Did you know that our bodies are made up of 50 – 60% water? Water regulates our body temperature, helps our breathing, transports nutrients, carries away waste and helps our muscles function. If water is so essential why is it one of the most neglected parts of our diet?
Some of us go an entire day at times without one glass! Every part of your body is dependent on and comprised of water, and the most important parts need even more. Your brain is made up of 75% water, your blood 82% and your lungs nearly 90%.
Besides being a vital component of your body, water may be the single most important catalyst in losing weight and keeping it off. Water suppresses the appetite naturally and helps the body metabolize stored fat. Studies have shown that a decrease in water intake will cause fat deposits to increase, while an increase in water intake can actually reduce fat deposits.
If physical fitness and performance is important to you, make sure you drink enough water. I see many people in the gym that work out consistently and aerobically but are not properly hydrated. Once you start exercising, keep drinking water frequently. A good rule of thumb is to drink one cup every 15-20 minutes. Keep a water bottle with you. Take frequent water breaks. Do whatever it takes to stay hydrated.
Dehydration has many effects, the most common being fatigue, weakness, headache, lack of concentration and even cramping and nausea. If your body is not properly hydrated, it cannot work at its peak performance level. So it is essential to drink water frequently if you want to reach your optimum fitness level.
How many of you are having problems with fluid retention? Drinking enough water is the best treatment for fluid retention. When the body gets less water, it perceives this as a threat to survival and begins to hold on to every drop. If your body is used to not getting water, it actually stores more in ankles, hips and thighs. In other words, it doesn’t trust you to keep bringing water, so it keeps what it can get, like a thirsty cactus. Once it realizes the water will keep coming, your body will get rid of the stores and you’ll lose weight!
The recommended daily amount of water is eight 8-ounce glasses a day. Here are just a few simple changes you can make to get more water every day:
• Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up in the morning
• Carry a water bottle with you at all times and keep one at your desk at work
• When the afternoon snack attack strikes, drink a glass of water instead
• Drink a glass of water 30 minutes before every meal
• Add lime, lemon or other natural flavorings to your water
• Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to have a glass of water
• Track it. One check mark for every glass consumed
Remember, if you stop drinking enough water, your body fluids will be thrown out of balance again, and you may experience fluid retention, unexplained weight gain and loss of thirst. To remedy the situation you’ll have to go back and force another “breakthrough.”
Thoughts to ponder: Thousands have lived without love, not one without water – W. H. Auden
NCSU & NC A&T University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation.
Christine W. Smith
Family and Consumer Sciences
North Carolina Cooperative Extension
Wayne County Center
P. O. Box 68
Goldsboro, NC 27533