Food Focus: Water
Ok, technically today is a DRINK focus, but it is way important to talk about getting enough water daily. I am writing this article to and for myself. I hope you all benefit, too.
Yes, I drink green smoothies and love kombucha, but DANG when it comes to water, I am a BAD drinker. Over the past I don't even know how many years, I have had multiple tricks to remember to drink water throughout the day, including downloaded apps with alarms, cups filled all over the house, and carrying a hydroflask around with me everywhere I go. I carried it diligently, but it was still mostly full by day's end. (Insert whining face emoji...)
So here I sit again in the high 90s of South Florida summer thinking about ways I can stay constantly hydrated because it is of upmost importance to our health. Maybe we can all do it together, and this time it will stick. I will if you will! What do you say?
Most of us are aware of the importance of drinking enough water. Getting our daily dose of water helps our organs perform their functions, keeps our skin clear and hydrated, and allows physical action in our bodies to flow smoothly. Even with this knowledge, it can still be challenging to drink all the water our bodies deserve daily. (Stated very honestly above!) In the summer, we tend to sweat and spend prolonged time in the sun, so drinking plenty of water is critical. Those who are not drinking enough may experience poor digestion, sluggish thinking, skin breakouts, headaches, bad breath and general fatigue.
Here is what I plan to do to help get in the habit of hydration:
1. Set a large glass of water by my bed each night and drink it when I wake up. Drinking water first thing in the morning pulls out toxins from the previous day and freshens your system for the day ahead!
2. Keep a bottle of water accessible throughout the day. The first sip will usually let you know how much more water you need. If you drink most of your daily water before early evening, you most likely will not be thirsty before bed.
3. When I take my daily supplements, I am not simply going to take the amount that is required to get the pills down, but drink an entire 8-10oz glass at that time. We should all, regardless of diet, be taking a high-quality multi-vitamin + multi-mineral a day. Take this opp to wash them down with a tall glass of H2O!
It is estimated that you need a half ounce of fluid per day for every pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 160 lbs., you need 80 oz. Divide that by eight to calculate the number of cups you need. Remember, this is the LEAST amount you should be getting - so set this as a low goal!
What about quality? Some people like bottled water, while others prefer filtered water. The key is to like the taste of the water you are drinking, and the water should agree with your body. I have talked to the local water department (luckily a good friend of mine is an engineer in my town) to ensure the safety of the water in Jupiter. I do, however, still have a filter. Email me for a recommendation of what I use. There are tons of toxins in city water systems and the contaminants should be filtered out.
If the taste of plain water is unappealing, experiment to see how you can make it tasty.
• Try adding a few mint leaves, citrus fruit or a few drops of therapeutic-grade lemon essential oil.
• Add a TBSP of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drink before each meal to aid in natural weight loss and a slew of other health benefits from the wonderful ACV.
• Drinking tea or juice and eating raw fruits and vegetables contribute to the hydration process. Did somebody say kombucha? (I will drink my water first.) • Coconut water also contains natural electrolytes that makes it a good option to add to your day.
Lastly, let's address the latest health craze - alkaline water. The greatest benefit shown in recent research is short-term detoxification, but those with ulcers or other stomach dysfunctions should reconsider, as it can disrupt natural digestive processes. If you are eating clean, drinking safe water + adding more alkaline foods into your diet, your body should regulate to an alkaline state on its own. If you do try alkaline water, be aware of a "high" feeling that could be felt by your body rehydrating or detoxifying. Which is always a good thing! I am going to touch more on this in next week's post about pH balance.
A good way to check if you are hydrated is by looking in the toilet! Your urine should be a light-colored yellow. The only time this will change is if you are taking B vitamin supplements. It will change one or two trips to a fluorescent yellow, telling that your supplements are being properly absorbed.
Go grab a glass. Cheers!
Sources and Additional Reading:
Institute for Integrative Nutrition, 2010.
livestrong.com, August 2013.
Dr. Mercola, 2017.