Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Quench Your Thirst the Right Way

Just the thought of summer makes you want to reach for an ice-cold drink doesn't it? Insufficient hydration during any time of the year or while you are exercising can have serious effects on your health. Here are a few simple rules and precautions that you should be aware of as you rehydrate and beat the heat.
Quench Your Thirst the Right Way
Take It Slow: Your kidneys can clear about a liter of water per hour. So don't go gulping water like you are trying to reach a target set for you. Sip it slowly and distribute your allowance of 8 glasses of water uniformly over the day. Drinking too much water at one time may cause bloating, water intoxication and disturb your electrolytebalance.
The Caffeine Myth: Till a few years back it was believed that caffeine acted as a diuretic, i.e. you will urinate more after drinking caffeinated drinks thus losing fluids. But recent studies suggest that this is not true when caffeine is consumed in moderation. Coffee or tea, consumed in moderation (two or less cups a day), make you urinate at the same rate that water does. So they all count as just a cup of liquid. Caffeine only has a diuretic effect if you consume large amounts of it - more than 500 mg a day (equivalent to 4 to 6 cups a day).
Careful With the Sugary Drinks: Every time you are out in the sun, the urge to reach for a chilled drink increases. Whether a fizzy drink, an orange juice or a lemonade, you want to grab it all. Water is better than any of these sweetened beverages as it is absorbed more readily and brings in instant hydration. And those extra calories really count if you are watching your weight.
Ice is Cool: You can add ice to your water or other drinks. It increases the amount of water you drink without increasing the volume. It dilutes sweetness, if present, and also increases your metabolic rate. Just make sure that you don't chew on ice as the hardness and cold temperature of ice cubes can actually cause teeth to fracture.
  1. All Water is Same: Which Water is Better? Natural mineral water, packaged drinking water, water with added minerals, vitamin enriched water, artificially sweetened water. There's water at every price, size and convenience you can imagine. Fret not, they all count as fluid and add on to the total water intake.
  1. Don't Wait Till You are Thirsty: Do not rely on your thirst mechanism to keep yourself hydrated. By the time you feel thirsty, you are already slightly dehydrated (one to two percent dehydrated, measured by a change in body weight). Once thirst sets in, hydrating yourself on an urgent basis is necessary. Don't wait for this to happen; keep sipping water once every hour to avoid any health complication.
  1. Water and Weight Loss: Water quickly moves through your body, so if you are drinking it to postpone hunger you will not be very successful. Try soups instead, they have the fluid to hydrate you and also have the fiber of vegetables to keep you from getting hungry too soon. However, water does have a role to play in weight loss but not as a filler. Drinking more water helps to increase your metabolism, says a preliminary study done by researchers at Germany. Researchers reported that after drinking 500 ml of water, the subjects' metabolic rates increased by 30 percent and stayed elevated for 30 to 40 minutes.
Whether you are beating the heat, trying to lose weight or just re-hydrating after a workout, water plays a very important role. So it helps to remember these simple rules of hydration.

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