Next to clean air, the most important thing you can put into your body is good, clean water. Lots of it! My own preference is Distilled. Here's why:
Your body can tell the difference between pure water, and "solutions". When you drink water, it gets absorbed through the lining of the small intestine, and becomes part of you. When you drink a "solution", it has to be digested first. Here's the funny part...your body has to use more water to digest that "solution", than was in the "solution" in the first place! So that soda, or iced tea, or whatever else you decide to swallow to "quench your thirst", is actually dehydrating you more than you were before you drank it. And if you repeat this process throughout your day, you're going to suffer because the water has to come from somewhere.
Don't believe me?
Are you having trouble concentrating? Well, your BRAIN is 3/4 water...better take a drink!
Breathing a little heavier these days? Well, your LUNGS are almost 90% water...better take a drink!
Don't have the strength to do a push-up? Well, your MUSCLES are 3/4 water, and if you dehydrate a muscle by only 3%, you can expect to loose about 10% contractile strength and about 8% speed! This might not mean that much to the average person, but if you're an athlete or coach, it should scare the hell out of you. How 'bout that drink?
Your BLOOD is over 80% water. If you walk around dehydrated all the time, your blood will actually get more concentrated(thicker, if you want to think of it that way), because a 5% loss of body water equals about a 10% loss of water from the blood. Think of your blood as being like soup, or stew. The more you dehydrate, the more your blood turns into "stew", it's added thickness makes it harder to do its job, which is to deliver oxygen to all parts of your body and remove the waste products. How do you think your poor heart feels, having to pump "stew" through your veins?
Water makes up 70-75% of your TOTAL body weight. Heck, even your BONES are 1/4 water. It is involved in EVERY bodily function known to man. EVERY ONE! A 10% reduction of body water will make you sick. A 20% reduction will make you DEAD!
Can drinking water help me lose weight?
Can you say Lipolysis? Not liposuction...Lipolysis! That's what scientists say instead of saying "fat breakdown". YES, drinking water can help you lose fat. Also, when you stay hydrated, your metabolism speeds up. A faster metabolism = more calories burned. Hydration is also a great hunger suppressor. See, as smart as your brain is, it can't tell the difference between a hunger pang, and thirst. Whether you're hungry or thirsty, you just feel a pang. And what's the first thing the average person does when they feel this pang? You got it...they head for the nearest drive through window and tell the guy to "super size me", wash that down with a diet soda, and all is well. The only problem is, all their body was trying to tell them was "I'm thirsty, dammit". So drink more water, and you'll get fewer pangs, if you get any at all. Fewer pangs means you'll be less likely to stuff your face.
I don't drink water because I retain it.
ARGHHH!!! When someone tells me this, I want to scream. If you're retaining water, you actually need to drink MORE water, not less! If you stop drinking water because you're retaining, your body will see this as a threat, and will kick into "survival" mode by trying to save every single drop. You need to drink more water in order to get your body to release the excess.
Why do you drink distilled water? There are no minerals in it.
Like I said earlier, the purer the water the better. I drink distilled because it has the least sedimentation of any water. Bottled water has anywhere from 300-500ppm(parts per million) of different things(which usually aren't good for you to begin with) floating around. Distilled water has less than 15ppm. Which do you think would get absorbed through the intestinal wall quicker? One of my recent conversations went something like this: "You drink distilled water? You're crazy, I put that in my machinery". So I asked "why?". "leaves behind less gunk" he said. "EXACTLY", I said.
Don't get me wrong, ANY water, even tap(which is horrible to drink) is better than drinking sodas all day long. It's just that distilled is the best. You shouldn't rely on water as your source for minerals. You're in sad shape if you do. You should use water for what it is...the main ingredient in your body.
Ok, ok, so how much of this stuff should I drink?
Divide your weight by 2. That's at least how many ounces you should be drinking in a day.
Now that will change with the weather. Hotter days, or heavy training days, you may need more. Either way, whatever that number is, it's a good place to start. I weigh 180lbs, but I routinely put away a minimum of 2 gallons of distilled water every day.
Are there any "Down-Sides" to being properly hydrated?
5/27/00, I was driving home on Interstate 81. I was about 15 miles from the house, and it hit me...I had to piss...BAD! I thought about pulling over to relieve myself, but I was afraid I'd get arrested or something. So, I kept on going, About 5 miles from home, I started to sweat, and was ready to pull over again, but kept on going. The entire time, my speed must have been increasing in proportion to my sweat. About 1 mile from home, I spotted a dust cloud up ahead to my left. It was the Pennsylvania State Police, and I was at the head of the pack...nabbed! I almost pissed myself on spot. After the officer informed me that I was traveling "well over the speed limit", I said that I understood I was speeding, and explained my situation to him. Rather than shooting me to put me out of my misery, he graciously allowed me to "step into the woods". After taking my info, he told me "go ahead, just be careful getting out of the car". If someone had a stop-watch, that sprint to the woods would have been a world record, I almost lost it on the way. I wonder what the people driving by were thinking when they seen me in full stride, running away from the car. I took my time with that one, I knew it was gonna' cost me big-time. I walked back with a huge smile on my face, signed the citation that would cost me $143 and 4 points, and went merrily on my way.
So YES, there is one bad thing about being properly hydrated.