We need water to live. It’s that simple.
As moms, we know that drinking some water every day is healthy. But do we really know why it’s healthy? What happens if we don’t get enough? What if our children don’t drink enough? What if they don’t like water? Should we make them drink it?
Our whole body needs water in different ways. Yes, drinking it is the primary way, but there are other benefits of using water on the body.
But let’s start with the drinking part.
Health Benefits of Water
We’ve all heard the stats that our bodies are made up of 60 – 70% water. But did you know that our brains are 80% water. Water keeps us thinking clearly.
The amount of water we drink is vital to keeping healthy levels of water in our bodies.
Too often we grab anything but water to quench our thirst and to keep us hydrated. We reach for flavored “thirst quenchers” and carbonated drinks, not realizing those drinks make our blood sticky which results in poor flow.
Pure water is the only drink that can create the right environment for our blood to flow smoothly. What’s more, many nutrients are water soluble, so water plays a crucial role in helping our bodies to “digest” them.
Also, low levels of water make it more difficult for our bodies to get rid of toxins and other waste products, and if those build up, we have an unhealthy toxic dump in our bodies. In addition, headaches and fatigue are a common result of drinking too little water.
Drinking enough water can also help in losing weight. In one study, participants who drank two eight-ounce glasses of water 20 to 30 minutes before meals ate an average of 75 fewer calories at that meal. In another study, by drinking two eight-ounce glasses of water before meals, participants had 44% greater weight loss over 12 weeks than in a non-water control group.
The same applies to children. Water is just as healthy for them as it is for adults. Drinking enough water can help children stay hydrated, prevent constipation, and even help fight off cavities.
As you can see, keeping your body well-hydrated and knowing what and when to drink are essential to your overall health.
How Much is Enough
Doctors recommend six to eight eight-ounce glasses of water each day in order to keep the proper water levels in the body. I’ve also heard the rule of drinking half of your body weight in onces of water (i.e., a person weighing 140 pounds would drink 70 ounces of water each day).
Our children need the same amount of water as we do: about one quart for every 1,000 calories they expend (except infants, who shouldn’t drink water; breast milk or formula is enough).
We shouldn’t rely on thirst to remind us to drink water. We should schedule regular water drinking throughout the day. Here’s a sample schedule:
- Drink one glass of water when you wake up in the morning,
- a glass of water a half hour before each meal,
- a glass of water midway between each meal.
Following this schedule will result in drinking six glasses of water a day. Add in some water at least one to two hours before bed and you can increase the amount to eight glasses a day.
Other Ways Your Body Needs Water
While showers are good for cleansing the body, baths offer greater health benefits. Breathing is made more free and easy, the muscles become more flexible, the mind and body are energized, we think more clearly, and it soothes our nerves (and moms need our nerves soothed!).
Bathing also helps the stomach, bowels and liver, giving them more energy to function better. It promotes digestion and strengthens our digestive system.
Remember, water is key to good health – use it abundantly to reap the benefits.