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We all strive for good health. We drag ourselves to hit the treadmill even when our every instinct screams at us to crawl back into bed. We eschew unhealthy foods and make the effort to cook nutritious yet delicious meals, even when we’ve had a hard day’s work and the allure of the take-out pizza is almost impossible to resist. We do our best to get the sleep our bodies and minds need to function optimally.
There is, however, one aspect of our health that many overlook. Something that’s an intrinsic part of overall health. Staying hydrated. While many of us understand the importance of hydration, fewer of us take active steps to ensure that we’re hydrated. Quite simply, most of us aren’t drinking enough water.
Let’s chat about it…
But water is so boriiing!
It’s generally recommended that we drink 2 liters of water per day. While other beverages contribute to this, one must bear in mind the caloric content of the non-water options and how these may offset an otherwise balanced diet. Just as we can make poor dietary choices when we’re hungry, we can also make poor choices with our drinks when we’re thirsty, reaching for a sugary juice or a diet soda (which has health issues of its own) to quench our thirst. The best way to remedy this is to invest in a reusable water bottle and keep it by your side at all times. Keep it on your desk at work and top it up every half hour (it’ll do you good to get out of your seat once in a while anyway).
“But water is so boriiing!” I can hear you all thinking! Well, the good news is that if the idea of drinking plain old tap water is anathema to you, there are plenty of flavored waters which use natural ingredients and eschew the harmful additives that make diet soda so problematic. (This watermelon water is a fave.)
When you glug your way to 2 liters a day you will reap a wide range of health benefits, including…
Healthy immune function
We’re surrounded by many kinds of bacteria. Most of them are fairly benign, but some can lead to serious health problems. As the weather gets colder, many of us will be at risk of exposure to a nasty array of bugs and viruses. Fortunately, good hydration supports healthy immune function through the production of lymph. This fluid runs through your body collecting bacteria and transporting them to the lymph nodes where they are duly eradicated before they can cause harm.
Ridding your body of toxins
Another way good hydration keeps us healthy is by supporting kidney function. As most of us know, kidneys are vital in flushing toxins out of your bodies through your urine. Thus, the more water you drink, the better equipped you are to rid your body of potentially harmful toxins. This also helps to boost your immune system as your bodies’ resources aren’t getting used up helping out your kidneys.
Facilitating cognitive function
We all know that mental fugue that comes with not drinking enough water. Staying hydrated allows for better conduction of electrical impulses through the body, especially within the brain. When we stay hydrated our brains feel more alert and aware. Thus, staying hydrated is essential for those whose jobs require them to be alert and make quick decisions. (I would argue this is all jobs, right?)
What’s more, regular hydration helps to boost your brain’s production of melatonin; an essential hormone produced by the pineal gland that helps regulate sleep and wakefulness. So, the more water you drink, the more restful your sleep.
So, there you have it. Get in the healthy habit of remaining hydrated wherever you go and your body will thank you!