Posts Tagged ‘bottled water’

What You Need To Know About Water

November 19, 2011

Did you know that water makes up about 65% of a person’s total body weight. After oxygen, there’s nothing more important to our survival than water.

Dehydration
The primary mechanism that we maintain our proper hydration is through thirst. Thirst serves two functions: 1) to regulate the volume of water within our bodies and 2) to control the concentration of various salts like sodium and potassium within the body. Fluid is lost through urination, skin loss by sweating, respiration, and a small amount in the feces, unless someone has diarrhea and then a significant water loss may occur. If there is a loss of water by any of the above routes or if the concentration of the salts in the blood stream increases, then the thirst mechanism kicks in, which is a strong drive to consume more fluids.

How much water to drink every day?
You have heard from early childhood that you need to drink eight, eight ounce glasses a day. This is probably a myth that is perpetuated many years ago from the Food and Nutrition Board, which estimated that the average total fluid loss each day was 64-80 ounces. The Board did not mention that 20% of our intake of fluid comes from food. Therefore, you don’t have to consume all of your total intake as water.

In addition to thirst, the color of your urine will serve as an indicator of your state of hydration. If you are dehydrated, your urine will be dark and yellow. This is a sign to increase your water consumption and the urine will turn to white or light yellow, which is sign of adequate hydration. If you are in a hot environment or participating in sports and are sweating, you will want to check the color of urine when you complete the workout or sports event. If the color of your urine is dark, you know you are dehydrated and you need to consume more fluids. Athletes can lose up to two quarts of fluid through sweat each hour. So whenever you are in warm or hot environment and you are losing lots of fluids by sweating, you must make an effort to consume more fluids.

What about sports drinks
A sports drink beverage is designed to help athletes rehydrate when fluids are depleted after training or competition. Ideally the sports drinks are intended to replace the electrolytes that is lost in sweat during exercise and sporting events. Sports drinks usually contain a lower electrolyte concentration than found in sweat and can actually worsen the dilution of electrolytes. It is far easier to drink water and a salty snack.

Caffeine-Culprit or Cure ?
There is a myth that drinks with caffeine are dehydrating. The truth is that caffeine serves as a weak diuretic and promotes an increase in urine output and the fluid intake will more than compensate for the diuretic effect of the caffeine. Like most things in life, anything in moderation is acceptable and this includes caffeine.

What about bottled water?
Millions of Americans are drinking bottled water. $22 billion is spent each year throughout the world on bottled water. Bottled water, although up to 1,000 times the price of tap water, may be no safer, or healthier than tap water. A gallon of bottled water is $3.84\gallon making it as expensive as gasoline. In addition to the expense, 1.5 million tons of plastic are used to bottle water and toxic chemicals can be released during the manufacture and disposal of the bottles. Studies have confirmed that microbes, pesticides, and solvents have been detected throughout groundwater supplies, and have subsequently found their way into bottles.

The Environmental Protection Agency checks the water that is consumed by the public. In the United States the quality of the water is very safe. If you live in an area and drink well water, you will want to have the water checked for contamination on a regular basis. A number of private water wells sampled in Louisiana showed potentially unsafe levels of arsenic, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and pesticides, as well as secondary contaminants in standard system tests for pH, hardness, alkalinity, dissolved solids and manganese.

Bottom Line: Water is truly the elixir of life. Avoid dehydration by checking out the color of your pee. For the most part, tap water tastes just as good as bottled water and is a whole lot cheaper. Drink up!

Kicking The Caffeine Habit

October 31, 2011

I have to admit I have an addiction to caffeine. About twice a year I will try to come off of this not so terrible habit of consuming one of the world’s most popular drugs. I’m happy to share with you a technique that works for me.
Nearly 90 percent of American adults drink coffee on a regular basis. More than 50 percent of adults, meanwhile, consume a little more than three cups of coffee a day.
But caffeine is a tricky stimulant to shake. Although tolerance levels vary, drinking just 100 milligrams per day — the amount of a small cup of brewed coffee — and then giving it up can lead to withdrawal symptoms ranging from headaches and depression to flulike nausea and muscle pain.
Caffeine might have some health benefits, but so far research is weak. Some kinds of migraine headaches cause blood vessels to widen which causes the severe pounding head pain. Caffeine temporarily causes them to narrow thus relieving the discomfort. Coffee might also help reduce your risk of Parkinson’s disease.
But coffee — like sugary breakfast foods — can create a cycle of extreme energy swings. The National Institutes of Health reports that caffeine raises blood pressure and increases feelings of stress, anxiety and road rage. It can leave you feeling wired 12 to 16 hours after the previous cup, wreaking havoc on sleep. And it can exacerbate health conditions such as diabetes by making blood sugar rise faster than usual.
To start weaning yourself off the dark, delicious brew, figure out how much caffeine you’re ingesting during the day, including soft drinks and energy drinks.
One strategy is to drink 8 ounces of water when you wake up. This seems to slow coffee consumption and also works if you have a morning diet or regular soda habit.
Some people can go cold turkey. Others need to gradually reduce.
If you’re a heavy coffee drinker — eight cups a day — gradual withdrawal can help prevent the dreaded headaches and fogginess. If you drink two cups, you might be able to bite the bullet and wrestle through a day or two of some slight withdrawal symptoms. If you do go cold turkey, it is best to do it on a weekend or on a vacation.
My approach, because I consume so much coffee, is to gradually reduce the amount of caffeine by drinking half regular and half decaffeinated and gradually increasing the amount of decaf.
You can also try tea — black or yerba mate — which has the richness of coffee without that much caffeine. Rooibos, from South Africa, is an herbal tea that has a rich body similar to black tea, without any caffeine. Green tea and white tea are also great choices.
Fruit juices might seem like a healthy option to coffee, but it’s better to avoid all sugar-sweetened beverages, whether it’s added or high in natural sugar.
The stomach doesn’t feel full, so the brain can’t know it, and you keep eating. Because they [sugary beverages] boost glycemic load, they inflame arteries, disable insulin and clog up the beta-cells in the pancreas, where insulin is made. They can also make the liver store fat. This is not a trade off you want to make.
I also find that consuming several bottles of sparkling water is also a nice substitute. The water is a nice thirst quencher and the sparkling water creates gas in your upper gastrointestinal tract giving you a feeling of satiety.

Bottom Line: It probably isn’t unhealthy to drink a few, one to two, cups of coffee or consume one or two caffeinated beverages a day. When you get to 8-10 cups or bottles a day, then there’s a good reason for finding an alternative. I hope these suggestions are helpful.