In the Habits of Health, we talk about water as if it’s a food group. Why?
It, along with your Habits of Healthy Eating, allows us to make sure we always stay hydrated because it is a critical component of our bodies. Water makes up between 55-60% of your weight, but even though it is so important to your health, your body can’t store it–unlike fat.
You need to replenish it often, which is why drinking at least eight glasses (8 ounces each) a day is one of the first Habits of Health we teach. Every function in your body requires water, so when we are working toward a healthy weight and making the journey to optimal wellbeing, Habits of Healthy Hydration help at every step of the way.
The Rewards of Hydration
Here are a few good reasons to drink your eight glasses a day:
- It’s calorie-free but helps you feel full and satisfied.
- It keeps you from overeating. Studies show that when we feel hungry, some of the time our bodies are actually signaling for water.
- It facilitates the removal of toxins, such as pesticides and preservatives, from your cells.
- It prevents dehydration as your body eliminates excess salt and water from a diet of too many processed foods.
- It minimizes or eliminates fatigue, lack of energy, headaches, and unclear thinking.
- It speeds up metabolism. A recent study showed that drinking two eight-ounce glasses of cold water increased metabolic rate by 30% for 90 minutes.
- It helps your liver convert fat to energy.
- It compensates for the loss of glycogen stores as you lose weight.
That’s a lot of rewards for filling up a glass a few times a day!
Tips for Healthy Hydration
As simple as hydration can sound, what you read about health and wellness can be confusing, and the onslaught of marketing from beverage manufacturers is neverending.
Here are a few no-nonsense tips for hydration:
- Don’t use thirst to guide your water intake. Drink water regularly every day, throughout your day.
- Plain water is the best beverage for quenching thirst. It’s cheap, calorie free, and contains no sugar or other additives. Use a filter for your tap water to eliminate contaminants for pure, clean water.
- Bottled water is fine, as are sparkling waters flavored with lemon or lime. Just make sure they haven’t been enhanced with sugary substances and calories, and consider a reusable bottle instead of buying cases of plastic bottles.
- Distilled water removes impurities but also minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and sodium, which may provide clinically important portions of your recommended dietary intake. If you drink distilled water, talk to your healthcare provider about your body’s mineral needs to maintain proper health.
- Reverse osmosis, like distilled water, removes everything from the water. It is also fairly expensive.
If you are well on your way to building your Habits of Healthy Hydration, I’d love to hear what tips have worked for you!