Did you Know…
that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated? This might seem odd when you think about it. When is the last time you saw a group of people and none of them were clutching a water bottle? Well, the reason for dehydration is twofold: you really are not drinking enough water, and the excess salt in your diet is robbing your body of the hydration the organism needs to support itself.
Let’s address the first inconsistency. Everywhere you go water is hyped and most of you buy in. You can choose water from mythical, mystical springs near and far, water with “natural” effervescent qualities, water purer than the virgin mother, water robust with a daily dose of vitamins, and water flavored so even the gaggers among you can get it down. Water, water everywhere, but how many drops do we actually drink? Judging from the number of half-finished water bottles rolling around the floor of my car and those of my friends, I’m guessing, not much. Girls, just admit it, the water bottle has become an accessory-not like a Coach bag, but more like a copy of "The New Earth," in the sense that "Yup, I'm going to get to it...as soon as I have a minute to spare."
As for the second inconsistency, most people do not understand that they can drink water all day long, but when there is excessive salt in the body from dietary choices, the salt attracts the water to itself, literally drying us out. This has the effect of keeping water from circulating throughout the entire body, hydrating and purifying every cell. In addition, although a small amount of salt allows the body to hold on to enough fluids to hydrate the body, excessive salt causes the body to retain too much fluid, causing problems like high blood pressure, kidney disease, congestive heart failure, and bloating.
The salt and water paradox can be a bit confusing, so let’s just say that you should consume very little salt (almost none!) and drink at least four 16 oz. servings of water per day to help your body care for itself.
Interestingly, in about 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is mistaken for hunger. The next time you think you are hungry, try drinking some water instead of eating. You might be surprised to see that the water was just what your body needed.
A study done at the University of Washington showed that one glass of water effectively shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied. Give it a try and see if it works for you; it does for me.
Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue. If you need proof, try spending a few days drinking very little water and taking notes on your energy level. Then drink water constantly for a few days and compare your energy levels with the previous few days. I think you will be amazed at the difference.
Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day can significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers. Headache sufferers also benefit from increased hydration. Give it a try and let me know how you feel!
And, a mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.
All of this brings me to my pet peeve. I can’t count how many times each day I hear people say, “I can’t drink water. It makes me gag.” Are you serious? Water accounts for approximately 60% of a healthy human body. How is it possible that a body would reflexively reject that of which it is made? How have we convinced ourselves that we don’t “like” or can’t “take” water?
Since we’re all about experiments today, let’s imagine that your dog is out romping in the summer heat. You know he’ll be in any minute, panting for a drink. How about filling four bowls with beverage choices that will help him hydrate without gagging? Hmm…You could offer him a bowl filled with chilled diet Coke, one with a nice mocha latte, another with a refreshing raspberry-mint tea, and perhaps a pilsner-shaped bowl with a frosty Corona (lime optional). By the time you had assembled all of these problem solvers, you would probably be thinking, “This dog is just way too high maintenance. How did he ever learn to gag on the water in the first place?”
Are you drinking enough?