Drinking water is like washing out your insides. The water will cleanse the system, fill you up, decrease your caloric load and improve the function of all your tissues.
(Kevin R. Stone, founder of The Stone Clinic)
We all know that staying hydrated is important, but just how much can drinking water impact health and happiness? The pains of hunger seem to be much more evident. There is even a popculture term for what happens when hunger and anger mix, resulting in someone being “hangry.” Yet, humans can survive much longer without food than without water. Our bodies are over 50 percent water, so it makes sense that running low could impact our mood.
In a post for Shape Magazine, Cynthia Sass explains, “if you always feel tired, run down, stressed, and foggy in the brain… a lack of fluid could be a factor.” According to an article on the Mayo Clinic website, “even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.”
Is drinking “eight glasses a day” the ideal amount of water for everyone? Dr. Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain, suggests this equation: “find your body weight, halve it, and drink that many ounces of water/day.” As an example, someone who weighs 160 pounds would aim for a daily water intake of 80 ounces.
If that seems like a lot of water, increase your daily intake over time. Try filling up a large water bottle and carrying it with you during your day. Even though filtered water is best for hydration, some variety can help get you drinking more. Start your mornings with a cup of lemon water for a wide range of benefits. Try Hint Waters, which are naturally flavored and made without sugar, diet sweeteners, preservatives, additives, or anything else you can’t pronounce. You can also make your own infusions by adding mint or cucumber to your water. There are also water bottles like this one that make infusing water while on the go a breeze.
Juices and teas are less preferable to water because they often contain added sugar or caffeine. That said, it is sometimes nice to enjoy something with a little taste. I like coconut water from Harmless Harvest. Yogi Tea also makes a Caramel Apple Spice Tea that is a delicious treat after dinner.
It is important to remember that having access to clean drinking water is a privilege. This post from Psychology Today highlights why we need water and how much of a gift it is – “almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean drinking water. 38,000 children under the age of 5 die each week because they lack uncontaminated water. African women walk over 40 billion hours each year carrying cisterns weighing up to 18 kilograms to gather water, which is usually still not safe to drink.”
If you can, increase your hydration for happiness. And if you can, consider helping someone else with a donation to charity: water.
Image via Death to the Stock Photo
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