Boy oh boy……it’s hot!! It’s been 33/34 degree’s c or pushing into the 90’s F in the UK the last few days and with no wind or air it’s felt hotter. Not that I’m complaining, I’d live the rest of my life in just shorts if i could. However when it’s like this we all tend to spend a lot of time looking in the fridge and thinking “what the hell can i drink?”
We all realise that when it’s hot like this you need to drink more, not just to quench your thirst but to keep yourself hydrated. We are all aware that hydration is so important and that dehydration is a BAD thing right? Of course……but do we really go about it the right way and do we know what we really should be drinking?
The answer is WATER!!!! We probably all know that but do we know why? Do we know just how good for us it is and what many of the amazing benefits are of drinking plain ol simple H2O? We are probably all vaguely aware from our school days that our bodies are largely made up of water, 70%+ and that should tell you why it is just so vital for so many elements of our health.
Below I’ve detailed 6 reasons why drinking more water daily will have immediate, positive and visible benefits to you, your body and your health. Firstly though lets deal with one of the big issues. You’ve probably all heard the “You need to drink 2-4 litres of water per day, or at least 8 large glasses”…….hmmmmm really? In an ideal world that might be true, but this site is all about reality and ordinary people. How realistic is that? For a start, with the best will in the world, drinking 4 litres of water a day + other drinks would mean you’d spend half your life in the toilet. There is also the practicality element depending on how and where you work, and then there is the boredom factor (I’ll cover that a bit later). In my view we need to get real here. Most of us don’t drink enough water so any extra is an improvement….but what should we be aiming for? If you can drink 1.5-2 lires of water a day or 3 to 4 pints, plus your normal consumption of other drinks, that’s plenty. That equates to a couple of decent sized glasses in the morning (when it’s most important), 1 at lunchtime, 1 at dinner time and maybe a smaller one before bed. Job done.
Reasons to drink Water.
- Drinking water actively helps you to lose weight. How? Well in a number of ways. Water actually helps to fire up and fuel your metabolism. An increased metabolism helps burn more calories even without exercise. Not only that but the water helps flush away excess fats in the body. An additional benefit is that drinking water helps alleviate hunger pains. Try drinking a large glass of water 15 minutes before a meal and you will feel slightly less hungry when you eat. Do this at every meal and it will aid your weight loss.
- One for the ladies. Drinking extra or more water will have a dramatic effect on your skin. Many of us, especially ladies who apparently are “so much busier” than us guys, are walking around partially dehydrated much of the time. Your skin and the fatty layer just below it contain a huge amount of water. If you allow your overall water levels to drop that skin and fatty layer will shrivel and tighten, and you know what that means……….the dreaded wrinkles. I’ve no idea who this lady is but hope she doesn’t mind me using this picture. Check out the difference after just 4 weeks. Noticeably less wrinkles and grooves in the face, dark marks under the eyes are gone and the general colour and tone of the skin looks so much better. Give it a go ladies…it works.
3. Big improvements in the function of ALL of your internal organs. Your kidneys and Liver cannot function properly without enough water in your body and these are vital for flushing out toxins, cleaning your blood and generally purifying your whole body. Over the long term these can be badly damaged by prolonged lack of water but this can be quickly improved by upping your daily intake. However it’s not just those. Your heart and arteries love water, as it also helps to clear away some of the clogging that age and diet produce and also helps the heart pump blood more effectively around your body. Finally your stomach and intestines use water to regulate and make your digestive system work much more effectively. You will go to the loo more regularly (both types) and less painfully and after a time will feel less bloated and cramped in the stomach area. There are even some studies that suggest that drinking plenty of water can help prevent certain types of cancer such as colon cancer.
4. Reduces fatigue and improves mood. Many people wander around constantly saying “I feel so tired all the time”, or feeling grouchy and grumpy, unable to easily deal with the day to day issues that life throws at us all. Research has shown that just a 2% drop in ideal water levels can dramatically increase fatigue in the body, lead to an inability to concentrate and can also alter mood in a negative way. Upping your water intake will over a period of time give you more energy (and that alone will improve your mood), but also has a direct positive effect on your brain function and actively puts you in a more positive mind set and improves your mood. Water makes you smile…….not sure if that’s a catchphrase yet but maybe it should be.
5. Drinking water improves joint pain and issues with muscles and ligaments. Joints are just that, joints. If you have a door hinge and it gets stiff, what does it need…..oil. Well joints in the human body are no different. Our shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, ankles etc etc all move and all need lubrication to do that easily and effectively. Cartilage, spinal discs, ligaments, tendons etc all contain water to give them their flexibility and sponginess. If you become dehydrated or just don’t quite have enough water then guess what? All those joints stiffen up a little. I’m not going to tell you that it is a miracle cure and if the cartilage in your knee is completely shot that drinking water will solve it, that just isn’t true. But it is true that if your are a normal person , drinking extra water will help lubricate those joints, add some extra tone and flexibility to your muscles, soften and relax your tendons and ligaments and over all that may add just an extra 1-3% improvement in how your body feels. Isn’t that a great result from something that just flows out of the tap??
6. The last one is not so obvious but increasingly seems like it may be important. Drinking water helps to regulate your bodies PH levels. What’s that? The PH level is the balance between Acidity and Alkaline levels in your body. It is best to be pretty neutral or moving slightly towards Alkaline. There is some research that seems to indicate that excess acidity in the body “may” be a cause of various diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Things like bad diet, lack of water, smoking etc can all cause higher levels of acidity. Drinking extra water helps balance your PH levels and although this is not proven , a balanced PH level is much more likely to lead to longer term health benefits.
So here are just a couple of tips to help you add more of this vital, life giving and health promoting substance into your daily routines. Firstly, drink a large glass of water pretty much as soon as you get up. Head down the stairs or into the bathroom and glug down a decent sized glass before you do anything else (coffee comes 2nd I’m afraid). Not only does this get one of your days glasses done before you can think about it, but your body which has had no hydration for the 5, 6 or 8 hours (if you’re lucky) that you’ve been asleep, desperately needs it.
Drink another glass 15 minutes before lunch and 15 minutes before dinner. You will eat slightly less but it will also actively improve the digestion of the food you eat.
My final tip, cos lets face it, gallons of water can be slightly boring, is add some simple ingredients to freshen up the flavour slightly. I’d suggest fresh lemons and/or some mint or Ginger. Simply get a large jug or 2 litre bottle. Fill with water. Slice up a lemon and add to the water, stick it in the fridge and away you go. Mint and ginger as extra’s if you want to be totally radical.
I hope you enjoyed this and please please give it a try. Make drinking 3 to 4 pints of water (around 1.5-2 litres) a day your mission over the hot summer months. Do it every day and then come back to me in a month and tell me how you feel.
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