Drinking water on a daily basis is very integral to maintaining our overall health and wellness. This is not a foreign concept to any of us. However, it is a foreign practice to many of us. Why is this? Why do we have a propensity to indulge in the things that could harm us as opposed to those things which can be of great benefit to us?
Some experts suggest drinking at least eight 8-ounces of water each day. However, depending upon the types of activity we engage in, we may need to consume more than this recommended amount because staying hydrated is important. Angela Lemond mentions that beginning our day by drinking at least two glasses of water on an empty stomach can aid in digestion and boosts our metabolism. This practice, Lemond says, also helps to lower our bowels which results in greater regularity throughout the day. In other words, drinking water first thing in the morning assists in maintaining our normal bodily processes.
For our consideration, the average adult body is composed of 55-60% water. Therefore, it is important to understand some of the underlying evidenced-based best practices. Listed below are seven health benefits of drinking water:
- Water helps to maximize physical performance,
- Hydration has a major effect on energy levels and brain functions,
- Drinking water may help to prevent and treat headaches,
- Drinking more water may help relieve constipation,
- Drinking water may help relieve kidney stones,
- Drinking water may reduce hangovers, and
- Drinking more water can help with weight loss.
Initially, drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water may seem to be a bit much. However, when we take into consideration that at least 20% of the water we receive daily will come from the foods that we consume, especially fruits and vegetables, it really is not much at all. This is all good for us as ingesting this amount of water helps to prevent dehydration. Some of the signs of dehydration are: 1) fatigue, 2) dizziness, 3) confusion, 4) less-frequent urination and 5) extreme thirst. We should be able to determine whether we are low on body fluids at first glance by the color of our urine (dark colored vs. light colored).
If we are familiar with some of the benefits of drinking water as a part of our daily diet, then why do we shun the practice? Dr. Walter Willett suggests that society has conditioned us to consume beverages with more sweetened tastes that are appealing to our palette. He also mentions that this high consumption of sweetened drinks have the adverse effect on our systems that water has. This takes us beyond being dehydrated to becoming malhydrated. Although the drinks (including vitamin waters, fruit juices, and energy drinks) have water in them, the amount of sweeteners in them overshadow any benefits that would come from drinking regular room temperature water because they are loaded with sugar.
One way to compensate for the reconditioning of our palettes is to infuse our water with fruits and vegetables (such as, lemons, cucumbers, limes, strawberries, etc.). There are many beliefs about the benefits of drinking infused water versus drinking regular water. The truth is that many of the enhanced health claims of drinking infused water have not been verified by science. What has been verified is that drinking infused water versus regular water provides us with a little more flavor minus the sugar we would receive from drinking sugary drinks. Many of the proposed nutrient and benefit claims of drinking infused water can most likely be found in drinking regular water as well. In the final analysis, drinking water helps to regulate many of the essential functions within our bodies and is a necessary portion of maintaining optimal health and wellness.
Sean Mungin, author of “The Thorn In The Flesh”