“We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.” – Jacques Cousteau
Americans seem to carry bottled water everywhere they go these days. In fact, it has become the second most popular drink (behind soft drinks). But water lovers got a jolt recently when it was discovered that a new report had found that the benefits of drinking water may have been oversold. Apparently, the old suggestion to drink eight glasses a day was nothing more than a guideline, not based on scientific evidence.
However, don’t set your water bottle or glass down just yet. While we may not need eight glasses, there are plenty of reasons to drink water. As a matter of fact, drinking water (either plain or in the form of other fluids or foods) is essential to your health.
“Think of water as a nutrient your body needs that is present in liquids, plain water, and foods. All of these are essential daily to replace the large amounts of water lost each day,” says Joan Koelemay, RD, dietitian for the Beverage Institute, an industry group.
Kaiser Permanente nephrologist Steven Guest, MD, agrees: “Fluid losses occur continuously, from skin evaporation, breathing, urine, and stool, and these losses must be replaced daily for good health,” he says.
When your water intake doesn’t equal your output, you can become dehydrated. Fluid losses are accentuated in warmer climates, during strenuous exercise, in high altitudes, and in older adults, whose sense of thirst may not be as sharp.
For those of us on the journey of Epilepsy, it is especially important to drink plenty of water with our medications. Are you drinking an adequate amount of water with your medicine? Do you know how much water or other fluid should be taken with medicines that are swallowed?
A small sip may not be enough. The amount and type of fluid that is best for you will ultimately depend on the properties of your medication.
Water helps medicine pass from your mouth to your stomach and small intestine and to be absorbed to give the desired action. Swallowing medicines without enough water may prevent the medicine from acting properly and may even lead to undesired side effects in some cases.
The amount of water needed can also depend on the dosage form. For example, you may need to swallow more water with a large tablet or capsule than with a small tablet or a liquid medicine.
Important To Remember
- Always carefully read the label of your medication and any information that comes with it. Find out how much water you need to take with your medication. The right amount of water for you will depend on which medicines you are taking. If you are not sure how much water you should drink, ask your pharmacist or other healthcare provider.
- Be sure you know what fluid you should take with your medicine. Milk, fruit juices, or food can affect the absorption and action of some medicines. Most medicines are best taken with just water, however, there are exceptions. If one of your medicines specify milk, fruit juice, or food, you might need to take this medicine at a different time than your other medicines. Your pharmacist can help you to develop a schedule to be sure you are taking all of your medicines properly.
- If you are in a situation where you find yourself in a hospital or confined to bed, sit up when swallowing medicines, if you are able to do so in a safe manner. If you feel that a caregiver has not given you an adequate amount of water with your medicine, don’t hesitate to speak up and ask for more water.
Confession. I have never been astounding at drinking water faithfully. However, I must say I am quite proud of my record giving 99.9% of caffeine and 100% of soda the boot! In becoming diagnosed with epilepsy in 2008, I made it my mission to turn my health around by eliminating what is unhealthy and adopting what is healthy into my lifestyle nutrition-wise and in various other ways. Breaking away from soda was the first to go. It was a challenge at first, however a challenge that I eventually conquered and reaped the benefits from in a variety of ways! Caffeine was soon to follow. All that remains within this spectrum for the most part is caffeinated tea on a rare occasion. It amazes me the vast array of food and beverage products caffeine can be found in. Health.com for instance, lists 12 Surprising Sources of Caffeine you might not have been aware of. It’s always important to check the labels of the foods that you purchase.
As I continue on my journey with epilepsy, it is a very poignant mission of mine to become vigilant in making water an ally within my journey. As we all know, water is a grand source of life after all. So what are some good reasons to drink water?
10 Life-Changing Reasons to Drink More Water
Our bodies are composed of roughly 60% water. This means when we are dehydrated – and most of us spend our days constantly dehydrated to some degree – we are affecting the performance of the majority of our body. Nearly all of our systems do not function as well without the proper water intake.
So, really, what does this mean? Why is it vital that we drink more water?
- If you don’t drink water, you will die. It’s that important. Depending on our environment, we can live only a few days without water – maybe a week. We can live much longer without food. For most of us, we should prioritize the consumption of water far more than we currently do.
- Prevent cancer. Yes, that’s right – various research says staying hydrated can reduce risk of colon cancer by 45%, bladder cancer by 50%, and possibly reduce breast cancer risk as well.
- Be less cranky. Research says dehydration can affect your mood and make you grumpy and confused. Think clearer and be happier by drinking more water.
- Perform better. Proper hydration contributes to increased athletic performance. Water composes 75% of our muscle tissue! Dehydration can lead to weakness, fatigue, dizziness, and electrolyte imbalance.
- Lose weight. Sometimes we think we are hungry, when in actually we are in reality thirsty. Our body begins turning on all the alarms when we ignore it. If you are attempting to shed pounds, keeping hydrated can serve as an appetite suppressant and aid with weight loss.
- Experience less joint pain. Drinking water can reduce pain in your joints by keeping the cartilage soft and hydrated. This is actually how glucosamine helps reduce joint pain, by aiding in cartilage’s absorption of water.
- Flush out waste and bacteria. Our digestive system needs water to function properly. Waste is flushed out in the form of urine and sweat. If we don’t drink water, we don’t flush out waste and it collects in our body causing a myriad of problems. Also combined with fiber, water can cure constipation.
- Prevent headaches. Sometimes headaches can be caused by dehydration, so drinking water can prevent or alleviate that terrible head pain. Next time your head hurts, try drinking water.
- Make your skin glow. Our skin is the largest organ in our body. Regular and plentiful water consumption can improve the color and texture of your skin by keeping it building new cells properly. Drinking water also helps the skin do it’s job of regulating the body’s temperature through sweating.
- Feed your body. Water is essential for the proper circulation of nutrients in the body. Water serves at the body’s transportation system and when we are dehydrated things just can’t get around as well.
Rules Of Thumb For Drinking Water
- Drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water (if you weight 160lbs, drink 80oz of water each day).
- Carry a bottle everywhere with you as a reminder to keep drinking.
- Eat raw fruits and vegetables – they are dense in water. You can get water from food, not just from beverages.
- Drink water and other fluids until you urinate frequently and with light color.
In addition to all of these excellent reasons to drink water each day and tips for drinking water, what do I do personally to help me ensure I’m drinking plenty of water on a daily basis? Recently, I began using a very beneficial app called WaterMinder! WaterMinder is an app that will keep hydration at the forefront of your mind– reminding you to drink at regular intervals, so you meet your daily goal or the amount needed based on your body weight. It’s loaded with information on the benefits of drinking water – and has a clean interface to show your daily progress.
It’s an app that has gotten great reviews and one that I would recommend thus far if you’re looking for a great app to help remind you to keep hydrated and drink an adequate amount of water each day.
Along this journey we take with epilepsy, we are required to take medications and/or whichever therapy required by our doctor/neurologist. At the very same time, we also have a responsibility to be good to our bodies in all ways. The epilepsy diagnosis for me, was a wake up call to get right with my health. A call I surely plan to heed.
Give this app a try! Don’t have a smart phone? That’s okay, give water a try! Write and let me know how you’re doing!
“WATER-You Waiting For?” 🙂