Water Water Everywhere—So why aren’t you drinking?

image: Recycled Surround Fitness water bottle (123rf.com)


I know, I know, you’ve heard it a million times: “Drink More Water.” Well, lift your glass to 1 million and one! Here are some potent reminders and perhaps some new information to propel you to invite more H2O into your life. The CDC agrees


Reminder: Your body needs 6-8 glasses of fluid a day (doesn’t have to be water, though it’s certainly a good choice) to help with normal body functions, like—

bullet-glass-of-sparkling-water Digesting meals.
bullet-glass-of-sparkling-water Ridding your body of waste products via urine.
bullet-glass-of-sparkling-water Regulating body temperature.
bullet-glass-of-sparkling-water Lubricating limbs and joints.
bullet-glass-of-sparkling-water Relieving constipation.

So what happens if you don’t get enough water? Natural protective mechanisms kick in. And that means, for instance:

You will retain water, causing swelling in different parts of your body.
Muscles will not function as well since water helps maintain muscle tone by promoting contraction and preventing dehydration (see text box for dehydration signals).
You may feel diminished energy and endurance.

Signs of Dehydration
What to look for:
Why this happens
Dark urine, small amounts Water is the main ingredient in urine; you body tries to hold on to all available water.
Headache Pain This a sign that your brain is short of oxygen; blood carries oxygen and is mostly water.
Swollen hands, feet, and legs When your body tries to protect its water level, it picks spaces outside the cells to store water, causing these spaces to swell.
Rapid heartbeat, weak, fast pulse Heart races to pump a diminished supply of blood to your muscles.
Dizziness, confusion, difficulty Your body pumps less blood to the brain.
Reference: Lina Omichinski, RD. Nutrition Dimension/Gannett Education, Inc., 2009.


Avoid Bloat
When you deprive your body of needed carbohydrates (45-65% of your total cals should come from carbs), you may become partially dehydrated. This is because carbs are stored with water as glycogen; and when a lack of carbs depletes glycogen stores, water is also depleted. Soooo, when you start to eat carbs again (and everyone will, indeed, they must), hello bloated feeling as glycogen stores start being replenished.

Nicer Skin
If the health reasons don’t convince you, the vanity ones might. These include better, healthier looking skin. After all, skin is an organ composed of cells made up of water, without which it won’t function optimally. If skin doesn’t get the water it needs, it can turn dry, tight, even flaky. Dry, less resilient skin is prone to what? Wrinkling.

So Drink Up
Have water (or another fluid) with every snack and meal. Avoid soda and fruit juices and other sugary drinks though.

 Try carbonated water or maybe add a few drops of lemon or lime juice to spark it up (again, no added sugar).
Eat more fruits and veggies—they have high water content. You can squeeze out about 20% of your fluid needs from foods.
Keep water with you in at your desk, in your car, or in your purse, backpack, briefcase, or whatever you carry around.

And, as always, keep moving….Jen

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