get enthused.
Water can reverse the signs of aging, increase energy level and improve our overall health. In fact, water may be the single most important nutrient in our lives. Every system in our body depends on water from removing waste, to regulating body temperature, to lubricating joints, to name just a few. But, not only does water play a vital role in our general well being, it’s also a key component to losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight.
There is still much debate about what constitutes the “proper” amount of water. It really depends on your weight, where you live and how active you are. But as a general rule, you should be drinking at least 64oz a day. You should never feel thirsty. By the time you actually feel thirsty your body is already becoming dehydrated.
Dehydration can be a serious condition leading to a whole host of diseases and even death. Even mild dehydration can sap your energy and make you feel blah. Over time not drinking enough water can alter your body's ability to send accurate food and hunger cues. Being chronically dehydrated causes your body to trigger misleading hunger cues and food cravings when really we just need water. As a result we eat, thinking we’re satisfying our hunger, when really, we were just thirsty.
Water is the key to an efficient metabolism. Here’s how it works: your liver converts stored fat to energy, which means it helps your body burn calories. Another of the liver's duties is to pick up the slack for the kidneys, which need plenty of water to work properly. If the kidneys are water-deprived, the liver has to do their work along with its own, lowering its total productivity. It then can't metabolize fat as quickly or efficiently as it could when the kidneys were pulling their own weight. When this happens, you are setting yourself up to store fat. When your liver, and kidneys, are working well it is a lot easier to get more energy from less food. More energy + less food = weight loss!
It’s true that during the first few days of drinking more water than your body is accustomed to, you're running to the bathroom on a fairly regular basis. This can be very annoying, but it's only temporary.
What's happening is that your body is flushing itself of the water it has been storing throughout all those years of water deprivation. Ironically it's drinking more water that will help eleviate water retention. Your body is striving for balance. So as you continue to give your body all the water it needs, it releases what it doesn't need. Eventually, all the "releasing" of fluids will cease. This is called the "breakthrough point." So don’t give up, the constant bathroom trips do stop, eventually.
Water, plain, clean, simple water, is the best choice. There’s no need to fancy it up with colors and flavors but if you find yourself looking for something more you can always add a lemon or lime slice to your water. Commercially flavored water isn’t inherently bad; you just need to read the labels. Many of them are full of sugar and/or artificial sweeteners.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are also good sources of water. For example, did you realize that oranges are 87% water and cucumbers are 95% water? The more fresh fruits and vegetables you can add to your diet, the more water you are consuming in general.
Water is one of the best "health foods" out there. And not drinking enough water can have a devastating impact on your overall health. Luckily though, the adverse effects of not drinking enough water, both short term and long term, can be reversed easily through adequate water consumption. It’s never too late in the game to change your hydration habits. Some tips to help you along the way to full hydration: