Water Helps You Slim Down
Drinking water benefits the body in a variety of ways. Sipping cold water increases your metabolism and can help with weight loss. The body has to expend more energy to increase temperature after drinking cold H2O. This means you burn more calories. In one study, overweight young women were instructed to drink about 2 cups of cold water a half hour before breakfast, lunch, and dinner for eight weeks. By the end of the study, the women experienced weight loss, a lower body mass index, and improved body composition scores. Water also makes a great replacement for beverages that are high in sugar and calories like soft drinks and juice. Replace these beverages with water on the cool side to help your waistline.
H2O Fights Fatigue
Mild dehydration has negative effects on mood and energy levels. About two-thirds of the human body is comprised of water, so dehydration affects most of the body's functions. In studies, dehydration has been associated with increased fatigue, anger, and confusion as well as mood problems and decreased vigor. You need to be well hydrated for your cells to work properly. Drinking water also helps maintain a healthy heart rate and blood pressure. You need adequate fluid to produce lymph, an important bodily fluid and component of the immune system. All systems of the body work better in a water-rich environment. Drink water steadily throughout the day to avoid dehydration. If you wait until you feel thirsty, you are probably already dehydrated. Try some lemon water if plain water is not appealing to you.
H2O Improves Your Mood
Dehydration is known to contribute to stress. Fatigue, anger, negative mood, and cognitive problems all increase when you're dehydrated. Stay ahead of stress and sip water throughout the day. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times and drink every half hour or hour during the day. You'll be less likely to get dehydrated and feel stressed. Remember, don't wait until you feel thirsty to drink. Thirst occurs when you're already dehydrated.
Drink Enough Water Before Activity
Adequate hydration is a boon to workouts. Drinking water helps you work out longer and avoid muscle cramps. Water helps lubricate joints in the body. Not sure how much water you need to drink while working out? That depends on a variety of factors including your weight, how much you sweat, your activity level, and the weather. However, a good rule of thumb is that you should drink 5 to 10 ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes while you exercise. Drink 2 to 2 1/2 cups of water every 2 hours prior to exercise to make sure you go into your workout well hydrated. If you sweat a lot, it may be a good idea to consume water that contains electrolytes (substances that the body needs to function properly, like sodium and potassium). Lemon water or water infused with other fruit flavors is also a good option to stay hydrated.
Water Fights Wrinkles
Drinking adequate water helps plump up skin cells, which minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles so you look younger. Water also supports detoxification and helps flush toxins and impurities out of the body that dull your complexion. Stay well hydrated to support good circulation and blood flow, all of which will help your skin glow. If you don't like the taste of plain water, add a little lemon juice to make it more palatable. Vitamin C in citrus fruit is an antioxidant that fights skin-damaging free radicals and supports healthy collagen, a major component in skin. Along with drinking enough water, eat fruits and vegetables high in polyphenols and flavonoids to boost skin health. Sipping warm, vitamin C rich lemon water is believed to help you detoxify, which will help your skin glow.
Health Benefits for Your GI Tract
Water and fiber work together to keep you regular and avoid constipation. Water dilutes waste and helps eliminate toxins from the gastrointestinal tract. Water and fiber bulk up stools and make them easier to pass. Hydrate and make sure you're getting adequate fluids every day to stay regular. If you do become dehydrated, stools will become hard, dry, and more difficult to pass. Squeeze a little lemon juice into plain water to make it more palatable. Foods and beverages containing probiotics, like kombucha, are also a boon to digestive health. One of the side effects of consuming too much sodium or fiber without enough water is bloating. Drink more water or sip peppermint tea to eliminate bloating. Be extra mindful of taking in more fluids if you develop diarrhea. Significant dehydration and loss of important electrolytes may occur if diarrhea, vomiting, or both are present. The absorption of fluid and nutrients is decreased when diarrhea occurs. Severe cases of dehydration may require IV fluid replacement.
No More Kidney Stones
More and more people are developing kidney stones. Staying well hydrated can help prevent the formation of stones. Water dilutes salts and minerals that might otherwise concentrate in the kidneys and become stones. The kidneys serve important functions in the body like maintaining water levels, regulating blood pressure, and filtering waste. Watch your sodium intake if you are concerned about kidney stones. Sodium increases calcium levels in the urine. Drinking warm lemon water when you first get up in the morning is a healthy habit that benefits not just your kidneys but also your overall health. Urine pH affects the formation of kidney stones. Acidic urine promotes the formation of some types of stones, while alkaline urine encourages the formation of different stones. Citric acid and calcium citrate are protective against the formation of kidney stones. How do you know if you are drinking enough water to take good care of your kidneys? Your urine should be a pale-yellow color. If it is darker, you may be dehydrated. If it is colorless, you may be overhydrated.
Follow Some General Guidelines
Many people think you should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. There really is no evidence to back that up, but it's an easy approximate amount to remember. The amount of water you should drink every day depends on a variety of factors including your weight, activity level, the weather, and how much you sweat. In reality, people meet their daily fluid requirements by drinking water and other beverages. We also get water from food that we eat. People get about 80% of their daily fluids from drinking water and other beverages. About 20% of total water comes from food. In general, an adult woman needs approximately 11 cups of total water per day from food and beverages. An adult man needs approximately 15 1/2 cups of total water per day. Caffeinated beverages have a slight diuretic effect. Of course, if you are thirsty, you need to drink more fluids. Adequate hydration aids in weight loss and has numerous other healthy benefits.
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- UConn Korey Stringer Institute: "Hydration."
- Duke University Recreational and Physical Education: "The Importance of Hydration."
- Clinics in Sports Medicine: “Water and Electrolyte Requirements for Exercise.”
- Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research: “Effect of ‘Water Induced Thermogenesis’ on Body Weight, Body Mass Index and Body Composition of Overweight Subjects.”
- Linus Pauling Institute: “Flavonoids and Skin Health.”
- The National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine: “Dietary Reference Intakes: Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate.”
- Nutrition Reviews: “Water, Hydration and Health.”