Monday, August 11, 2008

The Importance of H20

Keeping hydrated is sometimes underrated. I happen to actually love drinking water, so it generally isn't a problem for me. However, I have talked to many people lately who say they don't "like" water, or they can't drink as much as is recommended, or they think drinking water will make them bloat so they stay thirsty, or they think drinking coffee and soda all day is the same as drinking water.

Starting from the back of the list, coffee and sodas are not water. They may be mostly water (or sugar) but they have other ingredients that actually can cause worse dehydration. Ingredients like caffeine and sugar, for example. For me, I gave up sodas years ago when saccharine was banned. From time to time I will have a sugar-laden soft drink, but it is so rare that I doubt my overall health is affected. Just like anything else, you can have it once in a while, it is the habitual consumption that really causes problems. And, I do drink water--about a gallon every day!

That leads to the next belief, that drinking water will cause bloat. The opposite is actually true. If you restrict your water intake then you body will hold onto the water it has. That is what causes bloat and swelling. The best way to combat the bloat is to increase your water intake!

If you are one of those who just doesn't "like" water, I have a couple of suggestions. First, it could be that you are drinking tap water, and while it is probably safe, it may have chlorine and other chemicals in it. These chemicals are added to our water to make them "safer." I have found that I am very sensitive to the smell and taste of these chemicals. So even "really good" tap water is difficult for me to drink.And remember, I LIKE to drink water! Real water should actually have no taste to it.

So try filtering your water. I use a Brita filter and find that it works great. There are other fancy options for purifying or oxygenating your water. They may be worth it, but for me right now, the price puts it into a "not at this time" category.

If that doesn't work for you, try adding a little squirt of lemon into your water. Or try another fruit juice...just add a little splash. Don't buy the premade drinks in the store. They'll have more sugars and cost you lots more money!

Finally, check the temperature of your water. I like water about room temperature, I find that I cannot drink as much water if it is very cold--it will actually upset my stomach. The exception is if it is extremely hot and I will be outside. Then I will want my water chilled--but that is only partly for thirst, it is also for temperature control and replacing the water I have been sweating out!

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