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Drink to Your Health: The Wonders of Water

One of the simplest yet most effective health and beauty tips you may hear all year can be summed up in three words: drink more water.

That's right. Drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day can play a critical role in helping you battle the bulge, turn back the clock, boost your energy level and fight off a host of ailments. And that's just the beginning.

"Water is our most important - and possibly our most under-rated - nutrient," explained Bob Greene, fitness expert and co-author with Oprah Winfrey of the bestseller Make the Connection. "It's needed or involved in virtually all bodily functions and has a tremendous impact on fitness, weight loss and overall health. If you're looking for one quick and easy step to improved health and fitness - start drinking more water."

Turn on the Tap

Downing your daily dose of H20 doesn't require shelling out extra money on bottled water, Greene noted. "Your drinking water doesn't have to come from a bottle to be healthy. Water from your tap costs less and is more convenient. But if you find yourself drinking less tap water because of taste or safety concerns, keep in mind there are home water treatment options available to solve most home water problems - or to simply make your tap water taste better," he said. In fact, from carbon-based pitchers that can filter out chlorine and lead to reverse osmosis systems that reduce a range of contaminants, you can have high quality home tap water for a fraction of the cost of bottled water.

How Water Works Wonders

If you're drinking plenty of clean clear water you're in for a significant health boost, according to researchers who are increasingly discovering new health benefits of adequate water consumption.

Health and fitness experts, including Greene, note that many benefits of water include:

Better Digestion and Metabolism:

Drinking enough water ensures the both digestion and metabolism are working at their full capacity. In fact, new research from the University of Utah suggests that being dehydrated can actually slow down metabolism.

Improve Workouts & Boosted Endurance:

You can exercise more effectively and at higher levels when you are getting enough water. Additionally, water can boost endurance. That's because water promotes the storage of glycogen, a form of carbohydrate stored in your muscles and used energy when you exercise.

Holding Off Hunger:

Hunger is sometimes just thirst in disguise. When you are dehydrated, your body may signal you to eat when what it really needs is water. You can also take advantage of waters filling effect to help prevent you from overeating.

Reducing the Risk of Certain Diseases:

Researches now believe that fluids - particularly water - can play an active role in reducing some diseases including kidney stones, urinary tract cancer, bladder cancer and possibly even colon cancer. Drinking enough water can help you avoid constipation.

A Weapon Against the Common Cold:

Antibodies in the mucus that coats your throat help trap cold viruses. This defense can be weakened if you are minimally dehydrated because a lack of water dries out your mucus-producing tissues. Additionally, many health professionals recommend water as an effective expectorant to relieve a cough.

The Ultimate Facial Moisturizer:

Drinking plenty of water helps your skin stay supple and plumped up - lessening the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles on the face.

Fending Off Travel Fatigue:

The dry air on a plane can dehydrate you - leading to a feeling of fatigue during and after a flight. Try drinking an extra glass of water before the flight and a glass every hour you're in the air.

Fighting Migraines:

Research suggests that dehydration can contribute to migraine headaches - so drinking enough water is especially important if you're prone to migraines.

How Much Is Enough?

Now that you know more about the wonders of water, just how much is enough? Many health and fitness experts, including Greene, recommend drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Experts at the Mayo clinic have recently suggested another means of determining how much water you should consume daily. They recommend dividing your weight in half and using this number in ounces as a target for your daily intake. (For example, a 140-lb. Woman should drink about 70 ounces of water a day.)

The Water Quality Association is an international trade association representing retailers, dealers, manufactures and suppliers in the household, commercial, industrial and small system water treatment industry.

Source: Water Quality Association, Fact Sheet, "An Overview of Common Water Quality Problems", 2000.

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