By David Feder, Registered Dietitian
Too many of us are missing
out on an important nutrient. It’s
not a food. It’s not a vitamin or
mineral. But without it, vitamins
and minerals – in fact, all the elements of food and nutrition – can’t do
nutrient is readily available, often free, and easy to take.
The powerful player here is water, and most of us aren’t drinking the
eight 8-ounce glasses recommended daily for good health.
all liquids are created equal, and not all liquids are water.
The average healthy adult should drink the equivalent of about two quarts
of this most important liquid asset every day, or about 1 quart for every 1000
calories- worth of food.
water is in all beverages, and in all foods, too, it is most beneficial to your
body’s thirst cells when consumed without embellishment.
To put it simply: Nothing beats a swig of plain, old-fashioned,
crystal-clear drinking water, whether it’s straight from the tap or bottled
(see “A Bottle in Front of Me”).
easy to draw water into your busy workday.
Just follow these eight easy steps:
Start your day with an 8-ounce glass of water.
Your body’s cells need water to provide structure, and the fluid
cushions your organs, acting as a shock absorber to help minimize day-to-day
stress damage. Water is also
necessary for optimum lubrication of the joints.
As a reminder to start the day with water, place a glass by the sink the
Take a breather from your morning workload and
drink 8 ounces of water. It will
help flush your kidneys and rid your body of toxic substances.
Water also helps your body maintain its volume of blood.
When you’re dehydrated, blood volume drops and your energy level
fact, a drop of as little as 1 percent of body-fluid volume can noticeably
reduce your body’s capacity to perform its functions. A 4 percent loss decreases this capacity to nearly a third
less than normal. Drinking that
midmorning glass of water could help you feel just a little more energetic.
Drink 8 ounces of water with lunch.
Water valances electrolytes (minerals such as sodium, chloride, and
potassium), which help regulate body temperature and control blood pressure.
Time for another break.
And another 8 ounces of water. The
body needs the precious fluid to transport water-soluble vitamins and nutrients,
such as protein, minerals, and the B and C vitamins.
Hitting the road to pick up the kids from soccer
practice or to run some afternoon errands?
Or are you busy wrapping things up at the office?
Either way, drink 8 ounces of water in the late afternoon.
Don’t wait until you feel thirsty – your body’s feeling of thirst
is not a reliable indicator of dehydration.
When you’re settling in for the evening or
getting ready for your supper, don’t forget the water.
It’s time for another 8 ounces. Water
is a significant source of vital ultratrace minerals, such as magnesium, cobalt,
copper, and manganese.
Drink another 8 ounces of water.
Before you put the kids to bed, you might want to know this:
Younger children have a poorly developed thirst mechanism. Make sure they’re getting sufficient fluids throughout the
day, especially water with fluoride.
End the day with a final 8-ounce glass of
water. Water becomes more important
as we age. The older you get, the
less reliable your thirst mechanism is. After age 65, we start to lose our thirst “trigger” and
are more susceptible to dehydration. Older
persons should carefully monitor their daily fluid intake.
BOTTLE IN FRONT OF ME
year Americans drink nearly 1 billion gallons of bottled water, divided among
nearly 1000 brands.
Some brands are pure, mineral-rich water from underground sources, but
other brands are nothing more than tap water with a fancy label.
To make sure you are getting what you are getting what you’re after,
read the labels.
They should tell you the source of the water and whether or not any
minerals have been filtered out.
common concern with tap water is pollution from chemicals or heavy metals, such
as lead. These
pollutants can come from farm runoff or industrial pollution.
Call your water company to check if the tap water in your area is
approved as safe.
You may also call the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking
Water Hotline at 800-426-4791 for water information.
older than five years, or in areas with soft water (which can be corrosive to
pipes), may be susceptible to trace amounts of undesired metals leaching into
the water. Use
a purchased water filter or let the tap run for 5 to 30 seconds to flush the
system before filling your glass.
America, treated tap water is the leading source of dietary fluoride.
This mineral is vital for building strong teeth and healthy bones.
Consider a fluoride-added brand of water if your children drink
nonfluoridated water from filtered, bottled, or well-water sources.
More Is Better
and other activities increase water needs, especially when it’s warm and humid
best to drink a glass or two of water shortly before performing physical
if you only work out a few times per week, you’ll need to boost your water
between one and three glasses, depending on the strenuousness and duration of
who are pregnant or breast-feeding should add at least two extra glasses of
water to the eight-glasses-per-day recommendation.
This compensates for the increased body-fluid volume needed.
Adequate water can also decrease symptoms associated with morning
weather can dehydrate you as thoroughly as any sweltering summer day.
When the furnace in your house is running full blast and winter winds
blow, the air turns bone-dry, drawing the moisture out of
up your eight-glasses-per-day regimen and add an extra glass or two following
especially air travel, is a desiccating experience.
Whether in the air or on the road, you should drink one glass of water
for every hour you travel.
To avoid dehydration you should drink before you feel thirsty.
Like Plain Water?
Try These Thirst-Quenching Fix-Ups
water with a little fruit juice, about ¼ cup per 8 ounces of water.
a slice of orange, lime, lemon, or other citrus fruit to a tall glass of ice
water for a refreshing hint of flavor.
Star fruit is also a fun, fruit enhancement for your ice water.
hot water with a slice of lemon as a hot-beverage alternative to coffee or tea.
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