Most people don’t know it, but our bodies are made up of about 75% water. By simply adding more water to our diets we could seriously improve our health and quality of life. Numerous studies published by doctors, physicians, and independent research groups have shown if we drink more water every part of our body will appreciate it. Many people know that water is good for them, but what most of us fail to recognize is how good it really is for us!
Health Benefits of Water
According to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, not only will proper hydration of the body improve our outward appearance but it can also help boost your energy (dehydration causes fatigue), aid in weight management, and help flush the body of toxins more readily. Increased water intake in the diet will also help improve liver and kidney functions, as well as help control stress and acne, among many benefits.
Water is in every part of our bodies but we have to replenish it periodically, and this means we have to drink water. In our society today it may be popular to carry around that token bottle of water, but how many of us are actually drinking the water? And besides, how much water is enough? Contrary to popular belief you don’t really need 8 glasses a day. In fact some of us may only need 2 or 3 glasses each day to keep adequately hydrated. Your personal water requirement really depends on your body chemistry, activity level, and diet.
How Much Water Do You Really Need?
By now most people know you should drink water when you’re out in the sun, exercising, or expending a lot of energy because these are the times when you loose the most water from your body. But, your body may be thirsting long before you even realize it. Luckily there’s a very simple way to determine if you’re getting enough water; your urine. Yes, your urine; pee, wee-wee, number oneÃ¢Â?Â¦Ã¢Â?Â¦whatever you call it. If your urine is dark yellow to an amber color you are definitely not getting enough water. The solution is to drink more water. Your urine should be very light yellow in color as this indicates you are sufficiently hydrated.
Getting Into the Habit of Drinking Water
Water is not only good for your body but it is natural and often free! Determine how much water you need and stick to it. Typically most people will need between 5 and 8 glasses a day, although it may be less for some of us. It’s also important to not wait until you are thirsty to drink. If you are thirsty it is a sign from your body that you have already lost most of your water. When this happens drink more water than usual so you can become hydrated immediately.
If you are like most people, you’re probably finding it hard to get a good amount of water into your diet, but it’s easier than you think. All you have to do is incorporate drinking water into your daily routine. Try drinking a glass first thing in the morning and last thing at night, a glass after every meal, a glass before and after work, or when you get home at night. There are lots of places in your day to squeeze in a glass or two here and there. You can also derive water from some foods like iceberg lettuce, melons, cucumbers, and apples. Try to include foods like these that have high water volumes to your daily diet and your need to drink water all day will decrease.
Can I Substitute Other Things for Water?
The main thing to remember about water is that fruits, vegetables, and other drinks don’t count as much as you think they do. Fruits and vegetables are not only a good source of water but they also provide nutrients. Although many fruits and vegetables are compromised of 75% or more water, but you shouldn’t substitute them for the real thing. Sometimes you just need a plain old glass of water. When it comes to other drinks like juice, coffee, soda, or energy drinks you can get a small percentage of water, but more often than not the additives like sugar and caffeine counteract the health benefits of the water itself. In fact, sometimes the added flavors, sugars, and preservatives can cause health problems of their own.
What About Good Old Tap Water?
These days everyone carries around a bottle of water, they sell it in all the stores, and you can even get it in the vending machine next to coke. But, do you have to drink bottled water? Whatever happened to good ole tap water? When I was a kid there was no such thing as bottled water. You couldn’t go into a store and buy water like you would buy soda, but today it’s everywhere. Like a lot of people I know, I wonder if bottled water is so much better for you than straight tap. In today’s world, more often than not it is safer to drink bottled water over tap.
When I was a kid we had a spring that supplied our water to the house. Even in the hot stillness of summer our water was always clean and ice cold. I still remember the brain freeze I always got from drinking the water too fast. Today, many homes have city or municipal water and you never know what else is coming out of the tap other than water. Many towns and cities add supposed “minerals” like fluoride and chlorine to the fresh water supply. Not only are these additives dangerous to your health but can cause dental problems as well. Tap water has also been found to contain many other soluble chemicals like mercury, gasoline additives, and pesticides that build up due to rain water run off.
If you want to drink your tap water you should do more than just buy a crappy faucet filter. You should have your water tested to see exactly what’s in it, and if it’s really something you want to expose yourself or your family to. You may be surprised what you find in your municipal tap water! Contrary to popular belief, fluoride is not healthy and does not promote good dental health. Perform a simple internet search of Dental Fluorosis and you will see for yourself. Also, you should look up the side effects of long term exposure to chlorine which can be found on a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).
But, don’t be fooled by bottled water! Many brands of bottled water are not only expensive but unnecessary, and some can actually be harmful when drank in large portions. This is typical of sports drinks, energy drinks, and fitness water that often have added minerals, electrolytes, and nutrients. It’s called over supplementation and it can happen quite easily if you are especially health minded, like taking a daily vitamin along with repeated over use of “enhanced” water. Flavoring can also add unnecessary calories, preservatives, or sugars. If you want to “taste” your water go natural by adding some fruit or herbs.
So what should you know about bottled water? There are several kinds and no two are the same, or taste the same. You can choose from spring water, purified, sparkling, or distilled but which one is the best? For most people it comes down to how the water tastes. Bottled water comes from many different sources and they all have very different water chemistry. If you’re like me you think bottled water is generally the best, and you probably have tried many brands, as have I. Personally, I like Fiji, Voss, or Glaceau Smart Water. I thought the worst tasting ones were Dannon, Poland Spring, and Propel Fitness. Evian, Aquafina, and Dasani were all okay but only when cold.
Generally I keep regular store brand water for making ice cubes and cooking. I drink the more expensive bottled water instead of using tap water, or opting for the cheap brand. Because our bodies are made up mostly of water, we need a lot of water. So drink up to good health!