Drink More Water
Like a broken record, you’ve probably heard – “drink more water”, “drink 8 glasses”, “only drink filtered water”, “blah blah blah.” But why does it matter? How much is enough? And how big is a glass? Today we’re going to talk about step 1 of your health makeover – Drinking more water, and why such a small thing can make such a big difference to your health.
Dehydration masks so many symptoms and drinking water can resolve many health issues including weight gain. Dr. Batmanghelidj, the author of the bestselling book Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, even asserts that “You are not sick, you are thirsty” and by drinking water you can alleviate most pain and sickness due to dehydration. A few conditions that can be improved are depression, asthma, arthritis, back pain, migraines, high blood pressure, fatigue, multiple sclerosis, weight gain (not a condition, but many of us may feel that way!) and many more.
Who knew? It may seem a little far-fetched, but there is science behind why water helps alleviate each of these symptoms, but unfortunately not enough time to explain all of it in this blog – you’d need a whole book. So you can go ahead and read the book or just read this blog and try the experiment below to see for yourself if it works.
Just adding a few more glasses of water each day can greatly reduce your cravings for sweets (dehydration often masquerades as sweet cravings because your body needs energy.) So instead of wolfing down that candy bar, try drinking 1-2 glasses of water and see how you feel. You can always have the candy bar afterwards if it doesn’t work so what have you got to lose ?
In addition, drinking more water can help prevent premature aging, eliminate pain and headaches, lessen hypertension and promotes weight loss. Interesting how the preventing aging and weight loss benefits are the things that catch most people’s attention and get them motivated!
So if you can’t stand the taste of water and wonder how you’ll be able to choke it down, try adding some stuff to make it taste better. For example, add a little bit of fruit juice, squeeze some lemon juice and a squirt of raw agave nectar to make lemonade, add cucumber slices, add a spearmint tea bag (or any of the vast array of herbal teas available.)
Sometimes you’re so busy during the day you don’t even have time to go to the bathroom let alone get up to get water. If it’s there in front of you you’re more likely to drink it, so to make water more accessible, get a large refillable container (if plastic make sure it’s BPA free) and keep it with you at your desk during the day. They have great BPA free ones at Whole Foods that also shows measurements so you can see how many 8 oz glasses of water you’re drinking during the day.
Try to avoid drinking water that’s too cold, it’s easier to absorb it and less of a shock on the body if your water is closer to room temperature. I also like having hot water with lemon in the morning. Not only is it cozy and a good replacement for at least your first cup of morning coffee, it’s wonderful at cleansing your liver and detoxifying your body. Water overall is a great detoxifier – it flushes out your kidneys, bladder and lymphatic system. Try drinking warm water every 10 minutes throughout the day if you’d like to add an extra punch to your detox program.
And what kind of water should you drink? Although the federal standards are higher for tap water than for bottled water, there are still contaminants like fluoride, chlorine and lead (some intentionally added by the government.) Other things that get in the water are medicines people have consumed – Do you really want to know how it gets in there?…think recycled sewage and use your imagination.
So if you are going to drink tap water I highly recommend getting a filter. Whether you go for your basic model like a Britta or the top of the line models like a carbon or reverse osmosis filter, make sure you change the filter cartridges regularly. If you’re not ready to invest in a reverse osmosis filter, another way to go is to get a water cooler in your home. There are lots of companies like Poland spring that offer this service and I love how the water has hot and cold taps so you can make tea (or use hot and cold water to make it lukewarm – I know, why not just start with lukewarm bottled water, but it works for me.)
And BTW, the reason drinking water helps you to lose weight is that you are crowding out other things that you would eat and drink otherwise. Crowding out will be a theme you see over and over with me – I figure add good stuff in and then you won’t have to work so hard to take stuff out of your diet, it just happens naturally.
OK, so that’s some background info on water, now here are some steps mapped out to help you try the “Drink More Water” experiment! I’ll be back soon with my next blog “Step #2 Increasing Green Leafy Vegetables.”
The Drink More Water Experiment:
Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water (8 oz each) before 4 pm each day,
Drink 2 of the glasses as soon as you wake up in the morning to hydrate
Drink 1-2 glasses when you’re hungry or having sugar cravings
Add some flavor (a little fruit juice, lemon, herbal tea, etc) it if you don’t like the taste.
Get a filter or drink high quality bottled water
Try to drink lukewarm or warm water rather than very cold water
Check in with yourself after the first week and then the second to see if you notice any changes
Ingrid is a board certified holistic health counselor and the founder of Full Life Nutrition LLC. She received her training at Columbia University and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and is a member of the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP).