Drink More Water. It is Good For Your Health!
By: Dr. Peggy Malone
Dear Optimist, Pessimist, and Realist. While you guys were arguing about the glass of water. I drank it.- The Opportunist.
Why is Water so important?
Believe it or not, our bodies are mostly water. The human body is made up of up to 60-70% water. As a result, you can see how important it is for us to keep putting this amazing liquid into our bodies in order to stay hydrated but also to maintain good health.
Water helps to increase energy, decrease appetite, flush toxins out of our bodies and keep your gastrointestinal system moving in the way it should.
How Much Water Should I drink every day?
There is some debate as to what is the appropriate amount of water to drink each day.
Most people have heard you should drink 8 glasses per day.
Well, what exactly is a ‘glass’?
Should it be a big glass or a small glass? What about people of different shapes and sizes? Should they be drinking out of bigger or smaller glasses? What about people that have very physical jobs who are sweating a lot or people who are sweating because of exercise?
Instead of following this very ambiguous 8 glass per day rule, I recommend that people should take their body weight in pounds and divide it by 2. The number that they come up with is the amount of water in ounces that they should drink daily.
If you weigh 160 pounds, divide that number by 2 to get 80.
You should be aiming to drink 80 ounces of water daily.
If you have a physical job or you are sweating a lot because of exercise you should increase that amount!
What if I don’t feel thirsty?
Your body is extremely efficient. If you go for hours and hours and days and days and years and years and don’t give your body the water it needs, your body will learn to function as well as it can off of less.
You may see the effects as dry skin, constipation, fatigue, increased appetite, headaches, premature aging and other effects of toxicity and dehydration.
If you follow the water intake guidelines I have laid out above, at first you will have to pee a lot. As your body gets used to having more water, your system will adapt and even with more water going in, your body will use the water instead of getting rid of it right away.
You will find that the more water you drink, you will actually begin to feel thirsty and you will start to enjoy the taste and experience of a nice glass of water!
Here’s another cool fact about water which is especially relevant for those people who are looking to lose some weight. By drinking water, you will be avoiding the calories in the drinks you are replacing and…It is a very effective appetite suppressant! Often, when you think you are hungry, you are actually just thirsty.
If you drink an 8-ounce glass of water when you first start feeling hungry, you will find that it suppresses your appetite in nearly every case. If you just drink a full glass and have the discipline to wait 10 minutes, you will find that your appetite is either completely gone or dramatically reduced.
Does it have to be water? What about Coffee, Tea, Milk, Juice or Pop?
Here is where many many people get into trouble. None of these things (with perhaps the exception of soda pop) are bad for you in moderation…
But…there are lots of people out there, who drink no water at all!
Instead of drinking water, they drink gallons of pop or juice.
They say that they don’t like water. They don’t like the way it tastes!
Herbal caffeine-free teas, or milk are ok and you can count the ounces of these toward your daily total.
Coffee or caffeinated tea are not terrible but when you drink a lot of these beverages, you start to dehydrate because caffeine is a diuretic and will make you pee.
Keep in mind too, that the more fruits and vegetables you eat every day (which you should be), you will be getting water content from them as well…another good reason to eat your veggies
Dangers of Too Much Fruit Juice or Pop
People are often surprised when I tell them to cut back on fruit juice intake. They assume that because it’s out of a fruit that it must be good for you!
Well, a little juice occasionally is not bad but when you squeeze the juice out of the fruit, you leave the good fibre of the fruit behind. The fibre in the fruit prevents a quick blood sugar spike by helping to slow down the uptake of sugar into your blood stream which keeps your blood sugar levels more steady.
When you remove this important role of the fibre in the fruit and just drink the juice, you are essentially drinking sugar….which we all know is not good for us for many reasons.
Ingesting sugar or high glycemic foods or drinks causes a repeated spiking of glucose and then insulin which can then lead to insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome and increased inflammation in your arteries which contributes to heart disease.
On top of all of that, the increased sugar intake makes your body a very acidic environment which is a perfect place for bacteria and viruses to grow….which make you sick….and the other thing that thrives in an acidic environment is cancer.
While we are on the subject of sugar…let’s talk about soda pop!
If you drink the full sugar variety, you will be getting the same sugar spike we mentioned above that can lead to problems with your glucose insulin system the same problems that we mentioned above.
You will also usually be ingesting sugar in the form of High Fructose Corn Syrup which, along with the problems associated with sugar I have already mentioned, can play havoc with the health of your liver.
So then people say to me…well what about Diet Pop?
In my opinion, this is even worse!
Aspartame is a neurotoxin that is not safe in any amount and should never be ingested by anyone ever! In many countries it is illegal for this very reason.
If you choose to drink the occasional soda….drink the full sugar variety as even with the health risks associated….it is still safer than diet soda.
Avoid drinking any beverages that have artificial sweeteners like aspartame or sucralose (splenda) in them.
If these things weren’t bad enough, pop (both the full sugar and diet varieties) is served in plastic bottles or cans that are lined with BPA (Bis-Phenol A) which has been shown to cause ill health effects.
And…If that wasn’t enough, the phosphoric acid in soda pop (both the full sugar and diet varieties) will leech the calcium from your bones and contribute to osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Water is still the best choice.
If you are currently not drinking any water, or you aren’t drinking enough water, start today and get more of it into you!
If you are like many people and you have a habit of drinking a lot of coffee or soda pop instead of water….start today and add a little more water and drink a little less soda or coffee.
Make it a goal to drink soda pop as only an occasional indulgence instead of an everyday thing.
Is there anything else I can drink?
Stay tuned, because in Thursday’s post, I’m going to give you a couple of great ideas that will help you jazz up your water and make you more likely to drink it!!
Until next time, go have a glass of water and…
Dr. Peggy Malone is a Chiropractor and an Athlete who helps other athletes to overcome injury and get back to their sport. Her weekly Television Series 'Living Well" inspires people from all walks of life to take control of their health to be as happy and as healthy as they can be.
A former varsity Basketball and Rugby player, she has since entered the world of endurance athletics where she has completed 2 Ironman Triathlons, 3 Marathons, several Half Marathons and many other Triathlons, Road Races and Off-Road Adventure races of varying distances.
Her own athletic endeavors and injuries have given her valuable insight into working with athletes in her practice for both the care of injuries as well as for the improvement of athletic performance.