Monday, August 18, 2008

From the beginning... Drink up!

Nope, sorry, not encouraging to imbibe alcohol. Other than red wine, there is very little in the world of fermented and aged drinks that has any health value. Instead they are empty calorie laden confections that depress rather than energize. That said - a drink here or there won't do you or your healthy lifestyle in, as usual, it's all about moderation.

Today's lesson that I learned long before I ever got healthy was that water is our friend. Our bodies are 90% water and we must constantly replenish it. But water has other tricks it can use to keep you healthy as well and it's these that fall under the 'Get Healthy' mantra.

-Water helps fill you up.
-Water has ZERO calories.
-Water helps wash out toxins.
-Water helps you digest.

There are many, many other reasons to be sure you get enough water, but those are a nice start. Of course, then there is the question of "How much is enough?" That is being endlessly debated.

A nice start is always the standard - "Get 8 - 8 ounce glasses a day." If you are not an active person, that will do just fine, the water in your food should cover the rest of your hydration needs.

If you are active or are attempting to lose weight the answer is more - how much is your call. I've lost track of how much I drink a day, though I put is around 12 cups without the water for my workouts.

That's the only area where there is some agreement in the science world - how to rehydrate after working out. You need to replace double what you sweat out. The biggest rule I follow post workout is, after the initial (slow) replacement of fluids, do I feel thirsty? If the answer is yes, then I keep drinking.

The biggest bonus to water is that it takes up space in your stomach. That means you can fight hunger pains with water, to a point. It's not a meal replacement because it has no calories. But if you have hunger pains for no good reason, or want to put off eating for a meeting, a big glass of water can be a nice stoppage device.

Drink up and feel better, I promise. And you may even lose a little weight.

Yours in health, Kate

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