I spend most of my time (in a professional sense) talking to people about nutrition. I encourage them to eat right. To get plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. To skip the processed food, junk food and fast food. To take a good-quality multivitamin.
But most people still skimp on one very important nutrient. What is it? What is the nutrient we miss the most?
Think about it. Your body needs about one ounce of water per day for every two pounds of body weight (up to about 100 ounces per day). For the average person that’s 60-80 ounces of water, or a half gallon or more.
Not coffee, not iced tea, not soda or lemonade. WATER.
Water helps keep your blood pressure down. It removes toxins and improves your digestion. It fights fatigue and keeps your mind sharp.
When you’re a little thirsty, this can be interpreted by the brain in as hunger. So staying well hydrated helps control appetite and promotes weight loss.
Every organ in your body depends on you staying well hydrated. From your kidneys to your digestive system to your brain, water is critical for normal function.
So why is it so hard for us to get enough water? I can’t speak for you, but I know why I have a hard time staying hydrated.
First of all, the most plentiful source of drinking water is the kitchen tap. And tap water is NASTY. Have you tasted it lately? Ew! It doesn’t help that I know more than is good for my mental health about what is actually in our tap water. Pesticide runoff, pharmaceuticals, chlorine and other chemicals interact to make me not want to drink straight from the tap (or from the garden hose, but that’s another story…).
Your local water department has water quality reports available for download at their website, for those who use city water. Cleveland’s water quality report for 2016 is available here, if you’d like to see.
The second problem I have with getting enough water to drink is that when I drink the water I should, I have to pee. A LOT. When I’m in the office that’s inconvenient but manageable. When I’m traveling or pressed for time it becomes difficult for me to get all the water I need.
Honestly, there isn’t a good fix for this problem, I just tell myself to suck it up. Every time I go, I think of all the toxins being washed away and that makes it easier to just do it.
The last problem my patients report with drinking copious amounts of water is that it’s BORING. “I don’t like water, it doesn’t taste good.” Which is silly, because fresh clean water has no taste at all. It’s clear and cold and wet and refreshing!
What people are telling me when they say they don’t like the way water tastes is that they have trained themselves to expect flavor from everything that goes in their mouth, whether it should have flavor or not. What I tell them is that their tastebuds may not like it (for now) but their bodies certainly do like water. In fact, they NEED it, and they do NOT need all the sugar and flavorings and additives in their usual beverage of choice.
So if our tap water is so gross, what water should we be drinking?
Bottled water? No, that’s not a good choice. For one thing, it’s expensive. It also puts tons of unnecessary plastic in the landfill and isn’t necessarily cleaner or safer than drinking tap water. Often we don’t know where the water comes from or what testing was done.
My choice for lots of fresh, clean drinking water is Shaklee’s tabletop pitcher filter. It is certified to remove lead (most tabletop pitcher filters, including Brita and Pur, are not) and has a replaceable carbon filter so that everything else is reused.
Do you have a water filter at home? You can check the Water Quality Association’s website to see what your filter is proven to remove from the water you drink.
And it’s CHEAP! Just did a price check on Deer Park spring water at Giant Eagle. Buying bottled water (this brand, anyway), costs $2.25 per gallon and leaves you with lots of plastic bottles to deal with. Shaklee’s Year of Get Clean Water costs just 52 cents per gallon. And after the initial investment of the reusable plastic pitcher, replacing the carbon filters gives you clean, fresh water for only 25 cents per gallon.
So what are you going to do about your hydration problem? For me, there’s only one choice. Saving money, drinking fresh clean water, and avoiding putting unnecessary plastic in the landfill is a win-win situation!
QUESTION: Do you drink enough water? How do you get your drinking water?