Growing up, I was a picky eater, but it didn’t drive my mother as crazy as my refusal to drink water. I simply didn’t see the point. It was tasteless and boring. Why would I drink water when I could drink Fanta or nothing at all? Like most things the fact that she went on about it meant I even wanted to drink less.
Well, I have since grown up and seen the error of my childish days. I have become my mother. When I am home I find myself telling my parents: “It’s harmattan, you need to drink more water and stay hydrated!” So how did this role reversal take place: I used to hate drinking water – I would drink soda, juice – anything but plain water. Then some time in college, I started to have these terrible headaches. I went to the doctor and I was told I was suffering from “dehydration”. Seriously? I paid money for the doctor to tell me the cause of my illness was not drinking water? Immediately, I decided to give up sugary drinks. For a month or so, I loaded up on water. The results were pretty astonishing.
My headaches reduced. Our bodies are about 60 percent water. So water is essential for our bodies to be in tip-top shape. Water transports oxygen to our cells, protecting out organs, joints and muscles. Water aids our metabolism, carries nutrients to our organs and tissues and keeps them moist. We lose tons of water breathing; sweating and urinating so when we don’t replenish water lost our bodies can’t be at their most effective, our tissues are dehydrated – hence my headaches.
My skin cleared up - I did not notice this at first, as my skin likes to act up. It will be clear and flawless for six months and then the rest of the year will suddenly start to break out, flare out and go crazy. Once, I was meeting my dad at the airport after not seeing for six months and his first words were not: hello, nice to see you my sweet daughter. They were: “what happened to your face?!” So yes, I was now poster girl for flawless skin. It was in the midst of one of those crazy zit face moments I went on my new found water journey. I did not change anything about my diet or skin care regimen but my skin improved drastically. I thank the mighty powers of H-2-0.
My energy levels went up and up. I am a big fan of caffeine for energy – I used to drink three cups minimum a day. But with the headaches – the caffeine had to go or at least be seriously reduced. I panicked. Being no fan of energy drinks I wondered how I would get through my days with less caffeine. My fears were unfounded. Somehow I had more energy. Our blood plasma is mostly made up of water. Not enough water and the blood volume decreases, reducing cardiac output so your poor heart has to work harder to deliver blood to the body. Blood plasma transports nutrients to our cells. Enough water ensures every part of the body receives oxygen, nutrients and blood sugar (read energy) for our bodies to properly function. Who knew? Less caffeine and more water equaled more energy.
Finally – erm, I have to say this: my urine went from yellow to clear – Not to get too biological but a strong odor to urine and/or a dark yellow colour is a good indication of dehydration. Yes, we all know what I am talking about. The body urinates about 17 oz of liquid a day to remove waste that form from daily metabolic activities. That is more that two regular glasses! Experts recommend 64 oz or about 8 glasses of fluid a day. Prior to my water diet you had to force me to finish one single glass of water a day. Now, it is always clean and clear after a trip to the bathroom, thank you very much. My housemates I might add were very pleased.
Medical research suggests a ton of other benefits to drinking water including reducing the chance of some kinds of cancer, kidney stones and improving our metabolism.
So the next time you are feeling a bit lethargic or feel a headache before you go see your doctor drink some water – you will feel better, wake up with radiant looking skin and you may even improve your relationship with your housemates! Seriously, before you reach for that bottle of coke – try some water instead – trust me, your body will thank you. I know mine did.
Photo Credit: frugivoremag.com
Tolu Ojo is in the field of public health, which she enjoys as a good excuse to travel and spend extended periods
vacationing working in remote places in Africa and Asia. When she isn’t disease busting – she likes to harp on all things health and fitness related.