We all know that we should be drinking more water, but not many of us know why. The short answer is that it is the foundation of pretty much everything that our body does and without it our body just doesn’t work right. This is why we include it as one of the key nutrients in The Hunger Solution!
The longer answer is that it has a powerful impact on your immune system, weight and brain health. Below you will learn how water helps, how much to drink as well as some tips on how to drink more water without spending the day in the bathroom!
Water and Your Immune System
Have you ever wondered why doctors say “stay hydrated” when you are trying to fight an illness? It is because water is one of the most important factors of your immune system. Water helps carry oxygen around your body allowing your immune system to function properly. It increases the production of lymph fluid, which essentially allows your body to collect harmful bacteria and transport it to the lymph nodes to fight infection. It helps flush out toxins and bacteria through the kidneys.
Water and Your Weight
Without water your body cannot properly metabolize fat. This applies to the fat that you eat as well as the fat that is stored on your body. Dehydration is also one of the most common factor in weight fluctuation. Although that doesn’t necessarily correlate to real weight gain, it can break your heart when you step on the scale and seemingly gained 5 lbs. after a salty dinner – and that heart break can cause you to throw in the towel or do something drastic.
Water and Your Brain
About ¾ of your brain is composed of water, so even minor dehydration can cause your brain not to run at full speed and actually shrink! Symptoms of this can be brain fog, memory loss, trouble concentrating, having a hard time finding your words or depression. Our brains can use up to two times the amount of water as the rest of our cells. Most Americans drink about 1L per day but we lose about 2L a day due to normal activity. So a lot of us are walking around with half a brain…kind of explains a lot 😉
The good news is that these symptoms can turn around in as little as 20 minutes if you hydrate. So start passing out those water bottles!
How Much Water is Enough?
The rule of thumb is half of your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 160 lbs., you would divide that by two to get 80oz. That is 10 glasses of water per day. If that seems like a ton to you, use 2 L (or 8 glasses) as your first goal. Figure out how much you are drinking now and add an extra 16 oz/day each week until you hit 2L per day. This will allow you to increase the amount you are drinking without peeing ALL DAY LONG.
How to Sneak In More Water
I know that I’m speaking as an authority here, but water is one of those areas that I have to constantly work at. I much prefer coffee and would rather drink that all day than water! But then the whole half a brain thing pops into my head and I realize that life is hard enough without a mediocre melon. Here are some things that work for me.
- Drink 16 oz. as soon as you wake up – this is hands down the best way I have found to get my water intake up. It is also why I included it in last week’s blog as a way to start your day with a win. Start early so you don’t find yourself chugging a Nalgene before bed and up all night peeing.
- Add some flavor – sometimes water can be boring so don’t be afraid to add some flavor. That could be icing an herbal tea, adding some fresh fruit and mint or using an electrolyte drink. I’m a big fan of Ultima Replenisher or Liquid IV.
- Eat your water – fruits and vegetables are almost 90% water with a bunch of other health benefits added in. So adding in more fruits and veggies is a delicious way to increase your hydration with less trips to the bathroom 😊