Hydration Nation: Keep Drinking Your Water!
This week I’m writing on water and highlighting several reasons as to why you should either continue drinking a lot of water, or START drinking a lot of water. It’s typically recommended that we drink half of our body weight in ounces of pure, filtered water, to keep our cells hydrated and healthy. So if you weigh 150 lbs, that’s 75 oz of water. If you are like most of us, you probably should be drinking more! We cannot survive without water (1), as it makes up anywhere from 75 percent body weight in infants to 55 percent in the elderly (2).
Here are a couple reasons as to why you want to avoid dehydration:
- Dehydration causes cortisol levels to rise! Excess cortisol levels can make us retain weight, it affects our sleep, the way our bodies regulate sugar and other hormones.
- Mild dehydration is associated with a decline in cognitive performance in some studies (3). In one study, being even mildly dehydrated impaired performance in tasks that require attention, psychomotor and immediate memory skills.
- Increasing your water intake can help stabilize your mood (4). It is especially important for the elderly and children to avoid dehydration because their mood seems to be most affected (5).
- Lose weight with water intake! When overweight women drank about 2 cups of water before each meal for 8 weeks, they lost weight, lost body fat and suppressed their appetites (6).
All of these points are great examples as to why you should stay hydrated so hopefully you have been convinced to up your intake of water.
But the question still remains: what is the best type of water to drink?
The environmental working group has a ‘tap water database’ that allows you to input your zip code and you can see the contaminants in your tap water. Some of the most alarming contaminants in my water are arsenic, chlorate, chromium and trihalomethanes; most of which cause cancer (chlorate harms the thyroid) (7).
I have been filling a five gallon jug at my local grocer through Glacier water machines. It is municipal water that has been put through a carbon filter, micron filter, reverse osmosis, post carbon filter and ultraviolet light. I recommend against single use plastic bottles of water for everyday use because of the negative impact this has on our planet. Check out the environmental working group’s Updated Water Filter Buying guide for a guide based on your individual needs. Some of these systems get expensive, and I encourage the investment if you can afford it. Until then, use carbon filters because they are effective and affordable.
Common Filters and their Mechanism:
- Carbon Filters is the most cost effective filtering system that can reduce contaminants like organic chemicals, VOC’s, pesticides, herbicides and chlorine.
- Reverse Osmosis is when water pressure is used to force water molecules through a fine membrane leaving the contaminants behind.
- Ultraviolet attacks 99.9 percent of the microorganisms present in water.
Nicolaidis S. Physiology of thirst. In: Arnaud MJ, editor. Hydration Throughout Life. Montrouge: John Libbey Eurotext; 1998. p. 247.