So we left off last time by noting that, unlike soda pop, water is something your body needs. Yet many Americans don’t drink enough of it. As a result, many suffer from chronic tiredness, headaches, constipation and a host of other problems.
While you get some of the water you need from food, it’s not nearly enough to replace all that your body loses each day just in its normal metabolic functions. You’ve got to drink the rest. For most of us, that means drinking half your body weight in ounces of water daily.
How important is drinking water to your health? One group of scientists has urged the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to include water in the USDA’s MyPlate diagram. In turn, the Committee noted in their latest scientific report that
Strategies are needed to encourage the U.S. population to drink water when they are thirsty. Water provides a healthy, low-cost, zero-calorie beverage option. Free, clean water should be available in public settings, as well as child care facilities, schools, worksites, publically funded athletic stadiums and arenas, transportation hubs (e.g., airports) and other community places and should be promoted in all settings where beverages are offered.
Of course, some will argue that most any kind of beverage can deliver water to the body. However, soft drinks also deliver a lot that your body doesn’t need. Sugar – or artificial sweeteners. Acids. Artificial colors and flavors. Caffeine.
“But wait!” some may say. “I need caffeine to feel awake!”
Actually, drinking water could make you feel more energized. When you’re dehydrated, your blood pressure drops, causing you to feel lethargic. As Dr. Jim Sears points out in this segment from The Doctors, even mild hydration can affect your energy levels, as well as your mood:
From an overall health standpoint, as the title of a terrific post over on Greatist puts it, water makes you awesome.
But not all water is equal. About 2/3 of Americans get tap water with added fluoride. Though the Department of Health and Human Services has now recommended that fluoride levels be reduced, fluoride is not something you want to be drinking. As we noted before, the science shows that swallowed fluoride provides “unacceptable risk with virtually no proven benefit.”
If you’re not sure whether your water is fluoridated or not, use the CDC’s search tool to find out.
Currently, there are three types of filters that can remove fluoride: reverse osmosis, deionizers and activated alumina. Water distillation units remove it, as well.
Another option is to buy bottled spring water (not just “purified water”). Although it may contain some fluoride, it’s generally in low amounts and naturally occurring – unlike water treated with industrial grade chemicals.
Having tasty, good quality water may give you more incentive to drink it. Here are a few more tips to help you get more of this life essential:
- Drink a glass of water when you wake up and before every meal.
- Always carry a water bottle with you. (Personal water bottles said to filter fluoride and other impurities are available.) That way when you feel thirsty, it’s simple to reach for that instead of venturing off for a soda or other soft drink.
- Eat more fresh vegetables and fruits, which naturally contain a lot of water.
- If you’re a flavor-craver, try infusing your water with fruit, veg or even herbs to give it a little more zing.
- Think of how much money you’ll save by not buying sugary drinks!