Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Quality H20

We have all seen ads for creams, equipment, foods, and supplements that are supposed to help keep us healthy and in shape. In recent surveys, it was found that Americans spend more than 3billion on complementary and alternative medicines as well as supplements. These dollars spent in an attempt to ameliorate the health and/ or appearance of a person are, to many, dollars justifiably spent. To the contrary, it is estimated that about 75 % of the U.S population walks around chronically dehydrated. For a nation that is so willing to spend money on products aimed at improving health and appearance, I find myself wondering why it is such a stretch to take advantage of a resource that is almost free. Water, a resource whose approximate cost in this country is about $1.50 per 1000 gallons, is a cheap resource that is quite beneficial to the individual yet obviously under consumed for health and vanity purposes. Just in case this inconsistency is for a lack of knowledge about the great and fabulous powers of quality H20, I have provided for you, the reader, a brief look into the wonderful world of hydration.
Drinking water can seem like such a trivial act when compared to the daunting demands that life presents. In truth, hydration is a key component in aiding in the conquest of our life obstacles. Goals such as the attainment of intellect, attractiveness, and overall health are no exceptions.

How is water a contributing factor to the attainment of intellect? It is an aid in maintaining brain power and mental clarity throughout the day. Let’s be honest here, by gulping down a few extra glasses of water, you are not going to sprout brains like Einstein, but a well hydrated person is much more likely to not feel groggy throughout the day. Dehydration can leave you feeling tired and brain fogged. With a little extra fluid, not only are you likely to avoid this feeling of lethargy and mental fog, but you are also more likely to, as a result, be more productive during the day.

How is hydration a contributor to attractiveness and self confidence? It can actually help you to look better. If your goal is to have soft and supple skin, water should become your best friend. Hydration is shown to help prevent skin from becoming dry, itchy and saggy. If your goal is to lose weight, hydration can help to keep you feeling less hungry throughout the day. In many instances, dehydration can be mistaken for hunger. A dehydrated person, as a result, might take in more calories that they would have otherwise. Further, a University of Washington study found that in almost all participants (dieters) midnight hunger pangs were actually extinguished by drinking one glass of water. Water is also involved in the metabolism of fat. If you are having trouble getting rid of the rolls, muffin tops and bat wings, think about giving your body the added advantage of having enough of an ingredient important in burning them away. Lastly, to all you beach bums out there looking to procure that toned/ buff and sexy physique, pay attention. Hydration can help to bring out and maintain the look of muscle tone.

Health benefits are also a great reason to go the extra mile for a glass of water. Body temperature control through sweating is a key benefit. By hydrating, one may very well prevent overheating during a workout. Improved kidney function is another impetus. The kidneys need water to flush out toxins and poisons that build up in the body.
Now, how does one go about hydrating? Is there are right and wrong way? What is an effective hydration fluid? In reality, any fluid will help to hydrate you since, generally speaking, any kind of “fluid” contains water. What is in that water however may alter its effectiveness and benefit to varying degrees. Caffeine is an example of a benefit altering ingredient. Caffeine is a diuretic. It essentially causes your body to excrete more water, thereby effectively offering a counter action to your hydration attempts. The water that was consumed in that morning cup of Joe is going to quite soon after be expelled from the body.
There are hundreds of different excuses for not drinking water all day. Some of these include the following: “I don’t have time to drink water”, “I am always running around and often forget” or “I just don’t like to drink water. It is too boring”. Let’s tackle excuse number one. Everyone has time to drink water. All it takes is throwing a water bottle into your bag or having one at your desk. If you are worried about having to constantly refill your water bottle or you fear having multiple empty water bottles litter your space, fear no more. Try getting a bigger bottle. Grocery stores sell gallon jugs of water which both cost less than packs of individual 20fl oz water bottles.
Now in response to the second excuse listed above, hydration does not have to come from plain water. Water is made no less effective if you “spice it up”. Don’t be afraid to add a little bit of flavor. There are plenty of non or low calorie drink mixes such as propel and crystal lite. In moderation, they can make water taste less boring and provide that additional impetus needed by the taste buds to get that fluid into the body. Another way to flavor your water is to add a little bit of citrus to the mix. Throw a few slices of lemon or orange into your water or squeeze a small amount of the juice into it. It sounds simple, but who knows, you might find it delicious and refreshing. When flavoring your water, avoid adding too much extra sugar. Lemonade, for example, is tasty but often loaded with sugar. It might hydrate you but it will also add a lot of extra calories to your diet. Also, try to avoid overloading on fruit juices. For the most part, fruit juice is rid of the fiber which, in fruit consumption, slows the absorption of glucose into your system. It is essentially sugar water with some added vitamins and minerals. It adds a significant number of calories and can contribute to sudden spikes and drops in blood sugar which may leave you craving more.
Sure “ Everyone loves marine land”, but that doesn’t mean that you need to sacrifice. Trust me , for the time being, there is plenty of water for both you and Shamoo the whale to live healthily. The dolphins and whales will be just fine without your sacrifice of water. Fill up your glasses, give a toast to your health and drink. Go fourth my “desert- like insided” friends and do as the cactus does. When water is available, take advantage of the situation and take it in.
Kate Lynch

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