Updated: May 27, 2020
WATER! A glorious little elixir that makes up nearly 70% of the human body. We all know that it’s essential to living (the average person would only survive three days without water) yet most of us (nearly 75% of Americans) are chronically dehydrated.
Perhaps it’s our lack of awareness, overconsumption of sugary drinks or our imbalanced diet. Whatever the reason, the health benefits of upping your water intake are vast. Check out a few of the reasons below:
BENEFITS TO DRINKING WATER:
Lubricates the joints
Forms saliva and mucus
Delivers oxygen throughout the body
Boosts skin health and beauty
Cushions the brain, spinal cord, and other sensitive tissues
Regulates body temperature
The digestive system depends on it
Flushes body waste
helps maintain blood pressure
The airways need it
It makes minerals and nutrients accessible
Prevents kidney damage
Boosts performance during exercise
Reduces the chance of a hangover
Okay so now that you’ve got a better idea of the “why” you should drink water, let’s focus on the “how.” If you’re anything like me, you detest water. There’s no real reason, I just find it boring and a tedious part of my day. Great news, however! Water doesn’t just come from the tap! Check out the 20 foods below that are an amazing source of H2O.
20 FOODS HIGH IN WATER CONTENT:
Cucumber (96% water)
Zucchini (95% water)
Celery (95% water)
Tomatoes (95% water)
Iceberg lettuce (95% water)
Spinach (93% water)
Cauliflower (92% water)
Mushrooms (92% water)
Bell Peppers (92% water)
Watermelon (91% water)
Grapefruit (90% water)
Cantaloupe (90% water)
Broccoli (90% water)
Carrots (90% water)
Peaches (89% water)
Brussel sprouts (88% water)
Oranges (86% water)
Apples (85% water)
Blueberries (84% water)
Now that we’ve covered some sweet food sources that are high in water, let’s talk about when to get your hydration on. Did you know that by the time you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated? Here’s a list of the eight best times to wet your whistle.
BEST TIMES TO DRINK WATER:
When you first wake up: Keeping your body hydrated as the day starts, helps promote a sustained flow of blood to your skin and releases toxins from your system. Drinking water first thing in the morning prevents kidney stones and protects your colon and bladder from infections.
Before a meal: Drinking water before eating helps you feel fuller; that means you'll be less likely to scarf your food down. When you're hydrated the stomach is also prepared for food; water wakes up taste buds and moisturizes the stomach lining so brittle or acidic foods won't be uncomfortable.
When you’re hungry: Water can help to take up space in the stomach, leading to a feeling of fullness and reducing hunger. A person may also think that they are hungry when they are actually thirsty. Drinking a glass of water before reaching for something to eat can help to curb unnecessary snacking.
Before a workout: Good hydration means getting the right amount of water before, during, and after exercise. Water regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints. It helps transport nutrients to give you energy and keep you healthy. If you're not hydrated, your body can't perform at its highest level.
After a workout: When you exercise, you lose water through sweat. This is water that needs to be adequately replaced for you to maintain optimal health.
Exposed to germs: One recent study found that staying hydrated may boost a particular immune response to enable your body to better fight the viruses.
When you’re sleepy: When you are low on fluids, your body may feel tired and weaker than usual. Consuming a sufficient amount of fluids will help replenish the water your body loses throughout the day and can help you maintain your energy.
When you’re sick: A fever causes you to lose body water, which may lead to dehydration if you are not drinking enough fluids. The dehydration may worsen your fever, further exacerbating the dehydration. This cycle will continue unless you are able to interrupt it by rehydrating your body.
Still reading? Nice! Now that we’ve covered the why, what and when, let’s finish up with 10 frequently asked questions.
10 FAQ ABOUT H20:
1. Does water have calories? Nope! You’re in the clear. Get your thirst on.
2. How much water should you drink per day?
About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men.
About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women.
These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages and food. About 20 percent of daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks. As a rule, you should aim to drink half your body weight in ounces per day. For example, if you weigh 150lbs, you should be drinking 75 ounces of water daily.
3. How many calories does water burn? Studies indicate that drinking 0.5 liters (17 oz) of water results in an extra 23 calories burned. On a yearly basis, that sums up to roughly 17,000 calories — or over 2 kg (4.4 lbs) of fat.
4. How much of my weight is water? Water normally makes up 50 to 60 percent of an adult's total body weight. Any extra water being held in the body is referred to as “water weight.” When water builds up in the body, it can cause bloating and puffiness, especially in the abdomen, legs, and arms
5. Do coffee and tea count as water intake? Coffee and tea also count towards your daily water intake. Many used to believe that they were dehydrating, but that myth has been debunked. The diuretic effect does not offset hydration. However, it’s best to drink them black to avoid a spike in sugar intake.
6. Is lemon water really that good for you? Lemon water helps to increase your urine production, helping you to fend off bloating and offering detox benefits. It also contains a lot of healthy vitamin C which boosts your immune system. It helps to flush out toxins in your body, cleanse the liver, and improve your digestion.
7. Does pop/soda count towards my daily water intake? ABSOLUTELY NOT! While sodas are composed mainly of water, their extremely high sugar concentration means that the body may “steal” water from elsewhere in order to dilute the sugar substance.
8. Can you drink too much water? Although uncommon, it's possible to drink too much water. When your kidneys can't excrete the excess water, the sodium content of your blood is diluted (hyponatremia) — which can be life-threatening.
9. Is warm water beneficial? Under the precepts of Chinese medicine, balance is key, and hot or warm water is considered essential to balance cold and humidity; in addition, it is believed to promote blood circulation and toxin release.
10. Does drinking water help you lose weight? The short answer is yes. Drinking water helps boost your metabolism, cleanse your body of waste, and acts as an appetite suppressant. Also, drinking more water helps your body stop retaining water, leading you to drop those extra pounds of water weight.
Hopefully this has given you a little hydration inspiration!
As a gentle aside, I’d like to remind you that I am in no way a qualified health representative. The information in this article was sourced through such governing medical representatives, however, please discuss any and all lifestyle changes with a qualified professional.
With Love and Light.
“Staying Healthy with Nutrition” - Elson M Haas