A surprising number of people don't drink enough water each day, even though the risks associated with dehydration are serious.
Insufficient hydration causes:
- Clumsiness and confusion
- Lethargy and dizziness
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Heat stroke, blackouts and potentially death
And, for people working towards their goal weight, or trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, even a small amount of dehydration has shown a drastic drop in metabolism.
The human body is 60% water. There is nothing more essential to the efficient functioning of our organs. Water flushes toxins from our vital organs, cushions our joints - an important consideration for people living an active lifestyle, and keeps our skin hydrated and smooth. Water also regulates body temperature, preventing heat stroke - another reason staying hydrated during the summer months is particularly important.
Water also plays an essential role in diet and weight loss. While our bodies are generally marvels of mechanics and engineering, there are still glitches in the system. One of those glitches is that our bodies are pretty bad at differentiating hunger from thirst. As a result, we may misinterpret those midafternoon pangs for hunger and grab a snack, when what we really need is a tall glass of water. Drinking water before meals is actually an effective weight management technique. Because of our body's inability to distinguish hunger from thirst, we're prone to eat more during our regular meals than we would if we weren't thirsty.
To ensure you're getting enough water in your diet to enjoy the summer months while also maximizing your chances of weight loss success, consider these steps:
- Drink actual water. Profound apologies, but flavored water doesn't really count. It will certainly provide the hydration you require, since flavored water is still water, but you'll also have to take into account the added sugar and calories that make your water taste like strawberries. If you prefer some flavor to your beverages, consider adding strawberries, cucumbers or lemon to your water. For more fruit-flavored drink ideas, check out the Recipes section.
- Drink a glass of water before meals. In 2010, a Virginia Tech study found that people who drank 2 glasses of water before meals ate 75 fewer calories than those who didn't, which shakes out to about 14 pounds a year.
- Fruits and vegetables are your friend! Fruits and vegetables are almost entirely water, so if you want a little substance with your hydration, fruit and veggies are the way to go.
Again, it's important not to go overboard. Drinking too much water immediately before meals can deplete the acids in your stomach, negatively affecting digestion.