I am a big believer in keeping things simple. This is especially true when it comes to making changes in life. At this point in the new year many of us have thoughtfully created a long list of resolutions. Even with our best intentions these resolutions are often unrealistic and unsustainable. Drinking more water should be at the top of your list. It's a lifelong commitment that takes very little effort but reaps huge health rewards. We hear it all the time…"you need to drink more water". But why is it so important? The reasons are simple and straightforward and even making a very small increase in your daily consumption can produce tremendous health benefits.
EATING AND DIGESTION
Poor eating habits contribute to sluggish a digestive system. This can cause nausea, constipation and fatigue but can also lead to irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux and much more serious digestive diseases. Water is vitally important for good digestion. Here’s why:
- In a nutshell, drinking water makes you poop and pee more. This flushes toxins from the body, reduces constipation, and decreases your risk of colon cancer. When you’re dehydrated and the transit time of your food is slow, your body will absorb more toxins. We want to flush them out. This is particularly important when you’re sick so top up that glass the next time you’re feeling under the weather.
- Your body needs water to make digestive juices in your stomach. These juices help break down food, which allow more nutrients to be absorbed into the body and reduces the stress placed on the rest of the digestive system to get the job done.
- When it comes to mealtime, water helps suppress your appetite so you don’t overeat. Drinking a glass before a meal will make you feel fuller and get those digestive juices flowing. Often times we think we're hungry even shortly after eating. Usually it has more to do with not being hydrated.
Bottom Line: Start every meal with a glass of water. You’ll feel fuller, prepare your digestive system to work at its best, and remove nasty toxins from the body.
Active individuals need more water to make up for the water lost during exercise (sweat). By staying hydrated you will:
- boost your energy and improve focus
- regulate your body temperature
- reduce muscle cramps associated with strenuous exercise
- lubricate and cushion joints
For many of us with chronic back troubles, water can help ease pain by keeping those disks lubricated.
Here’s something you may not know…your body can’t efficiently burn fat without an adequate water supply. The body needs lots of water for a huge number of tasks. Unless there is enough water in your system, fat burning gets pushed aside to handle more important functions. If you’re drinking enough, then your liver can focus on burning stored fat for energy. If your goal is to get a little leaner, then drinking water needs to be a priority.
Bottom line: You burn MORE fat when hydrated. You burn LESS fat when dehydrated.
Water is the best all-natural anti-aging treatment. Your skin is made up of cells that need water so drinking water will moisturize and improve the vitality of your skin, reduce the intensity of wrinkles and give it a healthy glow.
Bottom line: Drinking water helps you look younger. Looking young never gets old.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU NEED TO DRINK MORE WATER?
There’s no perfect amount of water for everyone but there are signs that may indicate you need to drink more. You may experience any of the following if you aren’t drinking enough:
- fatigue/mood swings
- hunger even though you have recently eaten
- joint aches
- dry skin
- darker and infrequent urination
I am a big believer in keeping things simple. The best way to make any change a lasting one is to start small. If you're experiencing any of the dehydration indicators above, you may need to add more water to your diet. BUT make the change a reasonable one. Start by adding 1 glass a day for the first few weeks. If things are feeling good then maybe that’s all you needed. If you think you need more then ensure any increase is a slow and incremental one.
Your path to great health starts with a drop of water!
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