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Water – The Neglected Nutrient

By Elizabeth McMillan, MS, CNS

The only New Year’s Revolution I have ever stuck with faithfully is to drink half of my body weight in ounces daily.  That year I was given a largeWater The Health Nutrient Fairfax Virginia Nalgene (32 oz) bottle for Christmas and I decided to make use of it.  From then on I drank at least two of those daily.  I started noticing that my skin was clearer, my energy was up but most astonishingly was that my daily headaches were decreasing not only in severity but also the amount.  From there my water bottle has become my safety blanket, I go everywhere with it.  I’ve had several bottles since then, but I always have it with me.

Drinking our daily recommended amount of water per day is the easiest way to support our health.  I always ask my clients how their daily water intake is, and their usual reply is “not enough.”  My usual response is okay, that is our first order of business.  Drinking about half of your body weight in ounces of pure water will do wonders for your health.  When our body is dehydrated we cannot function properly.  It is like the major highway system of our body went from four lanes to two.  Our transportation comes to a screeching halt.

The facts:

  • blood is 82% water
  • muscles are 75% water
  • lungs are 90% water
  • bones are 25% water,
  • and the brain is 76% water

Our Body Is Made Up Of Water!

About 60% of your body is made of water and getting the recommended daily amounts allows our body to maintain the body’s fluid balance.  Maintaining proper fluid helps with digestion, absorption, circulation, production of saliva, transportation of nutrients and maintains body temperature.   Here are some of the top reasons to make sure you get in your daily recommended water intake.

  • Calorie Control
    • When your bodily fluids are low, your brain triggers a thirst sensation. Often times this is misunderstood for hunger.  Drinking water can control your calorie consumption, by fulfilling that “hunger” sensation.  When you feel that urge to snack in between meals, first try sipping on water.
    • Water also replaces high calorie drinks like soda, juice, and sugar rich coffee pick-me-ups.
  • Muscle fuel
    • Hydration maintains our electrolytes also known as minerals with an electric charge. These are important for muscle contraction.  When our electrolytes are low our muscles become fatigued and you feel tired.
  • Clearer skin
    • Dehydration makes your skin appear to have more wrinkles and look dry. Your skin is your first barrier for both things coming in and going out.  This means that as our body is detoxifying, sometimes it will exit through the skin.  This appears as blemishes and acne.  By maintaining proper hydration, the skin can expel toxins easily.
  • Digestion
    • Poor hydration leads to constipation. This happens because the colon will pull water from the stools in order to maintain fluid balance throughout the body.  When this happens we become constipated and our stools become dry and hard.
  • Kidney function
    • Lack of water causes the kidneys to work harder in order to filter out blood.
  • Focus and attention
    • Dehydration causes a decrease in blood flow and this leads to brain shrinkage therefore we cannot think or focus. Because of the impact on circulation and brain health, staying hydrated has been shown to decrease severity and number of headaches and migraines.
  • Pain prevention
    • Our joints and muscles need to be able to move freely. When we get stiff or sore, a lot of times it is due to a decrease in fluidity.

But Water Does Not Taste Good

This one I’ll never quite understand but I hear it a lot in my practice.  I can only guess this happens when your taste buds are too strong for the other sugary drinks that you consume daily.  You can place lemon or diffuse fruit in your water.  You can also place essential oils in your water, just make sure they are food grade.  Some essential oils are difficult to digest internally. Oils from companies like doTERRA or Young Living can usually be digested internally.  Some other companies are making flavor additives to water but I do not suggest those because they most likely add sugar to your diet.

Ways to Increase or Track your Daily Water Consumption

Sometimes remembering to drink is the hardest part, for this I suggest getting a bottle of your own.  Glass is the best choice because some of the chemicals in a plastic bottle can leach out especially if left in direct sunlight.  Once you have your bottle, calculate how many times you have to fill it in order to get half of your body weight in ounces.  For example, if you weigh 180 lbs. you would need to drink about 90 ounces of water per day and that is 3 and ¾ of a 24oz. bottle.

Another idea is to take bracelets like those jelly bracelets we all had in the 90s or even Alex and Ani or basic hair ties and place 4-8 on your right wrist and throughout the day as you drink your water move them to the other wrist.

There are also apps for water consumption like plantnanny, fitbit, daily water, etc.

Links for you leisure

Plant Nanny- https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/plant-nanny-water-reminder/id590216134?mt=8

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