Tuesday, October 8, 2013

H2O’s the Word

Coffee and I have a love-hate relationship.
Coffee and I have a love-hate relationship.
Image: Shutterstock

I love coffee. I love the taste, the routine… the general feeling of peace as I sip my morning cup of Joe at the kitchen table, the dog leaning against me for warmth and love and the cat curled up on my lap. I love the warmth and the peace of the moments I associate with coffee.

Yet, sometimes I hate coffee--or at least what it does to me. On Starbucks day (my one budgeted coffee purchase day), I have to remind myself to eat because the caffeine and sugar sometimes make me forget. I have to remind myself to drink water because if I don’t, I’ll get to lunchtime feeling jittery and a little sick.

On normal days, I make a concerted effort to drink at least a few glasses of water while at work, but when I have a cup of steaming caramel macchiato or pumpkin spice latte, I tend to just drink that instead. But on other days, I guzzle my water like there’s no tomorrow.

Not everyone is as dedicated a water drinker, though. According to the CDC, only about 22% of Americans consume the recommended 8 cups of water per day or more. Forty-four percent of adults don’t even make it halfway, and about 7% don’t drink any water at all. Instead of hydrating our bodies with the most basic of necessities, we consume coffees, sodas, and juices galore—forgetting that our bodies need water to function correctly.

78% of Americans don't drink the recommended 8 cups of water per day.
78% of Americans don't drink the recommended
8 cups of water per day.
Image: Shutterstock
About a quarter of kids don’t drink plain water throughout their day. One quarter. And, according to the CDC, people who drink fewer than four cups of water per day are also less likely to be moderately physically active. Plus, low water intake was also associated with low fruit and vegetable intake—meaning a less balanced and healthy daily diet. 

Almost every system in our bodies relies on water to function properly. Water is responsible for carrying valuable nutrients to cells, helping to release toxins, lubricating our joints, regulating body temperature, keeping soft tissues moist, protecting vital organs, dissolving minerals, and much more.

So, as I sit here drinking my once-per-week Starbucks, I remind myself that it’s nothing but water for the rest of my workday. My body will thank me for it. Do the same, and yours will, too.