Hydration Nation

There’s no doubting that water is good for us.

Many of us are already aware that dehydration is clearly something bad that can kill us. But do you know about the day to day effects of drinking water and choosing it over the increasingly popular sodas on the market?

The facts are damning; sodas are chock full of sugar, a whopping 39 grams of sugar in a regular 12 ounce can. That’s more sugar than a full sized original Hershey’s milk chocolate bar—which has only 31 grams.  Even if you skip the original and opt for a diet soda, you’re facing the dangers of aspartame and high fructose corn syrup.

The excessive additives in sugary drinks are now leading not only to burgeoning waistlines, but also possibly cancers, seizures, the forming of formaldehyde in your body, headaches, vision impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease. Kicking my soda habit was one of the smartest things I ever did, and now when I’m thirsty I turn to water first and here’s why you should too:

1. Water can help energize your muscles

When the cells in your body lack the necessary fluids, it can lead to muscle shrinkage and fatigue, causing your body’s performance to suffer. This is especially important during a long or strenuous workout. Remember that as you’re exercising you’re losing fluids, so it’s important to keep them replaced so that you can function at a higher level for a longer period of time. Water can also keep your joints and ligaments lubricated, to lessen the overall chances of pain and injury during exercise.

2. Water can help you lose weight

Studies have shown that drinking water throughout the day can help you feel fuller. It is suggested that you drink a full glass of ice water before sitting down to a meal to keep a ravenous appetite in check. Oftentimes, our bodies send us signals that we are hungry when in reality we are dehydrated. Our bodies know that food contains some amount of water and will try to get you to eat to replenish its fluids. So before you break into that afternoon snack, try having a glass of water first. A study presented at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society reported that adults who drank two 8-ounce glasses of water before every meal consumed 75 to 90 fewer calories each time they ate. Over three months, study participants in the water-drinking group lost an average of five pounds more than dieters who didn’t sip extra water.

3. Water can improve your complexion

Keeping your skin well hydrated doesn’t just mean adding moisturizer to your morning regimen; it also works from the inside out. Staying hydrated can reduce the appearance of wrinkles, keep your skin softer, and help it to appear brighter. Are you suffering from acne? Try sipping on a cup of hot water with lemon each morning to lessen bacteria that internally causes breakouts.

4. Water can boost your mood

Dehydration doesn’t just affect you physically; it can also drag you down mentally. Researchers from Tufts University have asserted that water deprivation can lead to feelings of confusion, anger, and depression. Next time you’re suffering from a bad day, give a glass of water a try and see if it helps brighten your day.

Unfortunately, many of us find plain ice water incredibly boring- I know I used to. I chose juice and soda over a glass of water any day. Fortunately, over the past few years I’ve been experimenting with different ways to make water more fun. My roommate and I keep fruits, teas, and herbs to infuse with our water and keep us hydrated here in the arid desert lands of Arizona. Adding different ingredients can help reap even more benefits than plain water can alone.

 We’ve tried an array of combinations and have found the following infusions to be our top picks:

Plain Ole Lemon

Watermelon, Strawberry, Lemon

Lemon, Lime, Orange

Cucumber and Lemon

Mint Leaves

Green tea

Peppermint tea

Desert tea (a Grand Canyon special, produced by the Fred Harvey Trading Company)

 

Drink up, ladies and gents!

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