Are you suddenly starving? Drink some water.
This recommendation has been around for ages, but lately it got some major evidence to back it up. A new study of nearly 10,000 adults shows that staying hydrated by drinking enough water as well as tea and eating water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables can help with weight management.
Our bodies are made up of about 70% water and water plays a role in virtually every function whether that’s keeping our blood flowing or our skin healthy or even our ability to blink our eyes. Water is essentially our most important nutrient and even mild dehydration can begin to compromise our health.
Studies found that drinking 17 ounces of water increases participants’ metabolic rate by up to 30%, which could mean that a water consumption of 1.5 liters (51 ounces) a day could burn an extra 17,400 calories a year. This comes down to the possibility that you could lose five pounds just by drinking more water.
The amount of water you should drink in a day depends on many factors – including your weight and activity level – but health authorities commonly recommend to drink 8 eight-ounce glasses of water (which equals 2 liters), others say you should cut your weight in half and drink that many ounces of water. If you are physically active, it is highly recommended to increase your water intake.
While drinking more water can increase your metabolic rate and therefore help you burn extra calories, it has also been found that if you drink a glass of water before eating your meal, you feel fuller and consume on average 75 calories less at that meal.
If you are trying to lose weight, water works. But besides helping you lose weight, water improves bodily functions in many other ways as well.
#1 Water Boosts Energy
Are you feeling tired and exhausted? Dehydration may be to blame and water can be your pick-me-up. Water is essential to help your blood flow better and deliver oxygen and other vital nutrients to all the cells in your body. If you are properly hydrated, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to push your blood throughout your body, so if you need an energy boost without taxing your heart, drink more water.
#2 Water Lowers Stress
Your brain tissue is made up of 70 to 80% water. If you are dehydrated, your body – along with your mind – will be put under pressure and experiences stress. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated and you should follow your body’s cue to refill your water tank to avoid feeling stressed out.
#3 Water Improves Mental Clarity
If you aren’t properly hydrated, you set yourself up for reduced alertness, increased tiredness and impaired short-term memory. Even being only dehydrated by 1-2% can have a negative impact on your cognitive performance.
#4 Water Gives You Results in the Gym
Water helps to avoid muscle cramping and lubricates your joints to prevent injury and pain. As it turns out, if you are properly hydrated, you can actually work out longer and harder without getting tired too quickly or ‘hitting a wall’. Dehydration reduces blood flow to the brain and diminishes delivery of nutrients to your muscles. Proper hydration is also a major factor in ensuring an optimal recovery process.
#5 Water Improves Your Appearance
Is water the fountain of youth? Well, not quite, but if you are dehydrated, your skin dries out, your lips crack and fine lines and wrinkles appear. Water helps to flush out toxins from the skin, improves circulation and ensures that your skin stays supple. Skin cells drink water just as you do and with water, they plump up a bit, which gives your skin more elasticity and a better tone. If you are looking to protect your teeth from decay, saliva is the body’s natural defense system and water is required to make saliva.
#6 Water Makes You Regular
Water, together with fiber, is essential for good digestion. Water helps waste particles to dissolve better and they can pass more smoothly through your digestive tract. If you aren’t drinking enough water and are dehydrated, your colon is drier, which makes it harder to get rid of the waste.
To keep your weight in check and gain all the benefits of proper hydration, stick to pure water. While you can get up to 20% of water from watery foods like watermelon, spinach, soup and many other options, you want to avoid sugary drinks and too much caffeine and alcohol, all of which can make you dehydrated.
The debate on how much water you should be drinking a day will continue, just think about the fact that we exhale around two cups of water as water vapor and on a normal day, we sweat out about two cups of water. If you sweat a lot and exercise heavily, you definitely have to increase your water intake and if you are looking to manage your weight, add another couple of cups a day.
ARE YOU DRINKING ENOUGH WATER?
Joschi & Monika