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The Wonders of Water

By now, most of us have probably heard that drinking eight eight-ounce glasses of water every day is good for us. But many people might be unaware of just how many benefits drinking water daily can provide our bodies and our minds.
As far as beverages go, water is definitely the best bet for people interested in losing weight as well as for runners and other athletes.

Not only does it contain zero calories, but it also takes the edge off of hunger and makes us feel full. In fact, in many recent studies, the results have shown that individuals who increase their water intake lose pounds and keep them off in the long run, especially if high-calorie drinks such as sodas and juices are replaced with water. Furthermore, for those involved in any sports and fitness programs, water plays a large role in increasing stamina, fighting dehydration, and helping performance during training and competitive events.

Losing weight, however, isn’t the only advantage to upping your water intake. Several experts think that half of all people in the United States are mildly dehydrated. Their research leads them to believe that this chronic dehydration can cause major health problems, including cancer. For instance, in a study on colon cancer conducted at a research center in Seattle, Washington, scientists found that women who drank four or more glasses of water daily were half as likely to get this disease than those who drank less than four glasses a day. Researchers believe that water increases the speed at which carcinogens and waste travel through the intestinal tract. In other words, the bad guys have less chance to come into contact with colon walls. Other studies of water consumption have shown similar results for reducing the risks of getting urinary tract cancer and breast cancer.

Dehydration, both mild and severe, also causes headaches. The theories abound as to why this happens, but the answer is to drink more water. Of course, for many of us, this is easier said than done. Just how do we increase our water intake to eight eight-ounce glasses a day? Here are some tips from the experts:

Drink 16 ounces of water first thing in the morning.
Drink a glass of water anytime you brush your teeth.
Carry a filled bottle of water with you everywhere you go.
Replace your soda, coffee and tea with water.
Drink at least 12 to 16 ounces of water two hours before you exercise and then drink more during and after exercise.
Drink before you feel thirsty.
Have a glass of water with every meal and snack.
On hot days, add an ounce of water for every degree over 64.
Certain groups of people, such as pregnant and nursing women, young children, the elderly, those who work in strenuous jobs or hot climates and athletes, should drink extra water to compensate for that which is lost during certain periods of time.

Remember, throughout the day, most people do consume water in some of the foods they eat. So, if your goal is weight loss, don’t forget to count the water in those low-fat soups, watermelon, cantaloupe and more as part of your daily quota.

As parents, teachers and coaches, we can teach our children that drinking water is healthy and beneficial if we model this behavior ourselves. Walk around with a bottle of water and sip from it occasionally. Rather than lecturing, just watching us drink water will be the best lesson to give our children.

All in all, drinking water can help individuals in any manner of ways. Keep a glass nearby to help with hydration, weight loss, improved sports performance, etc. You won’t regret it.

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