“I just don’t drink as much water as I should.” Sound familiar? Who hasn’t heard that the magic number is eight eight-ounce glasses a day? Heard it, but aren’t filling that glass? Water is an essential nutrient, and yet it is the one we readily forgo. Water is key to survival, but it brushed aside for coffee, tea, soda and energy drinks. These drinks do contain water, but also come loaded with caffeine, sugar, fat and calories. If you are looking for a miracle nutrient that is easy to get and use, inexpensive, and works wonders – turn on your faucet. Need more convincing?
8 Important Reasons to Drink Water:
1. Lowers risk of breast, colon and urinary tract cancers
2. Lessens risk of kidney stones
3. Helps to lose weight
4. Lessens risk of mitral valve prolapse
5. Boosts brain power and physical performance
6. Helps salivary gland work
7. When blood sugar is high it helps clear out excess sugar (in diabetes)
8. Less risk of dehydration
“I am not thirsty. ” By the time you are thirsty, you are on the verge of dehydration. The goal is to remain hydrated every day. In other words, take a proactive approach; have the water before your body notices it’s missing. Here are tips to get started
8 Ways to Actually Drink That Much Water
1. Sip from a water bottle that you take everywhere
2. To lose weight, drink a glass of water 20 minutes before meals
3. Replace coffee, tea & soda with water at work
4. Anytime you pass a water fountain- drink!
5. Have water when you are making dinner (instead of picking)
6. You may be thirsty when snacking; have a glass of water and wait 20 minutes
7. While watching TV have water at commercial break
8. Try flavoring water with a squeeze of lemon or lime, a splash of juice or a no-calorie flavoring (e.g. Crystal Light™)
“I can’t stand the taste of my tap water, I only drink bottled water.” Not all water is the same. Walking down the supermarket aisle you see dozens of waters. Some that look really healthy (and is usually expensive), may not be. Facts to keep in mind when shopping –
8 things to Keep in Mind When Buying Water
1. Bottled water may be expensive tap water, especially when labeled “spring-like” or “spring fresh”. Choose “Spring Water” it’s the real thing.
2. Bottled water for children could be hazardous for their dental health since it may not fluoridated; check with your pediatrician about supplementing.
3. Carbonated water (seltzer/soda) can pull calcium out of your bones, increasing your risk of osteoporosis
4. Caffeinated drinks (energy drinks, coffee, tea and soda) are diuretics, pulling water out of your body
5. Sugared drinks (Vitamin Water, Regular Soda, iced or hot coffee/tea, and juice) add lots of extra calories.
6. Flavored waters, sweetened with a twist of real fruit or with artificial sweeteners may be good choice since they don’t add extra calories
7. Alcoholic drinks also pull water out of your body
8. Distilled water is for chemical/pharmaceutical work and keeps your iron unclogged; mineral water is real spring water. It is a natural antacid, but can pull a little water out of your body.
“I don’t have time to drink water.” Real life can interfere with the best of intentions, water drinking included. However, it is when you are working out, traveling, ill or eating take-out that water drinking really needs to move to front and center. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:
8 Real Life Situations That Need Water
1. If you are very physically active, add 1- 3 cups of water/day for every hour you work out.
2. On days that you cannot get in water, choose lettuce, milk, watermelon, broccoli, grapefruit, carrots and apples which are 79 percent water or higher.
3. On hot or cold days, add water to help your internal thermostat work.
4. When traveling, choose water over caffeine and alcohol and pass on the salty snacks
5. When ill, have small sips of water throughout the day
6. If you are adding more fiber to your plate, boost your water or you will be bloated and constipated.
7. It takes three days and plenty of water to flush out a high sodium meal such as Chinese food.
8. If you want to lose weight, drink water to promote fullness and hydration.
The next time you are looking for a drink, try turning the faucet on. You may not reach 64 ounces right away – that’s okay. One word of warning, you can drink too much water. Keep all liquids to under 128 ounces/day. You now know the facts, so sip that water and see how good it makes you feel!
Jennifer Giffune, R.D., L.D.N. Is a freelance author, professional speaker and nutrition counselor. She currently is providing nutrition counseling services for Hampden County Physician Associates at their offices in Westfield, Southwick, Feeding Hills and West Springfield. If you would like to schedule a counseling session with Jennifer, please call (413) 786-1500.