Written by Lisa Dreher, MS, RDN, LDN
Back to Basics

Back to Basics

In the pursuit of health, many of us get lost in the details. There are a seemingly endless number of guidelines on what, when and how much we should be eating. In a desperate attempt to keep up with the rapid pace at which health and nutrition information is thrown at us, I believe we lose touch with something invaluable. We forget that simplicity – going back to the basics –  can often have the most profound impact on how we feel. Case in point: hydration! “Drink enough fluids” may not be the sexiest message you read today, but I would argue it is perhaps one of the most important. Let me explain why. Here are the top 5 reasons why you should give water more of your attention:

  1. Dehydration Impairs Brain Function: On average, a person’s body is 60% water and the brain is 75% water. Research shows that total body water loss of only 1 to 3% can lead to poor concentration, impaired mental performance, low mood and frequent headaches. This amount of loss can happen easily during normal daily activities and especially during exercise.

  2. Water Helps Prevent and Relieve Constipation: Dehydration of the colon is one of the major reasons why people experience dry, pebbly stool or no stool at all for one or more days in a row. Having 1 to 2 well formed bowel movements each day is essential for detoxification. Therefore, drinking enough water helps to rid the body of excess hormones, toxins and many other substances that can pose a threat to our health.

  3. Water Can Help You Lose Weight: Research shows that drinking one half liter of water or 16 ounces increases metabolic rate through something known as thermogenesis. Water can also increase satiety. In other words, you can naturally burn more energy and feel full more quickly by drinking enough water.

  4. Water Prevents and Reduces Joint Pain: Joints are like the hinges that keep bones connected and cartilage is the smooth connective tissue between joints that cushions and helps them move easily. Water is vital to keep these joints lubricated, as well as remove waste that builds up. When water is lacking, you are more likely to experience arthritis-type pain and inflammation when moving.

  5. Water Helps Keep Skin Looking Healthy: Your skin is your largest body organ and is made up of about 65% water. Dehydration can result in dry, flaky and sometimes wrinkled looking skin. Many people also report reduction in acne with increased water intake.

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*This includes fluid intake such as water, herbal teas, liquid added to smoothies, soups and other high water content foods (especially fruits and vegetables). Coffee and caffeinated teas do not count.

Top 3 tips to help you drink more:

  1. Make it tasty! Try filling a pitcher with filtered water and add your favorite fruit and/or herbs. Think strawberries and kiwi, cucumber and mint or orange rinds and lemon. Let the flavors infuse overnight or use an infuser water bottle. You will have a delightful and tasty drink to look forward to all day!
  2. Eat more vegetables and fruit! They contain up to 80% water and are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Always look for ways to include more at meals and snacks. For example, bring some pre-cut veggies with dip in a container to work or while traveling.
  3. Have a glass of water at your work desk or at home. For many, if water is out of sight, it is out of mind. Having a visual reminder can prompt you to sip throughout the day. If you feel thirsty, you are already partially dehydrated! Balance is key:  Drinking water throughout the day is better for your health than drinking a lot all at once.

To your health,

Lisa

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