Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Perfect Beverage

*This may be a longer article, but it contains useful information

"Water Rules"
Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD

Water is the perfect beverage. It is fat-free, sugar-free, and calorie-free, and it works with, rather than against, our bodies’ natural thirst and hunger systems. Replace the typical 19 ounces of soft drinks, energy drinks, vitamin waters, or bottled teas guzzled daily by each American with plain water and you will quench your thirst and cut almost 250 calories from your daily diet, the equivalent of a one-pound weight loss every two weeks, or 26 pounds in a year. Water always has been and always will be the most important nutrient in our diets. Second only to oxygen, it is hands-down, absolutely critical for life. Everything in the body - from reproduction to mood and memory - depends on water. Water helps ward off fatigue (the number one health complaint in the United States), keeps tissues hydrated, helps prevent headaches, kidney stones, and urinary tract infections. It even helps make us smarter, wards off memory loss, and improves attention. The body just won’t work right without enough water. It can’t rid itself of waste products, so toxins accumulate. The cells can’t function properly when water balance is disrupted. Even mild dehydration, such as losing 1 to 2 percent of body weight or 1 ½ pounds for a 150 pound person, results in a variety of problems, from headaches and fatigue to lightheadedness and reasoning ability. Our bodies can’t store excess water. That means daily intakes are essential, preferably spread evenly throughout the day. Your body processes water slowly. Drink a quarter cup of water every 15 minutes and it has time to make it into tissues. Drink a quart in five minutes and most of the water will be flushed out in the urine.

Follow the 8x8 rule: Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. That’s about how much fluid your body loses just staying alive. Of course, that’s just a guideline and some people will need more than the basic 8x8, including people who exercise, live or work in hot climates, or perspire heavily, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. How can you make this a habit?

• Fill a 64-ounce pitcher with water. Place it, along with a glass, somewhere handy, like on the kitchen counter if you work from home or on your desk at work. Or, fill eight glasses with water and line them up on the dining room table.
• Take eight big gulps of water every time you pass a water fountain (1 slurp = approximately 1 ounce).
• Bring a water bottle with you, if you commute to work or when picking up the kids from daycare or school.
• Need a little incentive to drink water? Try dressing it up with a twist of lemon, lime,
or orange. (no citrus when you add ThinStick to it)  Or, mix a little fruit juice with sparkling water and ice.

You’ll know if you are getting enough fluid when your urine is pale yellow to clear
and you urinate every two to four hours. (One exception to this rule isif you take large doses of B vitamins, which can color the urine a bright yellow.)


1 comment:

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