Practical advice learned from Plain Mennonites - why and how to drink more water.
As part of an ongoing series about traits of the Plain folk, not everything is going to be about their faith. Here is a simple one – drink water.
While I have been served coffee and tea at the homes of my Mennonite friends, I do not recall ever having soda or Kool Aid. And certainly they never have alcohol. What can be found on every table, though, is a jug of water.
This seems so common among my Mennonite friends, that I am going to include it in one of the practical, non-spiritual traits of Plain folk. This is probably one of the secrets behind their phenomenal good health.
There are so many reasons to drink water.
1) Water is essential for proper functioning of the human body. Did you know that about 70% of your body is water? And about 75% of your brain? Your blood, in fact, is 90% water. Although we can live for about a month without food, we cannot survive a week without water.
2) Being properly hydrated affects our mood. Without enough water, people tend to be more cranky and irritable.
3) Dehydration also causes fatigue, weakness, electrolyte imbalance and dizziness, which means we can not do our best work.
4) Often we mistake thirst for hunger. Drinking enough water helps us to maintain a healthy weight, and it’s a fairly effortless method, too.
5) Proper hydration aids in food digestion. When there is not enough water in your body, vital organs get priority over bowels, leaving you with water-depleted stools that are difficult to pass, and a bloated belly from the fermenting yeast and bacteria. Yuck!
6) In general, drinking enough water means you will be healthier. There are many headaches, back aches and more that are caused by dehydration. Even depression is aggravated by a lack of sufficient water.
7) Drinking water will regulate your body temperature in hot weather. When we are hot, we sweat and lose water – replenish it to keep the heat regulation system working properly.
8) A properly hydrated person sleeps better. However, this does not mean drinking a bunch just before bed. Spread it out through the day so that you’re not going to bed with a full bladder.
9) If you drink enough water, you will be smarter. The brain is almost entirely water and dehydration causes a lack of focus, poor memory and slower reaction times.
10) Water is free. Perhaps you need to buy filters, if you live in an area with bad water, but that still is nothing compared to the cost of buying practically any other beverage.
How much?Take your weight and divide it in half.
Divide that number by eight to find out how many cups of water you should drink daily. (A 160 pound person should drink about 10 cups or 2 1/2 litres water.)
However, there are many times when you should drink more – pregnant or breastfeeding women, for example, or anyone who is physically very active – in which case divide your weight by three, multiply it by two and then divide that number by eight to find the cups. (That same 160 pound person needs 13 cups or a little over 3 litres.)
Signs of dehydrationThirst is not a sign of, well, being thirsty. Once you are aware of thirst, you are actually dehydrated. In fact, most of us become aware of something that is initial thirst and we confuse it with hunger.
A dry mouth is a bad sign, too. There are medications that cause dry mouth, but if you are not taking any of those and you have a dry mouth, start increasing your water intake.
The same goes for dry eyes. Have a drink of water.
Dry skin, too, is an indicator that your water intake is too low. Too little water means too little sweat, which means your body can’t wash away accumulated dirt. Acne follows.
How to do it?Drinking enough water is not as hard as you might think.
Start your day with a glass of water – you have just gone hours without a single drink, so hydrate right away.
Have a glass of water at every meal. If you’re eating three meals a day, and have a 16 ounce glass, you’re now at 64 ounces.
Add a bit of lemon juice if you don’t like the taste of your water. Lemon in your water has its own set of health benefits, so this is win-win.
Fruit and vegetables contain water, so eat lots.
Find a water bottle that you absolutely love and carry it everywhere. Sip constantly throughout the day.
Your ChallengeDo you drink enough water? For something that is essentially free, water provides an incredible list of benefits.
Figure out how much water you should be drinking and set a goal to increase to that amount slowly over the next week. Do not do it all at once or you’ll be in the bathroom constantly and you will soon give up on this project.
Let us know how you are doing!