The Importance of Water

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Likuliku Lagoon

When the well is dry, we know the worth of water. – Benjamin Franklin

Drinking water regularly and throughout the day is something we hear no end of in todays main stream health writing. Water helps us flush out toxins, keep our organs hydrated, prevents fatigue and boosts energy as well as helping a host of other symptoms.

Now while I do believe that drinking a good amount of water each day can have a positive effect on the body in general, it seems we maybe missing out on the best reason to “stay hydrated”…..

Could it be possible that drinking enough water at the right times is a long held secret of the slim and healthy due to its appetite regulating properties. There is old knowledge about the body mistaking hunger for thirst, We have all experienced eating a large meal but then being struck by a hunger pang 2-3 hours later, surely our body could not have burnt through the food that quickly? Often a hunger pang is just a cry for water, having a glass or two will quickly get rid of the hunger and restore satiety……

We are told to take note that 2% dehydration in the body can have a huge impact on our wellbeing, while this is probably true it is pretty hard to get our bodies dehydrated by a full 2% which would require having no water and sweating a large amount – In which case our thirst would ramp up and make us want to down some water pretty quickly.

The most sneaky way that dehydration is caused is through eating large meals. This is because the food goes into your stomach and soaks up water from the body which it uses to digest, this can leave us pretty dehydrated but not in the conventional sense making the thirst switch less likely to be triggered. All this leaves the body pretty confused and hence the hunger strikes an hour or two after eating a heavy meal.

Here is a little quote I dug up on a recent study done involving hydration before eating:

“We found in earlier studies that middle aged and older people who drank two cups of water right before eating a meal ate between 75 and 90 fewer calories during that meal. In this recent study, we found that over the course of 12 weeks, dieters who drank water before meals, three times per day, lost about 5 pounds more than dieters who did not increase their water intake.”

It can be all too tempting to get back home from work or the gym and just start eating, the smarter option if you can manage is to down some water first thing when you enter the house. 1-2 large glasses will do, let it sit and absorb for 5-10 minutes before eating and you will avoid not only over-eating but also dehydration.

This has led me to believe the most important times to drink water are:

  • Before main meals (on an empty stomach)
  • After exercise (with a pinch of sea salt inside)
  • Upon Waking (again with a pinch of sea salt)

These are all times where the body needs water, to help with digestion or replenish the body and get things flowing. Apart from these times I think it is safe to rely on your thirst as a gauge for how much to drink. I personally like to hydrate using herbal tea throughout the day – things like peppermint are great for regulating digestion and soothing the stomach, nettle tea is a great way to start the day as it detoxifies the body of impurities.

So it really comes down to drinking water at the right times to help your body function properly, rather than just drinking water for the sake of it. With the right hydration strategy you can help regulate appetite and weight for years to come…..

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Comments

  1. says

    I pound a 24oz camelback bottle full of water most every morning upon waking. Been making a conscious effort to drink more water about the last 3 months. Sitting pretty close to 2 gallons a day right now. Seems like a lot, but I’m not forcing it down and feel pretty good.

    I drink well water, filtered tap (pur), or distilled. Been doing this so long now I can’t stand the taste of regular tap. Tastes like lapping out of the storm drain of a large factory.

    “2% dehydration in the body can have a huge impact on our wellbeing” and performance!

  2. says

    I’ve definitely gotten back into the habit of drinking more water throughout the day, especially in the morning about 30 min before breakfast. I take 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of sea salt in the morning for my adrenal health, and I wash it down with a hefty dose of cranberry water.

    I thought it was really interesting when I read that our bodies will shut down our thirst if our electrolytes and minerals are depleted, since adding more plain water at that point would cause further imbalance. The sea salt really helps with that, as well as having a nutrient rich diet, of course.

  3. Josh says

    I’m not so sure a person should consume a lot of water immediately around meals, I’ve heard that it impairs digestion by diluting stomach acid.
    For sure it lessens your appetite however, so I guess it depends on your goals a bit.

  4. says

    Hi Chris,

    Great post as always. Yes, I wonder if water would impair digestion as Josh said above… but if not, I will definitely try drinking a glass or two before a meal, I had never heard before that it will help me eat less but I guess it does make sense since it would fill my stomach up a bit and also prevent me from mistaking thirst for hunger.

    Keep up the great work.

  5. Mike says

    What about drinking water a few hours after eating to aid with digesting and moving food “through the system”? Just thinking out loud, but curious about that as well.

    @ Mike: This is a great way to hydrate and let things flow “through the system” so go ahead. Ideally drinking should be done between meals or with a fibrous snack like an apple.

  6. says

    I cannot place enough importance on water in my diet!

    I agree with all you have said Chris -

    I don’t count volume of water per day but all I know is that I must always have a glass or bottle near me 24 hours a day.
    -I keep a 1 litre glass bottle full on my desk at work (save refilling at the fountain every 10 minutes and is sustainable!)
    -London water isn’t brilliant but I drink out of the tap as I don’t want to waste too much money on plastic bottled water. Better to invest in a home water filter (in a few years hopefully!)

    If I’m low on hydration my first symptom is usully the ‘thick blood’ headache…we’ve all had it (from hangovers if nothing else!)

  7. says

    I naturally drink a lot of water because I don’t drink coffee or soda. It certainly helps keep me full on fasting days.

  8. says

    “Up to 60% of the human body is water, the brain is composed of 70% water, and the lungs are nearly 90% water. Lean muscle tissue contains about 75% water by weight, as is the brain; body fat contains 10% water and bone has 22% water. About 83% of our blood is water, which helps digest our food, transport waste, and control body temperature.”

    When you think about that fact it seems silly that everybody is reaching for a protein shake instead of a glass of water.

    Eric

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