Water, Hydration and Health

Water is such a part of our everyday life that we often forget how unique and essential to life it is. It plays a vital role in keeping our bodies’ cells, tissues, and organs running smoothly and when consumed daily, in the proper quantities, it can also prevent and heal many health disorders. 

THE BENEFITS OF DRINKING WATER

Drinking water can help you lose weight.

Drinking water helps reduce the amount of food you eat, diminishes false hunger pangs and encourages enzymatic activity which results in fat burning. Talk about an easy way to look great in your favorite skinny jeans. 

Drinking water makes your skin look and feel beautiful.

Want to get that soft, dewy skin you see in magazines? Drinking water is a great place to start. Water is responsible for skin regeneration. Proper hydration enhances skin’s elasticity, firmness, color and reduces dryness, wrinkles and pimples. 

Drinking water aids in digestion.

Water is vital in the creation of digestive secretions. Sufficient intake of water helps to eliminate digestive disorders such as poor digestion, gas, nausea, indigestion and bloating.

Drinking water can help prevent high-blood pressure.

Hypertension can be the result of the blood vessels not having enough water to diffuse into the cells causing blood vessels to contract. Once the body is replenished with water, the vessels will expand and blood pressure should eventually return back to normal. It also maintains sodium-potassium balance which is essential for healthy blood pressure.

Drinking water can provide heartburn prevention and relief

Heartburn is a sign that the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract is in need of water. Many people make the mistake of using antacids or tablet medications which result in inflammation in the stomach and several other areas in the body and can eventually lead to liver and pancreatic cancers. Once water is absorbed by the gastrointestinal track, heartburn will usually diminish. 

WHAT TO DRINK TO STAY HYDRATED

Every day we lose about 2.5 liters of water through urine, sweat, water vapor from our lungs and liquid in our stool. That is a lot of water! Thirst is the body’s alarm that we need to intake liquid to avoid dehydration. It compels us to drink until our hydric imbalance has been corrected.  Plain water is the best way to hydrate your body, but for some people, plain water just doesn’t cut it sometimes.  I get it. Luckily there are other things you can drink, in addition to plain water, which will help keep you hydrated. 

  • Infusions- leaves from mint, cilantro, basil, etc. add a pleasing flavor and scent to waters. I also love using seasonal fruit like berries and watermelon if I am craving something sweet. These are all a great alternative for people who do not enjoy the taste of plain water or for those who would like some variation. 
  • Fruit and vegetable juices- unsweetened and in moderation. These are super tasty but too many minerals and vitamins will disrupt our bodies’ balance, plus juices contain lots of calories and sugar. Remember, too much sugar, even natural sugar, is not a good thing. 
  • Soda water- There’s something about fizz that quenches thirst like nothing else. I recently bought a soda water maker and absolutely love it. Add a few drops of high quality essential oils such as grapefruit or lemon for a true “naturally flavored” hydrating drink. 
  • Water enhanced with ionic minerals- adding ionic minerals, such as a pinch of sea salt, will help your body hold onto the water you ingest.
  • Limit, or even better, eliminate drinks such as fruit juices with added sugar, soda (including diet soda), milk, alcohol, coffee and tea. These drinks contain components, such as caffeine, sugar, purines and toxins that reduce their ability to hydrate. 

GETTING THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF WATER FOR YOUR BODY

The World Health Organization recommends 2 liters (or eight 8oz glasses) of water a day, but water needs can vary greatly per individual depending on your weight, health, activity level, stress level, the amount of food you consume and the climate of your environment. People with a diet high in fruits and vegetables require slightly less water since these foods are composed of a lot of water. More water is required for people who smoke or have diets that are high in salt, coffee, alcohol or protein. Here’s a good start- you should always consume at least 1/2 your body weight in ounces per day.  For example: 140 pounds / 2= 70 oz. per day

SIGNS OF DEHYDRATION

When our bodies lose more fluid than they have taken in, we become dehydrated.  Dehydration can occur for many reasons including simply neglecting to drink enough water, working out in the heat, exercising, vomiting and diarrhea.

Signs of dehydration:

  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue 
  • Thirst 
  • Headache 
  • Dizziness 
  • Decreased urine output 
  • Dark colored urine 
  • Dry skin or lips 
  • Lightheadedness 
  • Constipation

DEHYDRATION’S EFFECTS ON THE BODY

Dehydration occurs when more water is moving out of our cells and bodies than what we are taking in through drinking and it can have some pretty serious consequences. 

Blood volume decreases- As blood gives its water to the kidneys and other waste removing organs its volume inevitably decreases. When the intracellular fluids decrease the cells are eventually unable to function.

Enzymatic slowdown- Enzymes are proteins in our body that control all biological reactions.  As enzyme function slows down many of the body’s functions such as the production of energy, hormones, reparative substances, etc. come to a halt. 

Autointoxication- when the body does not have enough water, urination is not as frequent as it should be resulting in byproducts such as uric acid, lactic acid, ammonia and other toxins accumulating in our vessel walls and organs. 

Water keeps us active, healthy and beautiful so make sure you are getting an adequate amount every day.

HOW TO MAKE INFUSED WATER

INGREDIENTS

It’s best to used distilled water, but if this is not available tap water works too. You can infuse water with any number of herbs, fruit, spices, edible flowers, veggies and essential oils such as:

  • Herbs: Basil, mint, parsley, rosemary, cilantro
  • Fruit: Berries, citrus, peaches, melon, tropical fruit
  • Edible flowers: Chamomile, citrus blossoms, lavender, rose
  • Spices: Cinnamon sticks, fresh turmeric, fresh ginger
  • Vegetables: Cucumber, fennel
  • High quality, ingestible essential oils such as grapefruit, lemon, sweet orange or lavender

DIRECTIONS

Gather containers to hold the infused water. I like to use mason jars with lids but any glass container will do. You can use the smaller ones for single servings, or larger ones if you want to make a batch to last a few days. Try to use organic ingredients when possible. Wash ingredients. Slice large fruit and vegetables in smaller pieces to speed up the infusion.  The skin can be left on or peeled off depending on personal preference. Fill jars with water and add the ingredients. Be creative with combinations- one of my favorites is lemon and with a dash of grapefruit essential oil.

Seal the jars and refrigerate. Allow them to sit for a few hours while the infusion does its thing. The infusions will be more flavorful the longer you let them sit. Once you are ready to drink them, you can either strain the water or drink it with the ingredients still in the jar.

Colleen Flynn Picture.jpg

Colleen Flynn is a whole-food and wellness enthusiast. She has studied at the Nutrition Therapy Institute and is currently training at the Nutrition Therapy Association to become a nutrition therapy practitioner. Colleen believes that food should please your taste buds while nourishing your body. She creates simple recipes to help you integrate whole foods into your diet and experience the life-enhancing power of nutrition. 

www.nutritionalzest.com https://instagram.com/nutritionalzest/

Crystal Bold

Crystal Bold Nutrition, 2305 Hancock Drive, Austin, TX, 78756, United States