Why You Should Follow the First Ladys Advice and Drink More Water
First Lady Michelle Obama has introduced a new campaign to get Americans – especially kids - to drink more water. According to the CDC, approximately one in four children does not drink any water on a given day. Instead, consumption of sugary drinks, “energy” drinks, and juices add unnecessary calories, increasing the risk of weight gain and childhood obesity.
“Water is the best and easiest choice we can make to feel energized, focused, healthy and refreshed,” says the First Lady. “You are what you drink. And when you drink water, you’re at your best.”
How much water should you drink in a day? Every day, you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine, and bowel movements. You must replenish this fluid loss frequently for the body to function properly. The Institute of Medicine has determined that an adequate intake for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day; for women, 2.2 liters or about 9 cups.
So why have you always heard eight 8-ounce glass of water a day? You want to stay hydrated, but water isn’t the only source of fluid. Remember that foods contain fluid as well, but the actual water content is a little harder to keep track of. Fruits and vegetables are mostly water, so ensuring you are consuming the recommended 5 servings a day adds the extra fluids you need in addition to pure drinking water.
Of course, this is just an average, because other factors influence your total fluid needs, including exercise (you’ll need an extra 1.5 to 2.5 cups of water for short bouts of exercise, more for workouts lasting longer than an hour), environment (more in hotter weather when you perspire more; altitude also influences fluid needs), and illness (fever, vomiting, diarrhea will increase fluid losses and therefore fluid needs).
What are some other benefits to staying hydrated? In addition to maintaining balance of body fluids, drinking water has these additional benefits:
• Water can help control calories. Drinking a glass of water before a meal may fill you up slightly so you may eat more slowly, thus eating less because you feel satisfied with less. Water in place of high calorie beverages is a easy way to cut calories as well. One 12-ounce regular cola is about 150 calories. If you replace your daily soda habit with water, you could potentially lose 15 pounds in a year without making any other changes.
• Water can help energize muscles. Muscle cells that do not have adequate fluids do not work as well and performance suffers.
• Water may help boost brain performance. One study found reaction times are faster after people drank water, particularly if they were thirsty before drinking.
• Water helps skin look good. Your skin contains a lot of water and functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss. Dehydration can cause your skin to look dry and wrinkled, says dermatologist Kenneth Ellner MD.
• Water helps your kidneys. Your kidneys filter the blood stream of toxins. If you do not get enough fluid, this process is limited. You may also be at higher risk for kidney stones.
• Water helps maintain normal bowel function. Adequate hydration prevents constipation.
How can you drink more water/get more fluids daily?
1. Have a beverage with every snack and meal.
2. Choose beverages you enjoy; you're likely to drink more liquids if you like the way they taste. (Add calorie-free flavorings to water, such as lemon or lime juice.)
3. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Their high water content will add to your hydration. About 20% of our fluid intake comes from foods.
4. Keep a bottle of water with you in your car, at your desk, or in your bag.
Drink Up! (www.YouAreWhatYouDrink.org)
Mayo Clinic: Water – How much should you drink every day?
WebMD: 6 Reasons to Drink Water