It might seem funny to start this blog off on a post about water..boring ol’ water, BUT I think that this clear liquid is pure gold when it comes to how we feel and how our bodies function on a daily basis. I think it is the basis of a healthy, fully functioning body. Did you know that approximately 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated? That is WAY more than half the population, and isn’t shocking considering that a lot of the chronic illnesses, aches, pains, and complaints we often find ourselves going to the doctor for are remedied by simply drinking enough water.
The benefits of drinking enough water are unlimited. On the surface (think, your skin) consuming enough water will keep your skin hydrated and plump, your complexion clear, your eyes bright, and will help you sweat (which is amazing for your skin! It’s a major form of detoxification). Staying hydrated will help your athletic performance, as enough water in your system helps keeps things moving through the body. Water will help avoid cramps in muscles, such as a charlie horse, and helps keep nutrients moving through your body to aid in repair after a workout. If you get a headache, instead of going for the ibuprofen in the cupboard, try drinking a lot of water and see if that helps, most of the time when we get a headache, it’s a sign of dehydration. Drinking enough water is also critical to our heart health; a dehydrated body will cause the blood to thicken, which is the body’s response to prevent water loss from it’s cells. I could honestly go on all day..Here are the other benefits of drinking enough water, (not limited to just this list!)
- improved sleep
- more energy and stamina
- flushes the body of toxins
- aids the immune system functions, therefore helps to fight illnesses
- improved fitness performance
- improved skin appearance (less wrinkles and lines)
- improves regularity and aids in digestive health
Now, how and when to drink water?? First, the most common complaint about water is that it doesn’t taste good, and it is boring. Most likely, the go-to choice of beverage of choice for the average American is soda, or another drink that is highly sweetened. I will even admit, I love the bottled Honest Teas, and even one bottle of that can contain like…15 grams of sugar. When we are accustomed to sweeter tastes, it can be hard to down a glass of water. I try to recommend adding things to water to make it taste really good, and make it easy to drink. Some of my favorite things to add to water are citrus fruits, berries, and herbs. Here are some of my go-to combinations:
- lemons & basil
- limes & oranges
- raspberries & rosemary
- basil, mint, rosemary
- blueberries, lemon, mint
- grapefruit (with Stevia*)
- ginger & lemon
*If you are transitioning from drinking a lot of sugary beverages, you could add a few drops of Stevia liquid to your water. This natural sweetener from the Stevia herb will make your water taste sweeter, but does not spike your blood sugar levels.
These combos are like natural vitamin waters. You can make a big container of water the night before and keep it in the fridge overnight so in the morning it’s full of flavor and nutrients. I especially love the herb waters in the summer when I can just walk out my back door and grab tons of herbs and make flavored waters with them, and the health benefits of using herbs in water are ENDLESS.
The most important time of the day to chug some water is first thing in the morning. Sleeping actually dehydrates us, as the body is working all night when it repairs itself. Before your coffee, tea, fresh juice, or smoothie, drink down a glass of water to help get your system going. You’ll definitely feel the difference right away! I try to drink a big glass of water before most meals, and always have a container of water with me when I’m working, watching Netflix, driving, etc. It’s always there and if I get bored it’s just something I can grab. Sometimes I do forget to drink water during the day (hey I’m not perfect) and I can totally tell by the end of the day. My eyes get dry, I feel puffy, and slow, and often feel foggy. When I feel this way I just chug as much water as I can and slowly I start to come back to life. Another tip for drinking water is to buy yourself a cool container to drink from (any excuse to shop, am I right). Without fail, I definitely stay ridiculously hydrated whenever I have a cool new water bottle. But hey! If that’s what it takes then why not. The rule of thumb to know if you are properly hydrated is your urine should be clear, if it’s dark yellow in color, then well, you’ve got work to do.
I hope this inspires you do treat your body well and hydrate yourself, you’ll definitely feel the difference and get hooked, I promise.