My favorite beverage is water. I know it doesn’t taste like much, but it quenches thirst perfectly and makes me feel good. I don’t have any problem guzzling water all day long. Water makes up 60 percent of the body, and our bodies depend on water to function properly. Water is essential for life.
For some people, drinking water is a chore. If you fall into that category, or if you need a little inspiration to up your intake of water, I’ve got seven ways water improves your health and your life. Grab a glass of water and keep reading.
1. Hydration means energy
If you’re not drinking enough water, your body will try to compensate for it. You will feel thirsty, your muscles will feel fatigued and your body’s systems won’t work at optimum levels. Start each day with a glass of water. Drink before, during and after exercise and drink throughout the day. You don’t necessarily need the same number of ounces or glasses of water each day. If your urine is light yellow in color, you’re getting enough water.
2. Healthy skin
Having enough water in your body makes you look younger. Dehydration can cause your skin to be dry or saggy. Don’t expect water to take away wrinkles or fine lines, but it will help your skin look smoother and healthier. Hydrating from the inside out helps, as does rinsing your face with cool water to close pores and refresh your face.
3. Flush out the bad stuff
After a weekend of sugar salty treats, I like to drink water to flush out my system. Eating fruits and vegetables with a high water content, like cucumbers, watermelon, grapefruit, tomatoes and celery also helps rehydrate. Water helps your kidneys and your bowels work better, moving toxins and waste outside of your body most efficiently.
4. Choose water first
Technically, you can hydrate your body with a number of fluids, including juice, sports drinks and soda. But the best beverage to hydrate with is water. Try to get most of your fluids from water, and then choose low calorie drinks. If you get tired of just plain water, and I do too, add in a spritz of lemon or lime. I mix ½ cup sparkling cranberry juice with a wedge of lime and sparkling water for a fizzy drink that’s better for you than soda. Be aware that many beverages have lots of calories, sugar and sometimes fat. Drink wisely.
5. Headache be gone
When I have a headache, the first thing I do is drink a large glass of water. For me and my husband, this often works. Thirst and dehydration trigger headaches in many people, so before you reach for the painkillers, try water.
Water can also help you keep your diet goals or maintain your healthy weight. If you feel hungry, but have eaten recently or are craving snack foods, drink a glass of water and wait a few minutes. True hunger will return. I’ve noticed this with my children a lot. When they say they are hungry just a few minutes after a meal, I encourage them to drink, instead. Drinking a glass of water before meals might help you eat fewer calories. Some people suggest putting a lime or lemon wedge in your water to curb appetite.
7. Keep smiling
Water is good for your teeth. Coffee and tea can stain teeth, and soda might weaken teeth over time. A dentist I spoke with recommended drinking water after soda to rinse the sugar away. Small children often get cavities from drinking too much juice or milk in bottles, particularly at night. Stick to water and your smile will be brighter.
If you’re not convinced by these seven ways water makes you healthier, then take a water challenge. Drink plenty of water for two weeks and see how you feel. Eight glasses a day is a starting recommendation, but find the amount that works for you. Keep water on your desk at work, take it in the car as you run errands, have a drink with meals and snacks and start feeling hydrated and healthy. Now, I’m feeling thirsty!
Amy M. Peterson, a former high school English teacher, currently lives in Oregon with her husband and four children. She spends her days writing, reading, exercising and trying to get her family to eat more vegetables.