10 Ways to Increase Your Water Intake and Enjoy the Benefits of Water
by Carolyn Burris
MS, Nutrition Counselor
Many scientists recognize that water has a major role for life on earth. All living things, including people, depend on water more than any other substance to stay healthy. In fact, a human body can last 7 – 8 weeks or more without food but only 8 – 14 days without water.
The amount of water we drink greatly impacts the nutrient requirements for the body. Why? Our bodies are approximately 60% water by weight, 50% for women, and most nutrients move through the body in water. Water makes up about 85 percent of our brain, 80 percent of our blood, and close to 70 percent of our lean muscle. Water is also very important in the elimination of toxins by urine and perspiration. There isn’t a single bodily function – seeing, hearing, thinking, exercising, singing and even laughing – that does not rely on water.
The average person loses approximately 10 cups of fluid per day through excretion of wastes, perspiration and exhaled air. To avoid dehydration, we need to replace the lost fluids, amounting to 8 – 10 cups per day. Tea, coffee, and alcohol are actually diuretics. Drinking these fluids can strip our bodies of water rather than satisfying our fluid requirements. This is why health professionals recommend water as the main source of hydration. Water doesn’t add extra calories and contains no sugar or caffeine as most soft drinks, mixed drinks, and other sweetened beverages do.
For children, water should be the primary source of hydration. A national survey conducted by Cornell Medical Center found that children who drank more than 12 fluid ounces of sweetened fruit juices a day are more prone to obesity and diminished growth.
Here are 10 ways to increase your daily water intake.
- Introduce children to water or diluted juice as the optimal way to quench their thirst.
- Limit consumption of soft drinks, juices, sports drinks, etc. to special occasions.
- Substitute your customary tea, coffee or soft drinks for water.
- Use a straw. Some people find it easier to drink more water this way
- As soon as you wake up, drink a large cup of filtered water. It stimulates your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) and activates a more alert brain.
- Drink water steadily throughout the day, especially if you exercise. Do not rely just on your thirst to be your guide.
- Carry water with you when doing outdoor activities, especially in warmer months. Also, get in the habit of carrying a water bottle with you all the time.
- Drink a bottle or large glass of water one hour before you eat. Limit your fluid drinking to 8 ounces at mealtime so it will not impair digestion.
- Drink extra water if you consume coffee or tea to compensate for the diuretic effect.
- Keep a “water intake” journal for motivation to maintain your fluid requirements. Try this iPhone app to keep track of your water intake »
Here is a recipe to quench your thirst in a healthy way! Enjoy!
- 3 cups cubed, seeded watermelon
- 1 1/2 cups water
- Juice from 2 – 3 limes
- Honey or stevia (to taste)
- In a blender, puree the watermelon, then strain it through a fine sieve.
- In a pitcher, mix the strained juice with water
- Add lime juice and natural sweetener to taste.
- Serve cold over ice.
Makes 2 – 3 servings.
|For more information about the Forum Health Knoxville’s approach to wellness, call 865-675-9355.
Carolyn Burris, an east Tennessee native, earned her Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Community and Public Health Nutrition at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her passion for helping those with nutritional needs brought her to Forum Health Knoxville. Carolyn particularly loves encouraging those struggling with food intolerance, obesity, fibromyalgia, and fatigue.
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