Sean E. Heerey ND, MA, CCC/SLP

Our bodies need water! When you are really thirsty the beverage that tastes the best is water. Dehydration is a common condition that is easily overlooked as something that is contributing to disease and a lack of overall wellness.

Research has shown that proper hydration leads to increased athletic performance and overall improvements in mood. Water can be a great tool to help combat food cravings and weight gain. Frequently, we think we are hungry, when in fact we are actually thirsty. Try drinking a pint of water the next time you are hungry. Staying hydrated can suppress appetite and assist with weight loss.

Another study found that the majority of people who increased their consumption of water by 1 percent per day reduced their total daily caloric intake as well as their consumption of saturated fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol. Furthermore, those who increased their consumption of water by one, two or three cups daily decreased their total energy intake by 68 to 205 calories daily and their sodium intake by 78 to 235 milligrams. Additionally, they also consumed 5 grams to almost 18 grams less sugar daily.

If you think drinking diet-beverages is helpful, then please think again. The same researcher in a different study found that consumers of diet beverages may compensate for the absence of calories in their drinks by snacking on extra food that is laden with sugar, sodium, fat and cholesterol.
If you don’t like the taste of water then try this:

  • Squeeze fresh lime, lemon or orange juice. In addition to the fresh flavor there is a great citrus aroma.
  • Drink non-caffeinated herbal teas, hot or iced. There are many herbal tea blends on the market. Go for a blend that has teas and herbs as its main ingredients. Cold infusions are delicious too. A few tablespoons of hibiscus leaves (flor de Jamaica) in a large mason jar makes a tea that is deep red in color and tastes very refreshing.
  • Infuse your water with fruits, vegetables and herbs, e.g., mint and cucumber, thyme and lemon, basil and orange. Infuse water at room temperature for 2 hours. Refrigerate after that to prevent bacterial growth.

Remember, when you are severely dehydrated, make sure to add electrolytes to your water as water alone will not adequately rehydrate you. A pinch of salt or baking soda to water can help raise your electrolyte levels to healthy levels.