Everyone knows that water is essential to survival. It’s one of the few things that we, quite literally, cannot live without. Especially now that summer has come ‘round and, in many places, the heat waves are already upon us. And yet, none of us seem to be drinking enough of this elixir of life. Whether we’re too rushed to fill up a bottle, are always running around clutching our coffee/tea/liquid sugar, or we simply forget to drink altogether, health professionals would probably say that a majority of us are actually dehydrated. On most occasions, we don’t notice this. It’s how we have lived our whole lives, so we think everything is ‘normal’ when, in fact, our moods, energy, mental and physical ability are not at their full potential.
There are honestly endless benefits to staying hydrated. Starting from the outside in, it keeps your skin healthy, elastic, and glowing. ‘Glowing’ sounds like an overstatement, but there is a real vibrancy in the skin of a person who is on top of their water intake. Regular old H2O will help clear up and prevent acne; it does a great job at flushing out the toxins. Your hair and nails will benefit from the hydration as well. They will become less brittle, grow faster and become a whole lot shinier.
When I’m drinking enough water, I immediately have improved stamina and energy. It takes longer for me to get winded and I almost never feel dizzy or lightheaded. I’m also able to focus more easily; my mental clarity is enhanced and I have fewer muscle aches, etc. My body is happy, which in turn makes me happy. I actually feel the dehydration in my throat and lungs when I fail to drain my water bottle. (Is that one just me? Probably just me).
Water is a wonderful start if you’re looking to control or decrease your weight. It is an appetite suppressant, so drinking enough of it will help you stave off that temptation of a second serving or a decadent dessert. Even better, it helps to metabolize fat that is stored in your body so you can shed the lbs.
AND it keeps your body cool. Who doesn’t want that, especially in these months?
There are more benefits. I mean, our bodies are over 50% water! But we still can’t seem to understand how much better life would be if we paid attention to the (healthy) fluids going into our system.
I’ve included a lovely little FAQ section just in case you’re still stumped about the topic (where’s my sarcasm font when I need it?). In all honesty, though, as much as this seems like obvious information, it’s important to remind ourselves.
How much water?
We all know I’m not an expert on… anything. But the latest water news—that I’ve seen, anyway—has been saying that the new rule is half your body weight in ounces daily. So if you weigh 140 lbs, for example, you want to be drinking 70 ounces of water a day. Which sounds crazy, I’ll admit. But if you carry around a 1-liter bottle, you only have to finish it twice. It’s about forming the habit. Once you do, drinking water will be as easy as breathing. You won’t want to go a day without your 70 ounces.
What if I don’t like the taste of water?
Well, first of all, do not even think about tearing open that packet of Crystal Light. Put. It. Away. If you’re putting anything in your water that’s not a whole food or that is caffeinated in any way, it defeats the purpose and doesn’t count towards your daily intake. Grab some lemon. Cucumber. Try it ice cold or room temp. Though I do crave super cold water sometimes, I find room temperature the easiest to swallow copious amounts of. You could even heat it up and then add lemon so it’s more like tea. If you’re into that sort of thing. I’m sure some of you have heard of the warm water with lemon and cayenne pepper trend. It’s a great way to stay hydrated with the added benefits of the lemon and cayenne. They both help to aid in digestion, boost your immune system, and cleanse your body. The cayenne kickstarts your metabolism and helps regulate blood sugar. The lemon destroys bacteria and supports the liver and kidneys in getting rid of toxins (something to think about for the day after your next big rager). It’s best to drink this in the morning, and to use warm water (not hot/boiling) so as not to kill the enzymes in the lemon.
Some counterintuitive advice:
Avoid drinking water with your meals as much as possible. To get a little more science-y than I should be allowed, water will dilute the stomach acid and make it harder to digest the food you’re eating, leading to problems we won’t get into (but do you see the direction in which we’re headed?). It’s a weird dichotomy because water is necessary for digestion, but we are getting enough of it without slinging back a whole glass of water, soda, beer, what have you. Beverages have become an integral part of our meals, but if you cut back a meal at a time, you soon won’t miss it, and will be even more eager to drink water between meals!
OK, I’ve stepped off of my soapbox. Again, I am not a health professional. However, it’s hard to argue against drinking more water; it’s what we are made of. So think ahead, bring a water bottle (preferably reusable) everywhere you go, make it a habit to start right when you get out of bed, and I promise: you WILL notice a change if you drink up!
by Sarah Zickel