Everyone knows that the “recommended” daily amount of water is eight 8oz glasses. If you didn’t, well, now you do. I knew this, but still I could make it to 3pm before drinking anything, sometimes later. Then, one day I read an article about a lady who drank a gallon of water for a month and saw amazing improvements in her skin. She no longer looked so tired and had fewer wrinkles and her skin just looked brighter. Why? Why so much? What are the benefits of drinking water? Why do we need water specifically, not just liquid?
I started looking for all the good things that come from drinking plenty of water and was amazed and convinced that this would be a great positive change to incorporate into my life.
I decided to take the challenge.
It was hard at first. Drinking that much water when you usually don’t even meet to daily recommended amount takes some adjusting. First of all, you have to pee A LOT! After a while, your body adjusts and you won’t be in the bathroom every 30 minutes. I promise. To help me keep track of how much water I was drinking, I got a big 64 oz Hydro Flask jug. I only had to drink two to reach my daily goal. Life simplified.
After my month was up I was hooked and now I always aim for a gallon a day. I get some sort of weird satisfaction from seeing my almost clear urine after I pee. Plus, I have learned about a ton of the benefits and I find it totally worth it (because drinking is so hard, right?).
Okay, so what is so great about water?
If you are like me and trying to lose weight, you may have looked into synthetic hunger suppressants to help control your appetite. That can be expensive and harmful to your body for any extended period of time. Fortunately, there is an amazing for your body, practically free option. It’s called water. Drinking water 30 minutes before you eat any meal can help you feel full faster and therefore, eat less. Half a liter of water before eating increases your metabolism by 24-30% and in a study, those who did this simple trick, lost 44% more weight than those who did not.
Have you ever seen a dried out sponge? It’s all shriveled and rough, and its pores are pulled tight, leaving them more open. Then, when you soak it in water, it plumps right up, smoothing out its surface causing its pores to shrink. Our skin is like a sponge. Without adequate hydration our skin begins to show signs of aging much more quickly. Our skin wrinkles and is left dry and rough. Our pores are enlarged, making them more exposed to dirt and pollutants in the air. Our skin need plenty of water to stay full and bright and to take on that radiant glow that we all want. Drinking enough water also keeps your skin clearer of blemishes.
Improves Kidney Function
The kidney’s main purpose is to process what your body takes in and eliminate what it does not need, including toxins, through sweat and urine. Without enough water to keep your kidneys operating at its optimum, it is harder to eliminate these toxins and often the liver has to then step in to assist, when the liver has more important things it could be doing, like eliminating fat cells.
If your body can’t eliminate toxins, then those toxins can make us sick and without adequate water it becomes more difficult for our bodies to flush out those toxins and fight those illnesses. Things build up without us even realizing and we get more serious health conditions and diseases. In Japan, they believe that drinking four glasses of water (32oz) first thing in the morning and waiting 45 minutes before eating breakfast can prevent and even cure serious illnesses, including cancer. Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not, but it is a pretty simple thing to implement and since the Japanese have more than 50,000 people over 100 years old, I say it’s worth a try.
When you are dehydrated, your body pulls water from your large intestine to run the rest of your body making it harder for things to move along, therefore causing constipation. Constipation is not fun AND can cause you to weigh up to 5+ pounds. I once woke up in the middle of the night in SO much pain I ended up throwing up. Not fun.
Prevent and Treat Headaches
When I get a headache, the first thing I do is drink I big 30oz Mason jar of water. It usually does the trick and I rarely ever take pain medication anymore. Having a headache is generally one of the first signs of being dehydrated. Which is actually a big reason for hangovers, all that alcohol has made your body dehydrated, so drinking a few glasses of water will help to take the edge off.
Increases Brain Function
Our brains are made up of 75% water, so is it any wonder that when we are dehydrated we can’t focus or think straight or fail in our creative thinking. It also might explain why we get headaches when we are dehydrated. So when you need some extra brain power, make sure you’re well hydrated. With your brain firing on all cylinders you will also be in a better mood.
Our muscles are 80% water! 80 percent! That’s a lot of water. If you want to be strong and fit you really NEED to be drinking enough water for your muscles to function at their best. Being well hydrated will prevent muscle cramps and sprains, which can bring exercise to a screeching halt, and we don’t want that. (Unless you secretly want an excuse to stop working out, but if that’s the case, I’m not really talking to you, am I?) And when your muscles are nice and hydrated, flexible, and have fresh oxygen flowing to them through your well hydrated blood, allowing your muscles to repair themselves more quickly, you can perform at your maximum level. It will also prevent other injuries and sore joints by keeping joints and cartilage supple and lubricated. Back or knee pain anyone? Drink a gallon of water for a month and see how you feel. Your heart is a muscle. Think about that.
Prevents Bad Breath
Drinking enough water for your body and activity level, with prevent bad breath. I thought this was really interesting because when I was pregnant with both my boys I had the worst breath… I mean… I could taste it. Gross. Now I’m thinking I just needed to drink more water. When your mouth is kept moist it keeps the stink away.
Regulates Body Temperature
When you have enough water fueling your amazing body, you then have plenty of water to keep you cool when it’s hot by making you sweat and to keep you warm when it’s cold. If you are active, you lose 6-10% of your body’s water through sweat, so you need to be constantly replenishing that.
For me, when I’m in a good mood, I feel like I have so much more energy. When all these things come together and everything is working as it should you have more energy to do all the things you want and need to get done in a day.
How much water should you be drinking? I like aiming for a gallon (128 oz), sometime I drink more, sometimes less, but I stay well hydrated. I’ve read that you should at least be drinking half your weight in ounces. I weigh 170, so I should be drinking at least 85 oz a day, more if I’m active.
It has to be water, too. Not juice. Not Gatorade. Definitely not soda. As soon as you start adding things to your water it changes how effective our body is at absorbing and using it. However, if you really need to give your water some excitement, there are certain benefits from adding fresh fruits and herbs, such as lemons, strawberries, cucumbers, or mint. I’m just too lazy and would rather eat my fruit, but that’s me.
Happy dinking! (water that is)