Post on: November 4, 2015.
Posted in: Read.
Oh, you look good! Drink up!
Water makes you look and feel great. Did you know water makes you feel energized? Or, that water can help you say goodbye to your ‘fat pants’? Grab a glass of water, sit down and read along with me – let’s chug back some facts about the vital benefits of keeping hydrated.
Water Makes You Feel Good
Research has shown that water helps clean the body of toxins, speeds up your metabolism, and generally helps everything in your body run smoothly. You need water for many things including digesting food, keeping your lips from cracking and circulating blood. Plus, drinking water can prevent headaches.
Ciao ‘Fat Pants’
Scientists have discovered that many people confuse thirst with hunger, leading them to eat unnecessary calories and gain weight. Next time you’re hungry try drinking a glass of water before you ingest some empty calories. That extra glass of water may also help you feel more energetic as dehydration leads to fatigue. Feeling energetic helps motivate you to be more active and burn more calories – au revoir fat pants!
Negative Effects of Dehydration
If you’re thirsty, it’s too late. Thirst is a sign that you are already dehydrated. Being as little as 2 percent dehydrated affects your body’s ability to perform. Dehydration:
- Decreases the ability of the body to dispel heat
- Reduces blood volume
- Decreases blood flow to the skin
- Decreases the amount of sweat created
- Increases the body’s core temperature
- Increases how fast the body uses glycogen in your muscles
Being dehydrated causes you to overheat which is not just uncomfortable, it also disrupts your metabolism and can lead to heat stroke. Luckily, thirst is our body’s most powerful craving – listen to it and drink up.
Filler’ Up: How to Stay Hydrated
Experts say there are vital benefits to giving some extra thought to how you will stay hydrated before you head out in the heat (summer) or plan to work up a sweat chasing your kids, going to the gym or running the marathon that is your workplace (year-round). Simple, delicious, old-fashioned plain water is hard to beat. In fact, most often plain water is your best way to rehydrate. That can be hard to believe with store shelves stocked high with dozens of water alternatives. Here’s a quick look at some of the popular water alternatives on the market.
Most often, plain water is your best way to rehydrate.
When you’ve been working hard and sweating for longer than an hour, experts suggest a sports drink for rehydration. Research shows an athlete needs water, electrolytes and carbohydrates (sugar) to maintain performance and properly recover. On store shelves, there are sports drinks with varying concentrations of electrolytes and carbohydrates designed for varying levels of athletic workouts.
Energy drinks contain caffeine, sugar and a combination of other ingredients: taurine, sucrose, guarana, ginseng, niacin, pyridoxine and cyanocobalamin. The amount of guarana, ginseng and taurine found in popular energy drinks is to low to deliver therapeutic benefit or adverse effect. However, the same is not true for the amount of caffeine and sugar they contain. Caffeine is a diuretic – resulting in the opposite effect you want if you’re dehydrated. According to the Journal of Pediatrics, there are health concerns linked to children consuming caffeine – as such, water is a better choice for hydrating kids.
Hot summer days spark cravings for a cold, bubbly drink, possibly explaining why Canadians drink more than 3.5 billion liters of soft drinks each year. For a lower-sugar alternative to soda pop, try carbonated water with a splash of pure fruit juice.
Coconut water is the liquid inside a coconut. It’s a better hydration option than juice as it has less sugar and contains potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium, which are helpful for a body that’s been hard at work and sweaty.
There are a wide variety of flavoured waters available containing a variety of medicinal ingredients, such as herbs and minerals. Whether they offer superior hydrating benefits than plain water is debatable.
Tea is a great way to keep you feeling warm and cozy when it’s chilly outside. Plus studies suggest that tea has offers your body many healthy benefits from antioxidants to natural compounds that help relief congestion. Tea is not as hydrating as water, but it is a healthy choice to fill your cup with. Worth trying: herbal teas or squeeze a lemon into a cup of hot water. Cheers!
There is nothing as satisfying as a mouthful of cold water when you are thirsty. Water is life’s elixir – so grab a glass, drink more water and enjoy healthy living!
Allison Tannis BSc MSc RHN is a nutrition expert, author, mom and Ultimate Frisbee player who never leaves home without her water bottle. More articles at www.allisontannis.com.
Warzak, W. Caffeine consumption in young children. J Pediatr 2011;158:508-9.
Jeukendrup, A and M Gleeson. Sports Nutrition – 2nd Edition: An introduction to Energy Production and Performance. 2010.
The Canadian Soft Drink Industry – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.