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WATER: Our Most Plentiful, Yet Neglected, Free Health Food

We don’t think of water as a food and technically, it doesn’t contain nutrients. But the fact is water intake is one of the most neglected areas of overall health and weight management.

Our body is made up of 70-75% water. Ever notice how lifeless a house plant looks when you forget to water it? Just a little water and it perks back up. Water is just as essential to our bodies.

Water is in every cell, tissue, and organ, and carries nutrients to cells and waste away from cells.

Lack of water = weight gain. 

Metabolism slows down if you aren’t drinking enough water. Plus water aids in digestion. Drinking water before a meal will make you feel fuller faster.

Drinking less water actually makes your body retain water, causing you to feel puffy and bloated. Drinking more will cause your body to retain less water and reduce that bloated, tight feeling.

Most of your water needs are met through the water and beverages you drink. You can get some fluid through the foods you eat. For example, broth soups and other foods that are 85% to 95% water such as celery, tomatoes, oranges, and melons.

How much water is enough? An easy formula is to divide your current weight in half and then drink that many ounces of water per day. For example, let’s say your current weight is 150 pounds. 150 divided by 2 is 75. Therefore you would want to try and reach a goal of 75 ounces of water each day. With 8 ounces in a cup, 75 divided by 8 equals 8.5 cups of water.

Unfortunately, as we age we tend to drink less. We need to be intentional about getting the water we need. Here are some helpful tips to increase your water intake:

  • In the morning, fill a pitcher with the amount of water you need to consume and finish it by the end of the day.
  • Leave post-it notes in strategic places like on your bathroom mirror, your computer screen, your car visor, etc. to remind yourself to drink.
  • Carry a water bottle for easy access when you are at work or running errands.
  • Freeze some freezer-safe water bottles. Take one with you for ice-cold water all day long.
  • Give your water a little pizzazz by adding a wedge of lime, lemon or orange slices.

For better health overall, be intentional to make drinking enough water a lifelong habit. After all, it’s plentiful, free and free of fat and calories.

Julie Tomsett is a published author and the office manager at GracePointe Healthcare; a direct-pay family practice and full service travel medicine clinic located in Franklin, TN.

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