Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Water: our new best friend

Your body is about 60 percent water.
Your blood is about 82 percent water.
Your brain is about 75 percent water.
Your muscles are about 75 percent water.
Even your bones are 25 percent water. 

Our number one simple step to health is:
drink more water.

Let's start from the outside and work our way in. 
  • If you take a grape and take the water out of it, what do you get? A raisin. And if you remove the water from your skin, what do you get? Wrinkles. Everyone wants smooth, radiant skin and water is one very important factor in that equation. Our bodies require different amounts of water according to our body weight. A simple way to calculate how much water you should be drinking is to take your body weight (in pounds) and divide it by 2. That is how many ounces of water you should drink every day (ex: if I weigh 140 lbs. then I would divide 140 by 2 and get 70. My personal water prescription would be 70 ounces a day).
  • Drinking water leads to weight loss.  Cutting out calories from the beverages you drink all day long (juices, sodas, etc.) can shed pounds easier than any other diet plan. If you are a regular drinker of non-water beverages, I challenge you to test this out. Here's a few more reasons to make the switch...
  • Most of us are dehydrated and we don't even realize it. Having strong thirst or dry-mouth is actually one of the body's last signs of dehydration.  When we have left our bodies in this state too long (meaning we haven't been drinking our "personal water prescription" level as described above) other problems start to occur:  headaches, muscle and joint aches, asthma, chronic constipation, hemorrhoids, high blood pressure, allergies, high cholesterol, memory loss, and even kidney stones (to name a few!). I very enthusiastically recommend Dr. Batmanghelidj's book: Your body's Many Cries for Water. His website also has a wealth of info worth checking out. 
  • Drinking water before meals has two main benefits. First, it promotes the feeling of fullness and you are more likely to eat less. Second, it greatly aids in digestion.  Your stomach needs a hot and acidic environment to properly digest food and when we drink cold beverages during our meals we put this beneficial "fire" out - cooling down the heat needed for digestion. If needed, drink just small amounts of beverages with meals (preferably warm).
A quick list of the benefits of drinking water every day:
  • your skin will look better
  • your brain will function more clearly
  • it will aid in the elimination of waste
  • it will improve circulation
  • it will help prevent numerous degenerative diseases
Water tips to help you get started:
  • start your day off right by drinking a big glass of hot, lemon water (12-16oz.) Your body has been detoxing all night and a good flushing is what it craves. Heat your water on the stove (not the microwave-we'll talk more about that later) until it's hot, but so you can still drink it relatively quickly and then add the juice of 1/2 - 1 whole lemon. Drink it up and your body will thank you (a great side effect of this habit is that it can naturally and effectively get things "moving")
  • if you don't enjoy drinking plain water: add sliced lemon, lime, cucumber, or even a sprig of crushed mint to liven it up a bit
  • try to drink enough to where you have to pee once an hour (or close to it). Your urine should be translucent and clear to very light in color (to avoid having to get up during the night to use the bathroom I slow-down my water drinking 2 hours before bedtime)
  • don't include diuretic drinks into your line-up (sodas, caffeinated teas, etc.). These actually make your body lose water!
  • if you have to drink something besides water I would recommend non-sweetened, decaf herbal tea or freshly made juice (that you make yourself or buy from a vendor that can squeeze it right in front of you), but try your best to make water your drink of choice - your body will thank you!

Some information for this post was taken from Dr. Don Colbert's Book: What You Don't Know May Be Killing You.  It's an inexpensive, easy-read worth picking up.