Wellness with Dr. Maggie: The Super Powers of Water

How many times have we been told as children and adults how important water is for our health? A few years ago, former First Lady Michelle Obama and her staff launched a “Drink Up” campaign which helped promote children to drink more water instead of sugary drinks. Water is the most important substance to ALL living things and we sometimes take access to clean water for granted. Can you imagine not being able to have clean water available to drink so our bodies can function properly? In honor of Sweat for Smiles supporting the Clean Water Fund with a “Clean to the Core Pilates Party” , emphasizing the importance of clean water in our lives, I’m highlighting my favorite reasons why water is still the COOLEST beverage around!

Our adult bodies are made up of approximately 60% of water. Babies and kids have more water content (percentage) in their bodies, while females have less percentage water content than their male counterparts. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies recommends (2.7 liters (over 11 cups) of fluids a day for the average woman and 3.7 liters (almost 16 cups) for men. This may seem like a lot of daily water intake but our bodies need it. Since the cells in our bodies are filled with water, important nutrients and minerals are able to be utilized in complex biological and chemical reactions. Our bodies lose water and electrolytes through sweat, urine and bowel movements so replenishing our water supply is important! When our bodies are deprived of water, DEHYDRATION can set in which can lead to: – Fatigue – Headaches – Skin problems – Muscle cramps – Accelerated heart rate – Low blood pressure

I can speak for hours about all the benefits of water but here are my top reasons why I’m singing my ODE to H2O!! WATER…. 1) Helps regulate our body temperature. 2) Helps boost the immune system by preventing infections and delivering vital nutrients to cells. 3) Helps enhance energy levels and brain function. Water may help improve sleep quality, mood, and memory. 4) Helps with the detoxification process by assisting our kidneys and liver to get rid of toxins. 5) Helps with weight loss by making our bodies feel full (increase satiety), suppressing our appetite and boosting our metabolic rate. Try drinking a cool glass of water half an hour before meals so you eat fewer calories. Your body may use additional energy and calories to heat warm water to body temperature. 6) Helps improve skin complexion. 7) Helps prevent constipation and improve bowel function. 8) Helps with metabolizing and transporting important nutrients like carbohydrates and proteins throughout our bodies. 9) Helps with treating migraines/headaches by fighting dehydration. 10) Helps maximize physical performance by improving joint lubrication and increasing the elasticity of muscles.

Check out this diagram below for a great summary of water’s super powers!

Approximately twenty percent of daily water comes from solid foods especially fruits and veggies in our diets. Check out some of these water rich food to incorporate in our salads, yogurts, smoothies, rice or other recipes! Some of these foods also have added sources of nutrients and vitamins. The top three foods are my favorites with high water content! • Watermelon • Strawberries- Provide fiber, antioxidants, and reduce inflammation. • Cucumber • Cantaloupe • Peaches-rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamin A and C • Oranges-rich in vitamin C and antioxidants • Skim milk •Lettuce- high in Vitamin K •Chicken broth and soups •Zucchini •Celery •Plain yogurt •Tomatoes- Contains lycopene (powerful antioxidant that protects from cell damage) •Cauliflower •Cabbage •Grapefruit •Cottage cheese

Some of us may not like drinking plain water so change it up by trying the super rehydrating and nourishing coconut water which is high in electrolytes. Runners, this may be a good substitute for Gatorade!

My new favorite drink is CUCUMBER WATER! • By adding some cucumbers to spice up your water, you can ensure to stay hydrated as well as get enough potassium in our bodies which helps regulate the amount of sodium retained by the kidneys. • Cucumbers also contain pantothenic acid or vitamin B5 which can help to treat acne and help with symptoms in osteoarthritis. • Most importantly, cucumber water contains high content of vitamin K which is needed for bone and tissue health as well as help with proper blood clotting. So this source of water is not only refreshing, tasty but also helpful with important body functions.

I know it is difficult in our busy lives to take the time out and make sure we are getting the proper amount of water so that our bodies can function well BUT we have to commit. We have one body so as former First Lady Michelle Obama says ”DRINK UP” and keep eating those water rich fruits and veggies!

References: http://water.usgs.gov/edu/propertyyou.html http://www8.nationalacademies.org Popkin,B, D’Anci, K and Rosenberg, I. Water, Hydration and Health. Nutri Rev.2010 Aug:68 (8):439-458

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