The Benefits of Drinking Water
Posted by Jillian Rieckmann
We all know we should be drinking water, but most of us are actually not getting adequate amounts of hydrating fluids and are living in a state of dehydration. Because our bodies are made up of 70% water, it is crucial that we are drinking at least our 8 glasses of water per day, however, I recommend drinking 3-4L/day, so our bodies can function at their maximum potential. Now of course, this goes for everyone, but when a woman is pregnant, nursing, as well as transitioning into menopause the need for more water increases further.
During pregnancy, the body needs extra water to support the functioning of the changing body. Being properly hydrated during pregnancy is known to help prevent and treat symptoms of headaches, nausea, heartburn, and cramps. As pregnancy progresses some women find themselves getting swollen in their extremities, which can become more severe edema if dehydrated. In this case, water helps to flush out excess sodium and interstitial fluids and actually reduces edema.
Many women experience hot flashes or are overheated during their pregnancies. Water helps to regulate body temperature, to keep the body cool as well it prevents dizziness. In the third trimester, dehydration is more common, because women don’t want to get up to have to go to the washroom throughout the night.
But by not drinking enough water in this stage of pregnancy it can lead to many problems such as calve cramping, more Braxton hicks contractions and in more severe cases contractions that can lead to pre term labour. In short, just ensure you are drinking your 3-4L of water a day, and judge by the colour of your urine. If it is medium-dark yellow, that’s a good sign that you need more water.
While nursing, a lot of your water intake goes straight into the milk that is getting produced to nourish your baby. Because water is such a key component in breast milk, drinking water increases lactation. Some women become extra thirsty while nursing, which means the body is already becoming dehydrated. In order to maintain energy and optimal body function, be sure to drink extra water.
During the transition into menopause, women’s bodies go through some forms of dehydration due to the fluctuating hormones at this stage. When the body is dehydrated, in any state, it can’t perform its normal functions properly. By drinking water nutrients and oxygen can be transported to all the cells of the body, allowing for better health in all areas.
Water will help to reduce the occurrence of hot flashes by helping to regulate body temperature, and will also ensure, that when hot flashes or night sweat DO occur, that you are well hydrated after the water loss you may have experienced. It will help to minimize the drying of skin, and allow for a more youthful, clear complexion. (I know we ALL want that).
It will help to reduce anxiety, headaches, and irritably as well. Water also helps to detoxify the body, which helps to prevent disease and cancers from occurring, especially in the bladder and colon. Water helps with digestion, which as we age can often become sluggish as well weight loss. It also helps to lubricate our joints, moisturize the air in our lungs, and helps our muscles function better, which means you can keep up with your regular exercise regime, reduce the rick of injury and see gains in your hard work quicker.
Menopause doesn’t have to be a time of discomfort. By taking control of your health by getting the proper nutrients, getting 7-8 hours of sleep, seeking acupuncture and Chinese medicine, as well as by drinking your water, your body will be better able to transition into menopause smoothly and comfortably.
Now that you know the plethora of positive results drinking water gives you, make it a habit to start drinking more water everyday. Add it in slowly and work your way up to 3-4 L/day. I like to fill up a 4L jug at the beginning of the day, and use that as my drinking water. This is a great tool to gauge how much you are actually getting in.
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