Whether it’s five pounds or fifty, most of us feel that we could lose a few. What you may not realize though, is that accomplishing this can be easier than you might think. In fact, it’s safe to say that you will not have to leave the house to get a good start on losing those pounds. Just walk over to the sink and turn it on to let the water flow, fill a glass, and drink. Easy enough, right? What may not have been apparent until now is the cleansing nature that water has on the body and the mental and physical improvements that accompany drinking more of that wonderful substance that flows from the tap.
Your body is made up of more than 60% water, which makes it essential to life. Not only is it the main component of cells and bodily fluids, but it also acts as a purifier to the toxins that you consume on a daily basis, keeping you healthy and happy. In addition, it adds to the body temperature regulation system, and helps to absorb impacts and keep everything moving smoothly. Combine this with appetite suppression and increased endurance and energy, and you have the foundation for improved health.
How Much Water is Enough?
There is no set answer to the question of how much water to drink on a daily basis, but there are some general guidelines that can be followed. The guideline is to drink between one and two liters of water per day, however, this is not the end-all of answers. The true amount depends on the person and their lifestyle choices. Eating habits, exercise tendencies, and many other factors can skew this recommendation, but it makes a good starting point for daily water intake.
Those that are more prone to perspire, and you know who you are, and those who are breastfeeding should take extra care to consume more water because by doing those things, you are expending the essential water that your body uses for improved health, and also normal functions. Robbing those fluids without replenishment will eventually leave you feeling sluggish, potentially leading to more serious diseases and chronic pain.
There is water in most foods that you eat, and they provide a base level of water consumption, but that amount is very rarely enough to sustain a healthy lifestyle. A decent guideline to remember is to always drink water when you are thirsty, and drink until you are not thirsty anymore. Thirst is a precursor to dehydration, and catching it before it leads to more serious symptoms will benefit your health.
What Water Does for Your Body
Aside from the obvious life-giving tendencies of water, there are some smaller “behind the scenes” actions that water does for your body that may not be as obvious at first glance. The first one being that water acts as the main taxi service for the body. The large water composition that the body is composed of helps to transport nutrients and oxygen around the body to repair and strengthen the components within. It not only helps transport oxygen in but also carries some of the carbon dioxide out.
While doing this, water also acts as a cleanser for your internal functions. Similar to taking a shower, it works to dissolve the toxins that are in the blood with the help of the kidney and the liver, then carries them out of the body in the form of urination or other bodily discharges. Any toxins that water cannot dissolve – like fats, oils, etc – the body can put a barrier around them so that the flow of water can transport them out, or to a different location where they can be disposed of or burned for energy.
No matter how active you are, none of it is possible without water. In your joints, the water-based fluids play a couple of different roles. Water in joints acts as both a padding between the bones when they are under a circumstance of impact, and a lubricating fluid to keep the joint moving freely. Whether that action is jumping, running, or even just standing for long periods of time, the impact absorbing fluid keeps the force from reaching your bones, saving you from an agonizing pain, while helping normal movements to feel smooth and normal.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, water helps to regulate your temperature in both warm and cold environments. The water in your blood vessels helps to keep the body cool when exposed to a strenuous environment, or a circumstance where the body is headed to a higher than normal temperature. Imagine the blood vessels in your skin act like a radiator and the water within helps to expose of excess heat that has built up within the body. Sweat also helps with temperature dissipation, but it is not always the main solution.
Drinking Water Boosts Your Metabolism
Now that the jobs that water does without recognition have been discussed, it can be pointed out that water helps to boost your metabolism. Your metabolism can be described as a series of chemical reactions that break down the substances in your body and convert them to energy that is burned throughout the body to let you live. These actions need a fuel; which water can help to supply. If you imagine this process like a car engine, you can see why adding water as a fuel and lubricant to it. The more you add, the smoother and longer it will run. Having reduced water intake can result in a stunted metabolism, which results in weight gain, and reduced energy. This decrease in the metabolism rate can occur when you are only 1% dehydrated and will continue to decline as dehydration worsens.
Forget Snacking, Drink More Water!
Because it’s difficult for your mind to tell the difference between when your body is hungry and when it is just thirsty, you might find yourself snacking and desiring food when you are actually slightly dehydrated. At that point, forget about grabbing a snack, but instead, go for a glass of water. This will help you to feel fuller, which will slow your eating and reduce the amount that you eat afterward. While this may not change your overall eating patterns, it might reduce the amount that you eat, leading to eventual weight loss, or a decrease in the rate at which you gain weight.
While you are working on drinking water instead of snacking, it might be worth the effort to replace one or two of the sugary, carbonated beverages that you drink with water. Not only will you be consuming less sugar, but doing this will also eliminate unnecessary calories from your diet that are helping to contribute to the struggle of losing weight. If you are having trouble getting rid of the sweetened beverage, try adding a no-calorie flavor packet to a bottle or cup of water as a supplement. It will supply all the benefits of a bottle of water, without the obvious sense of going without your favorite sugary beverage.
Have a Glass of Water Before Every Meal
Combined with drinking water instead of snacking, studies have shown that drinking one or two glasses of water before a meal can help to reduce the caloric intake of a day. By drinking about half of a liter of water about 30 minutes before a meal, it helps you to feel more full when you sit down to eat, which reduces the total amount of food consumed. Studies show a reduction in between 60 and 90 calories per meal when this strategy is used. This may not seem like much, but over the course of a year, with 3 meals every day, it adds up to quite a large amount of calories that you avoid consuming.
This conclusion is attributed to the fact that when you consume half a liter of water, you sit down to eat feeling partially full. This leads to spending more time eating the same amount of food, which helps extend the digestion period, leaving less substance remaining to be turned into fat.
Ways to Help You Consume More Water
- Keep a Glass of Water on Your Desk
There are many things that may help you to drink more water throughout the day, but one that may be the most effective is keeping a glass of water on your desk or on the table next to you at work. If you have the glass of water within your sight, you might be more likely to drink it periodically.
- Try Flavored Water Alternatives
There are many alternatives to carbonated beverages that you may feel is a better choice, but most of the time, these can be just as bad for you due to the sugar content within. Examples of these include fruit juice and some sugary flavor packets like most lemon aid packets, and fruit punch. These often are composed majorly of sugar, which does not offer any benefit from the carbonated variety.
However, there are some no-calorie alternatives that taste great that can add some flavor to your water without compromising the health benefits that come with it. Adding these to your water will not only give you the benefit of consuming more of the essential liquid but also give you a variety of flavors to chose from.
- Carry an Insulated Water Bottle
Similar to keeping a glass of water on your desk, if you plan to be on the move, or you have a job that doesn’t allow you to sit behind a desk, try carrying an insulated bottle with you that you can refill throughout the day. This will give you the same benefits of having a cup of water by your desk, but the insulated bottle will keep it cold throughout the day, assuring a refreshing drink whenever you feel thirsty.
- Keep a Cup of Water by Your Bed
If you don’t have the possibility to keep a glass of water by your bed, make sure to keep a bottle of water handy for when you first wake up in the morning. While you sleep, your body still uses the fluids you have consumed already to complete essential processes that don’t stop when you sleep and help you to wake refreshed. Because of this, you wake up with a lack of water. Drinking water throughout the night will help you from being dehydrated when you wake up, but if you sleep through the night, make sure to drink a cup or two when you first wake up.
Doing this will help get your metabolism and bodily functions running as normal again, and help your body use the energy it gets from your breakfast in a productive way. Not to mention, drinking water before breakfast will help prevent you from overeating.
- Spread Out Your Water Consumption
Spreading out your water consumption over the course of a day will not only help your body to retain it all, but it’s also the healthiest way to do it. Consuming all of your daily water quantity at once is just as bad for your system as not drinking enough, if not worse. This causes the system to expel most of it at once, instead of absorbing it.
This is perfectly exemplified by the rain. A heavy rain storm comes and dumps all the water in a matter of fifteen minutes. Most of that runs off and ends up in the drainage systems, or flooding in low areas because the original area it landed in couldn’t hold it. If that same storm lasts for twelve hours and dumps the rain more slowly, the ground can absorb it and use it for nutrition to grow larger, stronger, fuller plants that rely on it. In the same way, your body relies on the water that you consume to complete essential duties that keep you alive and healthy.
- Eat foods with a high water capacity
Drinking water directly isn’t the only way to get it into your body. There are a number of fruits and vegetables which are higly hydrated. Grabbing one of these foods as a quick snack after an intense workout may also hydrate your body twice as much according to on 2009 study. Further, foods that have high water contents also have very few calories. Here are a few of them:
Cucumber – 96.7%
Iceberg Lettuce – 95.6%
Celery – 95.4%
Radishes – 95.3%
Tomatoes – 94.5%
Other foods high up on this list include zucchini, green peppers, cauliflower, watermelon, spinach, star fruit, strawberries, broccoli, baby carrots, grapefruit, baby carrots, and cantaloupe.
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