Thursday, January 2, 2014

Water–Your Best Health Food?

For your health, combine two parts of hydrogen with one part oxygen and consume frequently throughout the day.  Or make it much simpler – drink H2O, also known as water, which should be known as the super-health beverage.

Water is so plentiful that it is often overlooked as being not simply essential to survival but actually very good for you. In fact, there are a number of health benefits you may not be aware of. Here, we will reveal:
  • Some surprising health benefits of water, including weight loss, healthier skin, and colon purification
  • Surprising new research suggesting that you significantly influence the health benefits of water by modifying how much you drink, how cold it is, and when you drink it
Ready to be surprised? Then read on…

Child drinking water

Drink water or die

Before we go into the health benefits of water, let's talk about the risks of not drinking enough water. As a human being, you are more water than you are anything else, with between 50 and 75 percent of your body comprised of water.

What's more, the process of living creates a continual loss of water that must be replenished daily. While it is possible to live for weeks without food, most of us will be dead within three days without water. We lose fluids through skin evaporation, going to the bathroom, and even breathing.

Do I drink enough water? Do I drink too much water?

First, pay little attention to the mythical "eight glasses a day" rule. (Read more about where that eight-glasses-of-water-a-day myth came from.) The truth is, water requirements vary from person to person, depending on many factors, including heredity, health, lifestyle, where you live (you'll need more water at high altitude or in the desert, for instance), weight, and diet.

Consider for example the drinking requirements of the typical ultra-marathon trail running person, covering 50 to 100 miles in a 24-hour period, and often at high altitude. That runner would die from dehydration sticking to eight glasses a day. Compare that to a relatively sedentary office worker who happens to also be a fruitarian – someone who consumes nothing but fruit. They can do just fine with one glass of water or less, as the water content of their fruit diet is so high.

While there is no hard and fast rule on how much water to drink daily, research suggests that you will meet minimum requirements by listening to your body. If you feel thirsty, have a drink. Meanwhile, consider that, apparently…
More is better (increase water consumption for weight loss)
Meeting minimum daily requirements of water is one thing, but is it possible that drinking more water than the minimum has health benefits? Yes, according to some health and medical experts. Doctor Jeffrey Life, a longevity expert and author of The Life Plan, recommends drinking half your body weight in ounces daily. For example, if you are 100 pounds, drink 50 ounces daily, and if you are 200 pounds, drink 100 ounces daily. Considering that eight 8-ounce glasses of water adds up to 64 ounces, drinking half your body weight in ounces daily is a lot of water!

Why so much? He cites a German study showing that increased water intake increases metabolic rates by as much as 30 percent. In the study, the increased metabolic rate resulted in increased fat burn for men and increased calorie burning for women. So, if you are trying to lose weight or reduce body fat, consuming more water is a good thing.

As well, a 2002 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology reported that drinking at least five glasses of water daily cuts your risk of a fatal heart attack in half.  And Doctor Kinsey, author of The Blood Thinner Cure, states that inadequate water intake is likely the main cause of heart attacks, strokes, and hardening of the arteries.

The short story: drink more for heart health and for the quality of your blood. 

Bottle of water
Cold is better (ice water increases weight loss)
In that same German study, from the Franz-Volhard Clinical Research Center in Berlin, researchers found that increased metabolism from water consumption went into overdrive when study participants drank very cold water. They discovered that, in our body's effort to maintain its proper temperature, we burn up to 40 percent more calories with ice water because of the body’s efforts to heat it up. 
Drinking in the morning is beneficial
Many health experts agree that there are particular advantages to drinking water in the morning. By consuming lots of water first thing, before your first meal, you improve your colon's ability to absorb nutrients, kick start your metabolism (especially with ice water), supercharge your lymphatic system (useful in fighting infection and balancing body fluids), and even rev up your body's ability to make new blood cells and muscle cells.
So, sure, the very first thing you should do when you awaken is to kiss your spouse and tell them you love them. But, clearly, the very next thing you should do is drink a good 16 ounces of cold water. Read more on the benefits of drinking water in the morning.
Drinking water is good for your muscles
Pay attention, athletes; according to Web MD, inadequate water fatigues the muscles, causing your cells to lose fluids and electrolytes. Without enough fluids, your muscles become fatigued, harming your performance.

Water is good for your life

There are health risks to drinking too much water, but it’s a much smaller likelihood than not consuming enough water for optimal health.  Meanwhile, there are countless more benefits to drinking the right amount of water (usually, this means drinking more) that we haven’t room here to go into, such as:
  • Water helps your breath by reducing dry mouth conditions, which increase bacteria, which increase bad breath.
  • Water makes you look younger, because the opposite – dehydration –makes your skin appear dryer and more wrinkled.
  • Water helps your kidneys function better.
  • Water improves bowel function and prevents constipation.
It's worth adding that there is likely no cheaper health product on the market than good, clean water. Considering its many health advantages, water is certainly the right place to start improving your health.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer

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