Everyone has heard this one. You need to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. Every health source will tell you that. So, do you drink that much water?
I didn’t think so. But this is the single most important nutrient you ingest every day, and the single easiest way to cleanse your body, flush toxins, make you feel great, and speed weight loss. Forget counting the litres, here’s some reasons to drink as much as you can.
The function of your kidneys is to filter your blood (which is mostly water). If you don’t consume enough water, your kidneys can’t function properly, so your liver starts to help perform kidney functions. However, one of the functions of your liver is to metabolize fat. If your liver is busy helping your ailing kidneys, you can’t burn as much fat, no matter how much you exercise.
Being hyper-hydrated (consuming too much water) is not in any way harmful, and actually helps your body metabolize fat. The greatest ill effect of excess water consumption is that you will visit the washroom more often. There was a scare a while back when a marathon runner died from hyperhydration… so it is possible in extreme circumstances, but you’d think it would be more common if it was a real problem. What I’m saying is that you’re far more likely to drown while drinking water than to fatally hyperhydrate. In every other way, more water is always better.
You may have a medical condition that causes you to retain water, probably because of excess salt (sodium) in your system. The solution is simple: drink more water. Your body retains water for the same reason it retains fat: your body thinks that it’s hard to come by. If you teach your body that food is abundant, it will stop storing it. If you teach your body that water is abundant by drinking more of it, your body will stop storing it.
The more water you drink the healthier your skin becomes, because it has to be moisturized from the inside and out. It also contributes to joint lubrication, reducing the risk of injury in any activity. And when you are active, you should drink even more water, especially on hot days, to replace what you lose in sweat. Do not wait until you’re thirsty, because that is your body telling you that it is already under-hydrated. Try to keep yourself over-hydrated for best health.
Here’s an extra tip: cold water is more easily absorbed into your system, plus it slightly lowers your body temperature, so you have to burn a few extra calories to bring your body temperature back up.
What counts as water? Some say “just water”, but some research has found that fruit juices that are mostly water can be counted towards your daily quota. However, you simply can’t drink as much juice as you can water. Juice will fill you up, and contains sugar which you should try to minimize in your diet. So, it’s really not a substitute for simple, clear water. And even though coffee is made with mostly water, it does not count since it is a diuretic and actually strips water from your system. Colas are also full of that diuretic caffeine, besides their ultra-high sugar content, so they should be the first item to stop consuming if you’re trying to lose weight. If you reach for a can of carbonated sugar-water when you’re thirsty, just remember that it’s not an alternative to water.
Same thing goes for alcohol: even when mixed with water, it is a diuretic and my advice is to minimize your consumption of spirits if your goal is health, strength and fat loss.
You don’t have to drink a huge glass or two all at once, either. I have a large glass of water at my desk all day. As soon as it is empty, I refill it. I naturally sip it whenever I like, and I end up drinking more than my quota of water every day.