Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘water’

Water, Your First Step Towards Optimal Health

Proper hydration is imperative for optimal health. Without proper hydration, your body will become dehydrated, which means your body does not have enough water to function at peak capacity. You lose water every day when you breathe, sweat and go to the bathroom. The water content in the foods you eat and the beverages you drink combine to hydrate your body. Drinking 8 cups of water each day is usually sufficient, but more may be needed if you are participating in vigorous activities.

Drinking water keeps your body tissues moist, flushes out harmful toxins and makes nutrients more readily available. It is also involved in getting oxygen to cells throughout the body and regulating temperature. This is why staying hydrated is so vital when playing sports or exercising. Your body’s demand for oxygen increases during physical activity and your internal temperature rises. In fact, even a minimal fluid loss can affect aerobic performance and reduce your level of physical endurance. Inadequate hydration can fatigue your muscles, reduce your coordination, make you dizzy and cause muscle cramps. The goal during exercise is to drink before signs of dehydration occur. Ideally, try to drink 2 cups of water two hours before exercising and continue to drink 1 cup of water every 20 minutes while you’re exercising.

Fatigue is the most common symptom of dehydration. Other common dehydration symptoms include; muscle cramps, fogginess, dizziness, light-headedness, headache, thirst and dry mouth/skin/lips. If you are unsure about whether you are currently drinking enough fluids each day, the color of your urine can be a good guideline. If you’re well-hydrated, it should be light yellow in color. The darker in color it gets, the more dehydrated you may be. Keep in mind, other medical conditions can alter this (such as kidney disease). Another test is to pinch the skin on the outer part of your hand or forearm. If the skin tents, meaning it stays in place and doesn’t quickly bounce back then this is a warning sign that you are dehydrated.

When choosing fluids to help you meet your daily hydration requirements, water is the ideal choice. Water will help keep you properly hydrated without the empty calories found in sports drinks, sodas or juices. However, very vigorous activities can warrant the use of carbohydrates and electrolyte replacements. To keep it interesting and add some zest, use slices of lemon or lime. Herbal teas, such as peppermint, berry or chamomile can “count” towards your daily fluid intake. Sipping water throughout the day is the best strategy. Drinking too quickly will reduce absorbability. As well, drinking water at meals might not be ideal. It can be beneficial for weight loss as it can make you fuller, however, it will also dilute your digestive juices. Drinking in-between meals is a better strategy.

Use strategies to help increase your fluid intake. Carry a stainless steel water bottle with you wherever you go and make sure you finish it by the end of the day. Set reminders on your phone to drink water, or use post-it-note reminders. If you’re feeling groggy during the day, try drinking a glass of water instead of reaching for coffee or tea. Coffee and tea are diuretics, meaning they increase water loss from the body, and can actually be more dehydrating. For every caffeinated cup of tea or coffee, make sure you add an extra cup of water. Try drinking at least 2 cups of water first thing when you wake up.

Cheers to better health!

The Power of Lemons

Written by: Dr. Christine Davis, Naturopathic Doctor

Lemons are remarkable fruits that can have a dramatic effect on your overall health and well-being.  Lemons boost the immune system, purify the blood and help the body rid itself of toxins.   Lemons and lemon juice are alkalizing, cleansing, antibacterial, antiviral and antioxidant and may successfully treat a variety of health problems.  As well, lemons are high in vitamin C, potassium and other minerals.

For best results, add the juice of half a freshly picked lemon to cool or warm water.  Water that is too hot will destroy vital enzymes in the lemons.  It should be noted that pre-packaged and pasteurized lemon juice will not have the same health benefits.  Organic lemons are preferred over to avoid any pesticide or chemical residue that might remain on the skin and in the pulp.

Lemons and pH Balance

Ripe lemons have an alkalizing effect on the blood and urine despite being an acidic fruit.  Acidic diets lower the pH in the body resulting in alkaline minerals being drawn from bone, muscle and tissue to rebalance the pH. The depletion of calcium, magnesium and potassium over time can lead to
weakened bones and muscle wastage.

Digestion and Cleansing

Lemons can also relieve symptoms of indigestion, such as heartburn, bloating, gas and cramping. Drinking lemon water regularly will aid in the cleansing of the bowels, which helps eliminate constipation and diarrhea.  Bitter foods such as lemons are known to stimulate the liver, which can aid in detoxification and weight loss.

Immune Boosting

Lemons are high in vitamin C, a well-known cold and flu-fighter.  Lemon and honey can ease the pain of a sore throat or soothe the tickling and itching of a cough.  Squeezing the juice of 1 lemon in 1 cup of warm water with 1 tbsp. honey makes a base for a soothing cough or sore throat remedy.  Alternatively, mix lemon juice and honey in a small bowl and drink to soothe a sore throat.

Considerations

Although alkalinizing to the body, lemons can be acidic to the tooth enamel. It is best to drink lemon water first thing in the am (which is also the best time for liver detoxification) and rinse your mouth afterward, than to sip throughout the day.  Always consult your healthcare practitioner to understand what is best for your individual health needs.