Who would have thought that a few simple glasses of H2O a day can be the difference between finally getting into that old pair of favourite jeans — or not. Well they can and Y! Lifestyle nutritionist Rachael Anne Hill, explains seven reasons why.
Woman pouring a glass of water © Rex
1. Dehydration can result in tiredness which can increase cravings for quick fix, fatty, sugary foods.
2. The process of burning calories requires an adequate supply of water in order to function efficiently. Dehydration slows down the fat-burning process.
3. Burning calories creates toxins (think of the exhaust coming out of your car), and water plays a vital role in flushing them out of your body.
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4. Dehydration causes a reduction in blood volume; a reduction in blood volume causes a reduction in the supply of oxygen to your muscles; and a reduction in the supply of oxygen to your muscles can make you feel tired and lethargic and therefore reduce your inclination to exercise.
5. Water helps maintain muscle tone by assisting muscles in their ability to contract. It also helps to keep joints lubricated and functioning properly. Proper hydration can help reduce muscle and joint soreness when exercising.
6. A healthy weight loss diet should include plenty of fibre. However, too much fibre without adequate fluids can cause constipation and digestive problems.
7. Drinking water with a meal can help to increase feelings of fullness so you feel satisfied despite eating less. However, drinking water alone may not have this effect as in order to feel satiated (not hungry), our bodies need bulk, calories and nutrients.
How much water should I drink?
You have probably heard that you should drink at least eight glasses of water a day. How much water you actually need depends on your weight, level of activity, the temperature and humidity of your environment and your diet. Your diet makes a difference because if you eat plenty of water-dense foods like fruits and vegetables your need to drink water will be diminished.
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Nature's pretty good at letting you know the right amount to drink. When you drink enough water, your urine will usually be pale yellow, though vitamin supplements and antibiotics can discolor it. When in doubt, drink a little more.
Do not worry that drinking water will cause you to feel bloated. There are a number of causes of water retention, including hormones and consuming too much salt, but drinking water is not one of them.
Ways to get your eight a day
Drinking other liquids also provides your body with a source of water, but note that diuretics cause your body to expel water. Diuretics can include caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea and soda), sugary drinks and alcohol. When drinking diuretics, drink more water to compensate.
When drinking alcohol, drinking water along with it as well as before and afterward may eliminate a hangover headache and feeling of tiredness.
When you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Try to avoid this situation by drinking plenty of water in advance.