Water: The Rodney Dangerfield of Nutrients. It Gets No Respect!
One of my favorite habits that never gets the respect it deserves is DRINK WATER. Sure we all understand the importance of staying hydrated, but that’s the extent of our knowledge for most. To make sure your busy schedule isn’t compromising your health, TEST YOUR WATER IQ below and find out why DRINK WATER could be your most important habit for excelling in life without undermining your health.
Test your water IQ
T or F: Staying sufficiently hydrated can reduce the risk of breast cancer by 79%.
T or F: The risk of bladder cancer drops 7% for every 8 ounces of fluid you drink.
T or F: Five or more glasses of water each day may be better for your heart than aspirin.
T or F: Just 1-2 percent fluid loss strains your heart and entire cardiovascular system.
T or F: As many as 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.
T or F: As a rule, you are mildly dehydrated when you wake up.
These are ALL true!
Using Fowler’s car analogy from the book, Water with Lemon, if we use thirst as our first alert for dehydration, it would be like using our dashboard oil light as our alert for needing oil—by the time the thirst light goes on, we’ve already lost 1-2 percent of our body weight in water. If you haven’t yet read Water with Lemon or want more reasons why DRINK WATER is one the essential core habits for achieving a healthy lifestyle, read on. And let’s all start giving water the respect it deserves!!
And think before you drink anything else. Water is the body’s most important nutrient. It provides the healthy internal car wash you need for better concentration, fighting diseases and flushing fat. Begin drinking water first thing in the morning and add lemon or lime for a refreshing taste change throughout the day. Replace calorie-filled sodas with water because unconsciously drinking high-sugar beverages can account for up to 50 extra pounds you may be carrying around. And just one can of soda per day can double your chances of type-2 diabetes.
Our body: A ”walking“ body of water
With most of our body weight made up of water, humans are truly a walking body of water. In fact, I like to think of our body’s dependency on water for efficiently transporting nutrients and removing waste much like Venice, the ”city of water,“ depends on water in its infrastructure for effectively transporting people and products.
Making up 60 to 75 percent of our body weight, water plays an integral role in virtually EVERY bodily function. This powerful yet simple nutrient definitely needs to move to the top of the list in big bold letters on everyone’s healthy lifestyle plan.
This essential, but forgotten hero…
- regulates your body temperature by allowing you to perspire and in turn cool your skin and blood
- lubricates your joints, eyes, nose, mouth and the air you breath
- provides shock protection to your joints and organs
- prevents your skin from becoming dry and itchy
- reduces the level of the stress hormone, cortisol, which in turn helps reduce acne
- removes waste and prevents constipation
- flushes toxins
- maximizes your energy and prevents headaches, lethargy and dizziness
- helps dissolve minerals and other nutrients for maximum accessibility throughout your body
- strengthens your natural healing process
- acts as a calorie-free, caffeine-free appetite suppressant
Could you be suffering from chronic underhydration?
Even though you may not actually be dehydrated, you may very well be living in a constant state of underhydration. Underhydration could be the cause of your dizziness, headaches, lethargy or confusion. Research and studies also show that chronic underhydration and dehydration can be the underlying causes to such conditions as asthma, allergies, arthritis, migraine headaches, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, kidney stones, urinary tract cancer, colon cancer and more.
Stats to remember:
- The University of Sheffield, England, found that staying sufficiently hydrated reduced the risk of breast cancer by 79% for women in their study.
- A 1996 study of 20,000 men and women who drank five or more glasses of water each day over six years had less risk of a fatal heart attack than those who drank two glasses or fewer each day—41% less chance for women and 54% less chance for men as reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
- Two different studies, one by the National Cancer Institute, showed that women who drank five or more glasses of water a day were 45% less likely to develop colon cancer than women who drank fewer than two glasses a day.
How much is enough?
No doubt you’ve probably grown up hearing the proverbial, ”Drink 8 glasses of water a day.“ It’s one of our culture’s rules of life; much like ”get 8 hours of sleep,“ ”floss your teeth every day“ and ”don’t run with scissors.“
But, honestly, how many of us are actually drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses a day? I must confess that as healthy as I thought I was by following my own nutrition advice with proper portions, fats and carbs; I have not always fully recognized the need for drinking enough water to stay properly hydrated. I never seemed to be thirsty, but I did suffer from headaches and mid-afternoon fatigue. I now realize how important water is in managing my energy, minimizing my headaches and curbing my appetite.
These guidelines will help you stay properly hydrated:
- Drink ½ ounce a day for every pound you weigh. That’s 75 ounces (nearly 9½ cups) for a person weighing 150 pounds.
- Get in the habit of carrying a water bottle with you and keep one in the car and one at your desk. Drink throughout the day using one glass every hour as a guideline.
- ”Clear water down the pipes means clear water out the pipes.“ Urine that is cloudier or darker than light straw is a sign of dehydration and that means—more water please!
- Quantity matters. Make sure you’re ”producing enough“ when you do empty the tank. And emptying your tank in the middle of the night is actually a good sign of proper hydration.
- Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to grab another glass. By then your body has already lost 1-2 percent of its body weight.
- Drink a glass of water to re-hydrate yourself before having a caffeinated beverage or juice.
- Count only water as your fluid of choice for achieving the minimum allotment and then add other beverages, soups and fruit as a bonus.
- Drink more when physically active, the weather is hot and sticky or you’re fighting an illness.
- Start each morning with at least 8-16 ounces of water—your body wakes up dehydrated and needs to replenish as soon as you begin the day.
The benefits of adding lemon
The biggest benefit to adding lemon (or other fruit such as lime, orange, cherry–or even cucumber) to your water is that you’ll probably drink MORE water if it has a bit of flavor. The key is to not add so much fruit juice that it raises your sugar intake and compromises the benefit of drinking water.
Juice from fresh lemons, limes and oranges enhances the flavor of water while increasing your intake of vitamin C, flavonoids and antioxidants for pumping up your immune system. Lemon juice has also been recommended by many doctors to deter certain types of kidney stones. And international travelers attest to the citric acid in lime juice for fighting bacteria in less-than-pure drinking water.
Whether you choose a slice of lemon, wedge of lime, chunk of cucumber or the convenience of portable envelopes containing crystallized True Lemon, True Lime or True Orange (all favorites of mine!) for your daily water enjoyment, the bottom line is: DRINK WATER!!!