By Shmuel Shields, Ph.D., N.Y.S. Certified Nutritionist
Water is an essential nutrient, secondary in importance only to oxygen. In fact, the human body is composed primarily of water, with approximately 65% of body weight made up of water. A healthy body thus requires proper hydration.
All cells require water to carry out their vital work. The body must be adequately hydrated in order for oxygen to be transported to the blood and for nutrients to be carried through it. Water is also necessary for all bodily functions, including digestion, absorption, and circulation, and is essential for toxic removal and maintenance of body temperature as well. Other important health functions include lubricating the joints and maintaining proper muscle tone. In terms of weight loss, adequate water intake has been found to naturally suppress the appetite, prevent fluid retention, and metabolize stored fat.
The exact quantity of fluids needed depends upon diet, body size, activity level, climate, and health status. Typically, an adult requires six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. While filtering tap water significantly improves its quality, natural spring, bottled, or distilled water present other desirable options. It is advisable to check the source and quality of bottled water throughConsumer Reports.
Consider the following options to spice up liquids in an effort to stay hydrated at all times:
Add a splash of fruit juice for color and flavor.
Add a slice of lemon or orange.
Freeze strawberries in water.
Wean off regular juices by diluting the drinks until they’re half-and-half.
Drink broth-based soups.
In addition, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables that are full of water, such as lettuce, watermelon, broccoli, and grapefruit. Keep in mind that pure fruit and vegetable juices provide fluids and contain vitamins and minerals as well. For those concerned about weight, however, fruit juices contain significant calories per serving – as much as 100 calories in an 8 ounce glass. In order to reduce caloric intake, dilute fruit juices with water. Fresh vegetable juices have less sugar and therefore fewer calories than fruit juices.
When exercising, cool water is the best fluid to drink since it empties from the stomach quickly and travels to parts of the body where it is needed. Sugary beverages, on the other hand, slow up the stomach emptying time and do not reach all parts of the body as quickly as water.
So let’s all drink water – to life!
For a consultation with Dr. Shmuel (Rick) Shields, N.Y.S. Certified Nutritionist, call (718) 544-4036. Most insurance plans are accepted. House calls, phone and e-mail consultations, and guest speaking can be arranged. For information about VitaShield, a high quality multivitamin and mineral supplement with a well absorbed form of vitamin D, contact Dr. Shields at (718) 544-4036 or e-mail him firstname.lastname@example.org
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