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18/11/2011 23:43:19
Reasons to Increase our Water Intake
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We all know we need it on a daily basis but are we actually giving our bodies the amount of water it needs? Our bodies require on average 12 cups of water a day to stay hydrated. According to Wirthlin Worldwide, a market research company, 20% of us drink no water at all, and 42% of us consume a mere 2 glasses or less. At the same time, we are consuming, on average, 1.8 cups of coffee, 1.3 cups of soda, 1.2 cups of milk and 1.1 cups of juice a day. (Elson M. Haas MD – “Staying Healthy with Nutrition” Ten Speed Press (2006)).

We need to increase our water intake! Why?

Water is the most abundant substance in the human body (about 60% in the adult body and even higher before birth). It is the primary component of all the bodily fluids like blood, digestive juices, urine, lymph, sweat, urine and tears. It is also involved in most of our bodily functions such as circulation, digestion, absorption, and elimination, to name a few.

"Anything that nourishes can heal, but among all nutrients - perhaps all substances of any kind - water is unsurpassed in its ability to heal." - Staying Healthy with Nutrition.

How much water should we be drinking? The amounts of water we need is going to be different for everyone as it will vary based on our age, sex, activity level, size, climate , and diet. Two liters of water daily seems to be a good goal to aim for, but depending on the individual, that number may be higher or lower.

Is there such a thing as a bad time to drink water or even bad water itself? The answer is, yes. There are some things you may want to consider about your water:

First being temperature. On a hot summer day you may crave a tall glass of iced-cold water, however it is important to note that water is optimal for drinking at room temperature, as cold water can stall digestion. The same goes for drinking large amounts of water with meals; it is usually not recommended for most people as it too can stall digestion. It dilutes the strength of the digestive juices and makes it more difficult for our digestive system to thoroughly breakdown foods.

Next, be mindful of our daily cup(s) of coffee. Coffee is a diuretic and can actually cause us to excrete more water than it contains. For every cup of coffee it is a good idea to drink two cups of water.

The type of water you are drinking is also something to be considered. Tap water, spring water, well water, filtered or distilled water; they all have their pros and cons. It’s important to vary your source of water to avoid mineral deficiencies and ensure you are absorbing different minerals as well.

I encourage you to start your day with one full glass of water first thing in the morning. Squeezing lemon juice into your water will enhance not only its taste, but its health benefits as well. According to many sources; lemon water is excellent for cleansing and stimulating the liver, improving digestion, and alkalizing the blood, to name a few.

Lastly, thirst is a sign of dehydration! Even mild dehydration slows down metabolism by as much as three percent. “When we don’t get enough water, our bodies will actually retain water, and we’ll feel bloated and uncomfortable – and look even fatter than strictly necessary!” (Robert O. Young PhD - “The pH Miracle – Balance your diet, Reclaim your health” Grand Central Life & Style (2010)).

So remember to drink your water regularly and don't wait to feel thirsty before you reach for that cup of water!


Yours in Nutrition,
Flávia Roberta Martins Young

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