09 Jun Hydration is the Key
Since we have been focusing on the basics of nutrition and health in recovery I could not possibly skip out on a touting the importance of water. It would be totally remiss of me to not touch on H2O, the most vital thing that our bodies need to survive and function properly.
I’m sure you have heard about how important water is for health, but do you know why? And did you know that it can be an amazing tool in not only helping you stay healthy but also for making you look and FEEL your very best?
Water is truly one of the major players when it comes to living life as healthfully as possible, but in this era of sodas and sports drinks it is often pushed aside. Up to 60% of the adult human body is composed of water. That’s pretty insane when you think about it, more than half of our body weight is comprised of liquid. Water plays a huge role in our bodily functions, it regulates body temperature, keeps mucous membranes (think nose and throat) moist, and acts as a cushion for our brains and spinal cords. Water is integral in delivering oxygen to the body and flushing out the toxins from our system. Our organs are not just dependent on water to function, they are also made of water; our brains and hearts are comprised of about 73% water. So, what do you think happens when we deprive our bodies of this oh so necessary liquid? Things start to break down, to not work as well as they should. Every single cell in your body is affected by a lack of hydration which can cause fatigue, headaches, inability to focus, lethargy, and dizziness. Did you realize that a headache is often a sign of dehydration? Next time, before you grab that bottle of advil, try a bottle of water instead. It’s quite possible that your body is just trying to tell you it needs more water. Just by upping your water intake you could focus better, have more energy, and feel better overall.
- Weight Loss
Our bodies have a very hard time telling the difference between hunger and thirst, which is why drinking water 20-30 minutes before a meal is often suggested. Studies have shown that those who drank water before meals lost weight more quickly initially and lost “significantly more” than those who didn’t drink water. Another study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that “people who drank water before meals ate an average of 75 fewer calories at that meal”. Now, 75 calories may not sound like a lot, but if you ate 75 fewer calories at each meal for the next year, that could give you over a 14 pound weight loss just from that caloric reduction! And, although the impact may be small, drinking water has been shown to actually increase metabolism. Lastly, even being just 1% dehydrated will have a negative effect on your metabolism, actually slowing it down, so DRINK YOUR WATER!
Now, aside from the health and weight loss benefits of drinking water, being well-hydrated has plenty of beauty implications as well. Our skin is 20% water, so consider what happens when we become dehydrated: your skin suffers. Want to reduce those fine lines and wrinkles? Stay hydrated! Drinking water (as we already learned up above) flushes out toxins and cleanses our systems, which in turn produces that glowing, dewy skin that not even a $500 jar of night cream can recreate (and water is soooo much cheaper). Do you have bags and dark circles under your eyes? DRINK WATER! Those pesky bags and circles are often caused by fluid retention, and drinking water is one of the best ways to alleviate retention (seems counterintuitive but I promise it works). Drinking plenty of water will even give you shinier, healthier hair. Do you need more convincing to start upping your intake? Probably not.
- How Much?
The “8 glasses a day” suggestion breaks down to about 1.8 liters a day of water, but everybody (and every body) is different. Water intake needs vary based on several factors such as how active you are and where you live. I happen to need more than 1.8 liters a day-so play around with your intake and see what makes you feel the best. You should notice an increase in energy (and urine out put-weeee). Have trouble drinking water straight without flavor? Try an infuser like this one-you can fill the infuser with anything from lemons to berries to mint to give your water a flavorful boost without adding calories! You can also set a reminder on your smart phone for every hour to make sure that you are remembering to drink, but once you start to see the benefits, I doubt you will need it. Cheers!
Sober since 2007, Maya is a mother, wife, and writer for the lifestyle blog ‘My Life As Maya‘. She is also a freelance writer and resident contributor for several other blogs in the fashion, fitness and parenting spheres.