Hydrating Your Way To Health
Water is often overlooked in our busy lives because it is not as glamorous nor as trendy as the newest superfood. Water is, however, vital for life and often can be the sole limiting factor for optimal health. Its' simple molecular structure, H2O, serves many essential and critical functions within our bodies, including:
• Elimination of toxins and waste
• Brain function
• Body temperature regulation
• Cell and tissue structure
• Optimal digestion and absorption
• Joint lubrication
The Institute of Medicine recommends 9 to 13 cups of fluids per day for women and men. But most people drink too little water. On average, Americans drink only about four cups of water per day.
And did you know that when you feel thirsty, you are already mildly dehydrated? This thirst sensation triggers when you have already lost 1%-2% of your bodily fluids. In this range, brain function, mood and physical performance may already start to decline. Mild dehydration can also cause poor concentration, decreased short-term memory as well as moodiness or anxiety.
Tips to Stay Hydrated
- Changing old habits can be difficult so here are a few tips to effortlessly boost your water intake:
- Make yourself reminders. Bring a water bottle with you wherever you go – including to work. If you see it, you will be more likely to drink from it. Also, setting a daily alarm on your phone or computer calendar can be a great reminder.
- Make your water more exciting:
- Try infused water. Infusing water with fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs can change plain water into a delectable delight, full of added vitamins!
- Drink lemon water in the morning. During sleep, the body loses water and we often wake up dehydrated. So before you grab your cup of coffee, drink a tall glass of lemon water to rehydrate and stimulate digestion.
- Use sparkling water. A little bit of carbonation can make water a lot more interesting. Infusing carbonated water with fruit and herbs can even be a great alternative to soda.
- Go for herbal tea. Whether iced or hot, herbal tea can help you stay hydrated while stimulating your senses.
- Choose your water wisely. Consider your water quality: Tap water can contain various chemicals and pesticides that will increase the burden to your body. Drinking filtered or bottled water over tap water is usually a better choice.
By Selva Wohlgemuth, MS (’14), Bastyr University 2015 dietetic intern and blogger at poppiesandpapayas.blogspot.com.