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Give Your Body What it Craves: Water

by Nancy Maneely

It’s high season for hydration! At this time of year it’s more important than ever to pay attention to your fluid intake. Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight, and every system in your body depends on it: Water flushes toxins from vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for healthy ear, nose and throat tissues.

Dehydration Dangers

Your body needs plenty of fluids for optimal performance. Even at early stages, dehydration can cause fatigue, loss of energy and brain fog:

  • 1% dehydration – You begin to feel thirsty.
  • 2% dehydration – Creeping anxiety, with reduced appetite and capacity for work.
  • 4% dehydration – Feelings of nausea, dizziness, emotional instability, fatigue.
  • 6% dehydration – Loss of coordination and coherence of speech.
  • 10% dehydration – Your body loses its ability to regulate its core temperature, and cells begin to die.

Bet you didn’t know how just a tiny deficiency of water throws your body’s healthy systems out of whack!

How much fluid do we really need? Most health experts agree that the “8x8 Rule” (eight 8-ounce glasses daily) is a good recommendation. Simply put: If you drink enough fluid so that you rarely feel thirsty and produce 1.5 liters (6.3 cups) or more of colorless or slightly yellow urine a day, your fluid intake is probably adequate.

The general consensus is that water is the best choice for effective hydration. Your body’s cells cry out for water! It’s clean, cheap and readily available … but there is an important caveat. Avoid drinking tap water, which contains chlorine as well as hundreds of harmful contaminants.

Chlorinated water does destroy some bad bugs that can cause disease … along with the “friendly” gut bacteria necessary for your good health. That’s why the water you drink should be purified by means of a good filtration system.

But some people just like plain water. For them, drinking it is a chore rather than a pleasure. Others enjoy it well enough, but just want a more flavorful option now and then, without having to worry about the unhealthful effects of sugary sodas or the suspect ingredients in diet soft drinks.

If jazzing up your water will encourage you to drink more of it … by all means, have at it! Here are some cool summer options for liquid refreshment – and they’re good for your health as well as your waistline:

Infused Water Recipes

Citrus: grapefruit, lemon, Meyer lemon, key lime, lime, blood orange, orange, tangerines
Berries: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, cherries
Tropical: pear, pomegranate, mango, pineapple, banana, kiwi, starfruit
Melons: honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon
Other: apples, grapes, plums, peaches, nectarines
Vegetables: cucumber, carrots, celery, peppers (hot or sweet)
Herbs: mint, sage, rosemary, basil, cilantro, thyme, stevia, lavender
Spices: ginger, cinnamon stick (ground cinnamon will float), black pepper

Next Step:
First, simply add your ingredients into your glass or water bottle, take a muddler (or just use a wooden spoon or regular spoon) to slightly mash and breakdown the fruit or vegetables. Tip: peel the citrus fruits from their skin to avoid a bitter taste.
Using herbs or spices - gently bruise the leaf (i.e. gently mashing), this helps release the natural extracts and oils.
Last, add your water. You can also use sparkling water for a fun "mocktail".

What do you infuse your water with? Let us know your favorites!

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