12 April 2016 Water – the other caffeine

Do you ever feel less alert and have a decreased ability to concentrate in the afternoon? When this happens, most people head toward the coffee machine; however, it could be that you are slightly dehydrated and just need a big glass of water. Water could be the other caffeine for you.

Our bodies consist of 70% water (give or take). Though it is often recommended that we drink eight, 8 ounce glasses of water each day (8x8 rule), there is not a lot of consistent research to support this. However, what we do know is that staying hydrated is important for many reasons, particularly for the brain.

Even slight dehydration can cause a decreased performance in

  1. Arithmetic ability
  2. Short term memory
  3. Mood
  4. Concentration
  5. Alertness

Consequently, if a 150-pound person, who was mildly dehydrated (1% of his/her body weight), drank 3 cups of water, he/she could easily improve mood and alertness in a calorie-free way.

What does this mean to you?

Drink a big glass of water before…

  1. Taking your math test
  2. Writing a performance evaluation
  3. Meeting your boss for your annual review
  4. Writing a business report or an English essay
  5. Making a big decision or driving a car

I have not been a water drinker; however, lately I have noticed what an energy boost drinking more water has been for me. Thus, try these three ways to improve your fluid intake. Don’t feel like you have to drink 8 glass of water a day to start with – just ease into it slowly.

1. Snack on juicy fruits and vegetables.

By increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables that contain a lot of water, not only will you be hydrated, you will also feel fuller on fewer calories.

Foods that have a high percentage of water are:

  • watermelon
  • tomatoes
  • grapes (freeze some for a delicious snack on a hot day)
  • oranges
  • cucumbers
  • strawberries
  • salad greens

2. Drink water as part of your routine – same time and same place

Morning

  • Even before your first cup of tea or coffee, drink a large glass of water.
  • I like to fill a large glass with water and mix with ¼ cup of orange juice at breakfast.
  • Bring a filled water bottle with you to drink throughout the day. One advantage is that you are less tempted at the drive through to buy a sweetened beverage.

Afternoon

  • Mark a water bottle with time-oriented goals. Some of my clients even mark on a large glass of water what time they should have completed drinking water to that point.
  • Put a 1-gallon bottle of water next to your computer so you can easily fill up your glass.
  • Place water bottles in a variety of places, such as in the car and by the exercise machine as a reminder to drink more.

Evening

  • Before each meal, drink a large glass of water. This not only helps you keep hydrated, it also may help you lose weight because you feel fuller and thus will eat less.
  • Make a pot, not just a cup, of herbal tea to drink as you unwind in the evening.

3. Enhance your water

  • Some studies have shown that the more you like your water bottle, the more you will use it. I have found that I drink a lot more if my water bottle has a straw in it.
  • Make your own fusion by adding fresh orange, lemon or lime slices. Add some mint leaves or a piece of cucumber to give you that spa feeling at home.
  • Drink really cold water with fruit ice cubes that you make by adding blueberries, raspberries or strawberries to the water in your ice cube tray.

Not drinking enough water can make a person feel tired and less energized. Try snacking on juicy fruits and vegetables, drinking water as part of your routine in the same place and at the same time and enhancing your water with fresh lime slices, and see what happens to your alertness, mood and concentration. Water truly is the other caffeine!

Martha Henze

MS, RD, Traveling Taste Buds, LLC

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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

Tags:

Alcohol & Other Beverages/Water Other Health Issues/Energy & Fatigue

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