Ah, water … the almighty H20. You sexy thing, you. Such a simple, naturally-occurring substance - and yet so beneficial to our health in so many amazing ways! It protects our organs and helps them to absorb nutrients more efficiently. It transports oxygen into the cells and organs of our bodies and protects and moisturizes our joints. It increases our metabolisms, regulates our body’s temperature and even moisturizes the air in our lungs!

So, how much water should you be drinking?

According to the Canada Food Guide, eight cups of water a day is still the magic number in order to maintain your current weight. This suggestion is based on a 2,000-calorie/day diet. If you are looking to lose weight, then it is suggested to aim for one ounce of water a day for every two pounds of weight. So, if you currently weigh 130 pounds, for example, then you should be drinking 65 ounces of water (which works out to just over 8 cups).

If you’re pregnant, it is suggested that you still drink eight cups of water a day, plus an extra cup of water for every hour of light activity. Keep in mind that liquids such as milk, juice and decaffeinated drinks all count towards your daily fluid intake. Keeping yourself hydrated is particularly important while pregnant, as water plays a major role in your baby’s development. Water is what carries nutrients through your blood to your growing baby. It also helps prevent dehydration, which is especially important to avoid during your last trimester, as dehydration can lead to contractions and cause you to go into premature labour. Not good!

As a quick review, dehydration occurs when the amount of water leaving the body outweighs the amount going in. Symptoms associated with dehydration include tiredness, dry skin, irregular blood pressure, constipation, migraines and kidney problems.

Listen to your body.

The body’s initial response to dehydration is thirst, but watch out for further signs of dehydration including lightheadedness, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, decreased urine output, muscle cramps and heart palpitations. Dehydration can lead to serious health issues in severe cases, such as heat-related illnesses and electrolyte abnormalities. If untreated, dehydration can also lead to kidney failure. When the loss of fluid overwhelms the body’s ability to compensate, this can cause the body to go into shock. In the most severe of cases, the body begins to fail entirely and can result in severe confusion, a comatose state and sometimes death.

Sure, most people are aware that water can help you lose weight as it increases your metabolism, acts as a hunger suppressant and helps to break down fats in the body. But did you know that water works as a natural remedy for headaches and back pain? There are many contributing factors to headaches and back pain, but dehydration can often be the main culprit.

So, do want to be more productive at work? Optimize you daily workout? Reduce your risk of cancer? Feel more energized? The answer: Drink more water!

Your brain is mainly comprised of - you guessed it - water. So it should come as no surprise when you start feeling more alert, are thinking more clearly and are able to concentrate more efficiently on your daily tasks when you drink more water. Water regulates your body temperature and gives you more energy. It also helps fuel muscle. Drinking more water helps with digestion and relieves constipation. Some studies have suggested that drinking a healthy amount of water may reduce the risks of colon and bladder cancer, as water can help to dilute cancer-causing agents in urine. Drinking healthy amounts of water helps to flush out harmful toxins and unneeded waste from the body. It helps maintain a healthy immune system and can help keep the flu and other ailments like kidney stones at bay.

Water is amazing, so drink up! Take care of your body and it will take care of you.

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