Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Benefits of Water

                Everyone knows that drinking water is good for you. Sure, it’s a great zero-calorie thirst quencher, but this free beverage can do much more for your health than hydrate. Here are ten surprising benefits of water.

  1. Skin: Water, good ol’ H2O (O standing for oxygen, my friends), hydrates your body and brings oxygen to all of your organs. This includes your biggest organ, your skin. Water naturally plumps skin. This means firming fine lines and wrinkles, hydrating dullness, and even helping to conceal cellulite. Overall, your complexion will improve greatly, guaranteed.  
  2. Weight: Just because it plumps your skin, doesn’t mean it makes you plump. In fact, it’s quite the contraire m’dear. If you’re not drinking enough water, your body actually starts retaining water as a survival mechanism. This, in turn, leads to bloating. To eliminate fluid retention, drink more water, not less. And FYI, there’s a reason Gatorade is advertised for athletes. It contains a high amount of sodium, helping you hold on to fluid in your body when you’re expelling so much through sweat. Gatorade is not meant to be a tasty replacement for water, it’s meant to keep water in your body. Also, water in between meals helps to suppress appetite and fill you up. Plus it’s 0 calories!
  3. Muscles: As mentioned before, water brings oxygen to all of your organs. This means your muscles, too. The more oxygen you bring to your muscles, the longer and harder you can work them. Up the water, up the endurance. You get the idea.
  4. Energy: It has been medically proven that just a 5% drop in body fluids will cause a 25% to 30% loss of energy in the average person.
  5. Mood: Many studies have shown that drinking water improves mood and eases stress. A bottle for your blues?
  6. Brain: Brain tissue is 85% water. With dehydration, the brain isn’t getting enough oxygen. This is why when we have a headache, sometimes just drinking water will help alleviate it. It could just be a symptom of slight dehydration. Heading in for an exam? Don’t forget your water bottle to keep that oxygen going to your brain.
  7. Breakouts: Hot lemon water is said to reduce bacteria internally, lessening breakouts. Hot steam (water in gas form, if you were unaware) helps open your pores, and a splash of cold water helps to close them.
  8. Toxins: Water flushes toxins out of your system and carries nutrients to your cells. Your kidneys rid your body of toxins as long as your intake of fluids is enough. If you don’t drink enough water, you’re at higher risk of developing kidney stones. And toxins staying in your system can lead to illnesses and diseases like cancer. When you’re well hydrated, your urine is light in color and free of odor. When your body is not getting enough fluids, urine is darker and concentrated because your body is trying to hold on to as much liquid as it can.
  9. Constipation: Adequate hydration keeps the gastrointestinal tract working the way it should. When you don’t get enough fluid, the colon pulls water from stools to maintain hydration, resulting in constipation.
  10. Joint Health: Water lubricates our joints. Cartilage holds a lot of water, which serves as a lubricant during the movement of the joint. If the cartilage is dehydrated, the abrasion can cause damage, resulting in joint deterioration and increased pain. Rheumatoid joint pain and back pain is often alleviated or decreased with a little bit of hydration.

I noticed several of my nutritionist coworkers bringing giant jugs of ice water to work every day…so I followed suit; and boy am I glad I did. Not only does it help energize me for the work day, but I’ve noticed a huge difference in my skin. Caffeinated beverages as well as alcoholic beverages act as diuretics and increase fluid loss, so they actually make you lose more water. For every glass of coffee or alcohol you have, try to have a glass of water too. Ever wonder why the feeling of a hangover often includes a headache…? Your body might be full of liquid, but not the right kind. A heavy night of drinking, followed by a morning of excessive coffee is the worst thing you can do. Your body is in a state of dehydration, not just tiredness. I’ll drink to that! Water, that is.

You’ve probably heard the common recommendation to drink eight full glasses of water a day. The recommendation seems to change constantly. And of course your recommended water intake will increase if you’re an avid exerciser, breastfeeding mom, or live in a hotter climate. I say just keep drinking instead of keeping track of how much you drink. It’s not likely you’ll over-hydrate yourself. If water is a little too boring and bland for you, try adding some mint, lemon slices, or cucumber to a pitcher of water.  

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