Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Always Drink Lots of Good Water

I went to a small liberal arts college. I finished my math major in my junior year, which left a year's worth of required credits in the subject of my choosing. I decided that Studio Art would be a fun challenge, and ended up with six hours short of a studio art major.

Because it was a small liberal arts college, I had the same few teachers for all my art classes. There was one in particular who was incredibly talented and remarkably quirky. He didn't actually "teach" his studio classes. We were required to attend at the allotted class meeting time. However, he might or might not show up, except on critique days.

When he did show up to browse around the easels, check our progress, and offer helpful advice, he always walked in shaking a cup of ice water. Always. Shaking a cup of ice water. And his first words were predictable, "Always drink lots of good water," as he walked and shook his cup of ice water.

I cannot hear the sound of ice clinking in a cup without hearing his voice, "Always drink lots of good water." I wish I could put a recording of it right here. You would think the enunciation and vocal inflection to be catchy as well.

So, are you drinking enough good water?

How much is enough? A good rule of thumb is to divide your body weight in half. The result is how many ounces of water you should drink each day. So, if you weigh 140 pounds, you should drink 70 ounces of water daily. This translates to 8.75 - 8 ounce glasses of water... but I'm sure your body wouldn't mind if you just aim for between 8 and 9 glasses of water each day ;-)

If you exercise frequently, if you are pregnant or nursing, or if you drink caffeinated beverages, your body needs additional water. On the other hand, consuming lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, even stock-laden soups, will decrease your body's need for water.

Just pay attention to your thirst. And remember to drink as soon as you are thirsty! Delaying can turn off your thirst mechanism and keep it from signalling properly. Some other thirst signs to pay attention to are dry mouth, brain fog, muscle fatigue, lethargy, irritability, headaches and dry skin.

But why drink water? What's the big deal? Well, just about every body part, system, and function depends on water. Especially important is your brain and nerve function. You probably knew that 75% of your brain is water. When we don't drink enough water, our cognitive ability is affected. "The dehydrated brain causes the release of cortisol. This stress hormone, which is also linked to an increase in fat storage and muscle depletion, can negatively affects the brain's capacity to store and create information." Interesting, don't you think?

With all the information and details I have to keep straight, my brain needs all the help it can get! Plus, I am nursing. So I drink lots of good water. It is not easy for me to remember to drink, but I am doing better.

Always drink lots of good water.

For your health,

PhotoCredit: BlueGum


Noel said...

I didn't know it affected our cognitive abilites. Aha. I need all the help I can get :D

Kristi Lea said...

I know I don't get enough water in every day, and I NEED to make getting enough water a priority! Thanks for the reminder!

busymomof10 said...

Oh how funny -- that we both posted about drinking water today!!! :)

At least we didn't choose the same stock photo! :)

I've been really enjoying your blog posts lately! I don't always get over to your blog to comment, since I recieve your posts in my Inbox. Loved all the very practical questions and answers! ;) Thanks for tackling them!


busymomof10 said...

I do have a question for you -- what are your thoughts on drinking with your meals? I read today that perhaps we shouldn't drink with our meals because it dilutes our digestive enzymes. I don't drink excessively with meals -- but my husband does! When we eat out, the waitress can never keep his glass full!!!

I pretty much need all the encouragement I can get to just Drink!

Amy Ellen said...

Hi Elizabeth,

Thanks for your encouraging words!

On drinking with meals, I have read a similar thing. I used to drink only a sip or two with my meals since I was convinced it diluted our digestive juices. But then, I never got around to drinking in between meals!

I actually find that drinking half a glass of water or so with my meals helps me drink more throughout the day... I don't know why, but I notice my thirst more that way. When I only drank a sip at meals, I never recognized my thirst mechanism. Okay... so that sounds really strange and totally without reason.

I do think it is okay to drink with meals, though not excessively. It is best to drink between meals.

Hope that helps! ae