Water… it’s an essential nutrient and the most common substance in the body. Water does many things for us… helps to regulate body temperature, assists in digestion and excretion. But are we drinking enough and do the benefits of drinking water include weight loss?
We’ve all heard, time and time again, that we need to drink at least eight glasses of water a day to stay healthy. Recent thinking has moved away from naming a number of glasses per day, but there are many who continue to hold that drinking lots of crystal clear water helps with weight loss, a healthy-looking complexion, flushes toxins from the body and fights cravings too. Though research in 2008 didn’t bear this out, water continues to be a healthy, all natural choice.
Surprisingly, you could be dehydrated right now, and not even know it. In fact, there are many who believe it’s rather common for us all not to be drinking enough water.
Part of this comes from the modern conveniences of heat and air conditioning, which tend to dry out the air inside your home or office. Add to that the average 10 cups of water our bodies lose each day and you can see why we might be in need of more fluid than we think.
Of course the weather is also a factor in dehydration, especially during the height of the summer season, those “dog days” of summer when the air isn’t moving and the sun is beating down from a clear blue sky.
Doing anything physical in this type of heat can be dangerous if you don’t drink enough liquid before, during and afterward. Feeling weak and dizzy are your first clues that something is amiss, if nausea follows, you need to get rest in the shade and fluids until your symptoms improve. If they don’t, seek medical help right away as heat illnesses can (and do) take lives, even young, healthy lives.
When it comes to weight loss, renowned and highly successful Weight Watchers expects you to log your water consumption each day, just as you list the foods you eat and other liquids you drink. Water has no points, but that doesn’t mean it is without benefit.
You might also think about doubling up on your water consumption for each and every serving of soda or other caffeinated beverage that you have during the day. The caffeine in these drinks acts as a diuretic that removes water from your system.
When you start to make the switch from other drinks to water, you’ll likely want a bit more zip in your drink than unflavored water as to offer. Here’s where you can add flavor with a bit of peppermint, a slice of lime or lemon. Seltzer or carbonated water are also options that bring a little zest to the good for you drink.
Once you get accustomed to drinking flavored waters, you’ll find that your taste for the unflavored variety comes into play and you’ll naturally move toward drinking more unflavored water.
An important point to be made about water and weight loss. About 22% of our calories do come from what we drink. Many of us drink calories without realizing the impact on our daily total. Switching to no calorie alternatives like water, tea or even diet sodas can have a big impact on the number of calories you take in.
Another benefit of drinking water for weight loss is to substitute it as much as possible for what you usually drink. Have water with meals, keep some ice cold water at your desk or in your car. It’s best not to try and chug your glasses all at once — too much water in too short a time can actually be quite dangerous — instead, drink regularly through the day. You might also up the amount of water you’re giving your body by eating water rich fruits (watermelon) and veggies (lettuce and tomato) can be effective ways to get the fluid you need and help you fill up too.