Drinking Water: The Ultimate Health Drink
By Julianne Koritz ©
With oppressive summer heat at hand in much of the U.S.A and droughts in parts of the world, a tall glass of ice water is a true gift to your body and senses. Have you considered the actual role fluids play in your overall well-being? What you drink effects how you feel the rest of the day. Are you the person who craves caffeine in the morning to get started? You may have two cups of coffee before you leave for work in the morning and then after you get to work you may have another cup or two. Then to combat the afternoon drags, do you have a diet soda with caffeine or another cup of coffee to get you through the rest of the day.
Are you thirty right now?
Consider what you had to drink yesterday and jot it down. Now, how much water did you have? Most of us are aware that the health experts state we need 8 fluid cups daily to prevent dehydration symptoms but that can include other beverages. However, if you are thirsty right now, that means you are already at a dehydrated state. Being dehydrated causes your metabolism to malfunction and leads to dehydration symptoms, such as being lethargic and not motivated to work, play or workout.
Dehydration Symptoms include:
- Weight gain
- Water retention
- Dry skin
- Skin blemishes
- Toxicity (in blood)
- Bladder infections
Caffeine Robs Your Body of Fluids
Beverages with caffeine such as coffee, ice tea, and soda are not going to help our body with hydration. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it makes your body flush out fluids. Yes, you go to the bathroom soon after drinking beverages with caffeine. While it is “okay” to drink these beverages, remember they do not help keep you hydrated. To hydrate yourself, it takes 24 hours. Just to drink 16 oz of water when you are thirsty does not bring your body to a state of proper hydration.
Tired? Try Drinking Water!
If you are thirsty, that means you have lost about 2-3% of your body fluids. Remember your body is 70% water. If your weight is 150 pounds and you are thirsty, that means you lost 3 pound of fluids. Just losing 1 – 3% of your body weight causes such symptom such as chronic tiredness, headaches, grouchy and hunger that leads us into another area of concern. What do you do when you are tired? Many people eat when they are tired as taught by their mother while very young. If you have children, you may find yourself feeding your cranky child and noticing that they become more reasonable after being feed. Food does provide some needed fluid but not enough. Eating when you are tire may also contribute to unwanted weight gain. So next time you are feeling tired, try drinking water instead.
Water: Essential for the Body
Now go back and recall how much water you drank yesterday. Congratulations, if you did drink 2 liters of water. For those of you who did not drink enough water, commit to honoring this essential nutrient for your body. Keep a LARGE cup or bottle of water on your desk, take bottled water on your commute, and to the gym. Make it a habit of drinking 20 ounces of water 4 times a day. During periods of extreme heat and humidity, drink more of nature’s greatest health drink.
Copyright © 2003, 2011 by Julianne Koritz. All rights reserved.
Julianne Koritz a licensed dietitian, is the creator and instructor of The Healing Power of Food: Conscious Eating.