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Water Wisdom

As the heat rises and your activity level increases, water becomes an even more
important element of your family’s nutritional health. Water helps us digest and
absorb food, regulates body temperature, removes toxins and waste from our
bodies, helps to circulate blood, protects tissues, organs, and joints, and carries
both oxygen and nutrients to our cells. Water is also an important weight loss tool.
It has no calories, helps metabolize stored fat and provides a feeling of being full,
making it an effective appetite suppressant and often-overlooked health elixir in
today’s soda and sugary soft drink world. So how do you encourage yourself and
your family to drink enough of the clear stuff? We’ve got smart ways to get everyone
past the “it’s boring” excuse.

You may be dehydrated
The common misconception is that dehydration is rare – and that’s true of acute
cases where people are left without any water for several days. But low-grade
dehydration is more widespread than you may think, and can lead to digestive
disorders, irregularity, respiratory problems, dry skin and poor kidney and joint
health. In addition, a lack of water in the body worsens many common ailments,
including headaches, allergies and post-workout soreness.

How much is enough?
Your body is up to 60% water – and it needs to be replenished throughout the day.
Follow any of these rules of thumb on how much water to drink daily:
• Drink one 8-ounce glass of pure water every hour you are awake.
• Divide your weight by 2 and drink that number of ounces of water each day.
• Your urine should be a very light shade of yellow. Drink more if it’s dark.

Practical ideas
• Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator. Alternate adding the following to the
pitcher each time you refill it:
  o Fresh mint leaves
  o Sliced strawberries
  o Lemon, lime, grapefruit and orange slices
• Mix herbal teas into your rotation:
  o Try green tea, yerba mate, chamomile and other teas and find a flavor
     the whole family loves.
  o Use tea bags sparingly for a light flavor. This will reduce or eliminate
     any need for sweeteners. If you want a sweeter flavor, add in sliced
• Count clear, low-fat/low sodium broths in your daily water intake.
• Eat foods rich in water content like watermelon, tomatoes, leafy greens,
  cucumbers and squash.
• Buy a water bottle for each family member that contains the volume of water they
  need each day. Encourage everyone to pour from their bottle throughout the day.
  Don’t forget to add fruit slices or mint to increase the enjoyment factor.

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