You've probably heard more than once that you should drink eight glasses of fluid each day. Why the fuss? For starters, water makes up about 80 percent of your muscle mass, 60 percent of your red blood cells and more than 90 percent of your blood plasma. If you were stranded on a deserted island, you could go for weeks without food but only a few days without water.
Take a look at the important role water plays in your body.
It aids in the digestion and absorption of foods and nutrients
Water helps regulate the chemical reactions in every cell of your body,
It transports nutrients and oxygen.
Water is the vehicle your body uses to flush out the waste produced in normal body functions.
It helps you maintain normal body temperature.
Water is necessary for proper bowel function.
It is responsible for maintaining proper fluid balance.
In your quest for healthy living, drinking plenty of water should be a top priority. In fact, if you're currently not drinking enough water, doing so will be one of the most significant lifestyle changes you can make. Back to Top of page
Why Choose Water?
All fluids and some foods count toward your daily total of water. So why choose water? Water is good for you, it contains no calories, it's low in sodium, and it contains no additives or stimulants. It is therefore important that you get your water from a healthy source. Take a look at the eSpring water purifying system to see what is important when you decide to invest in such a system.
Substituting water for calorie-containing beverages is an important step in helping you achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. Non-fat milk and 100 percent fruit juices are also good choices they're packed with vitamins and minerals. However, watch the calories. The caffeine in tea, soft drinks and coffee acts as a stimulant and a diuretic (i.e., causes your body to lose water), thus, caffeine is not always a good choice. Choose water as your number-one beverage!
Your body loses about 8 to 12 ounces of water throughout the day. To stay healthy and feel your best, you need to replace what your body loses. There's nothing magical about eight glasses of water a day, some people need a little more, some a little less. Drinking water throughout the day helps keep you ahead of the game.Back to Top of page
Eight Glasses a Day? That's Impossible!
Once you start drinking more water, your natural thirst for it will increase. With each glass you drink, think about the physical benefits. From time to time, review the list above that details how important water is to your body.
To make drinking water a habit, start by filling an eight-ounce measuring cup with water. Eight ounces is probably not as much as you think. What size glass will you use for those eight ounces? Another tactic is to fill a two-quart (64-ounce) container with water each morning and by noon make sure you have only one quart left. You're halfway to your goal!
You can keep a two-quart pitcher of water on your desk or in your refrigerator for easy access to water. Additionally, keep a water bottle in your car, take it to meetings and be sure to have water available when you exercise.
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- Fill a pitcher with water, and add several orange slices for a light, refreshing flavor.
- Always ask for water when dining out, and try adding lemon or lime slices. .
- Choose sparkling waters. .
During the summer, you require more water because your body loses water through perspiration. If you live in a dry climate, your perspiration may evaporate more quickly so you might not sense the need to drink water, even though your body is still losing fluids.
Don't wait for perspiration to be your warning sign to consume more water. The dry air in winter also increases your body's need for water. Don't wait until you feel thirsty to drink water, stay ahead of your thirst.
In addition to thirst, early signs of dehydration include the following:
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- Loss of appetite
- Flushed skin
- Light-headedness and dizziness
- Muscle cramping
- Infrequent urination and urine that's dark yellow
Water and Physical Activity
During physical activity, pay close attention to your water intake. Make sure you drink at least eight ounces before activity, and every 15 to 20 minutes during activity.
You may need more when it's hot outside. To find out how much water you need to replenish your exercise losses, weigh yourself before and after exercise - the difference is mainly water. Replace one pound of weight loss with 16 ounces of water.
While the number on the scale may look better, dehydration is not a healthy way to lose weight. Avoid using sweat suits or rubberized clothing to increase sweating during exercise. This is a dangerous practice and the weight you lose is only water - not fat! Body fat is made up of only 25 percent water compared to muscle, which is almost 80 percent water. Dehydration robs your body of the water it needs.
Unless you are an endurance athlete training for more than an hour, drink water rather than sports drinks.Back to Top of page
An Essential Nutrient
While water is not included on the Food Guide Pyramid, don't ignore its importance. Next to air, you need water most for survival. Keep well hydrated and your body will perform better than ever. And you'll feel great too!Back to Top of page
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