There is a lot of advice out that promises to help with brain fog, itchy skin, weight loss, constipation, and urinary frequency. It can be very confusing. Eat these foods, avoid those foods. Drink this, don’t drink that. Exercise—stretch, lift weights, get your heart rate up or not. It’s no wonder, we tend to throw our hands up in the air and keep doing what we have been doing.
Of all the things you could change, one that shows up in almost all the research for a healthier you, is to drink water. Yes, that’s right, I encourage you to drink water—not seltzer, not vitamin, not electrolyte enriched—just plain, clean water.
Why? To start with, 60% of an adult body is water. The brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79% water, and even the bones are watery at 31%!
Water serves a number of essential functions to keep us all going:
- It is a vital nutrient to the life of every cell, acting first as a building material.
- It regulates our internal body temperature by sweating and respiration.
- Water metabolizes and transports the carbohydrates and proteins that our bodies use as food.
- It assists in flushing waste from our body mainly through urination.
- It acts as a shock absorber for brain, spinal cord, and growing babies.
- Water forms saliva.
- Water lubricates joints.
How much should you drink? It depends. Most of us have heard we need 8 glasses of water a day, the equivalent of 64 ounces, or ½ gallon. Our needs may change depending on where we live, what we do and our age. The latest research has determined that we should drink ½ of our body weight in fluid ounces daily, and 80% of those ounces should be water. (I know that’s a lot of math).
Here’s an example:
You weigh 128 pounds
128/2 = 64 fluid ounces
64 x80% + 51.2 ounces of water/day
Yikes, I’ve done the math and I’m not drinking nearly enough water!!
How am I going to do this??
I recommend that you measure it out first thing in the morning. You put it in your favorite pitcher or refillable water bottle.
Drink 8 ounces as soon as you get out of bed.
Continue sipping so that by the time you’ve finished breakfast you’ve had another 4-8 ounces.
Continue sipping throughout the day so that by the time you finish lunch you’ve had half of your daily amount.
Continue sipping throughout the afternoon and into dinner.
By the time, you’ve eaten dinner you should be done.
“But I hate water! Can I drink something else?” There is no simple yes or no, but the research suggests no. So try a squeeze of lemon or lime. Add a few slices of cucumber to your pitcher. Gently crush a few, fresh mint or basil leaves to give your water a flavor boost. Substitute a cup of watermelon cubes for a cup of water. Herbal teas count towards your 20% not towards your water. And what about seltzer water that’s all the rage these days? It doesn’t really count either as it can irritate the lining of the bladder, and cause bloating. Save it for a special occasion.
Still don’t think you can do it? Start small and set a goal to switch out half of whatever you’re drinking for water. See how you feel, and the next week, switch out more.
Let me know how it goes.