Drink to your health

Drink to Your Health

I spend a great deal of time considering what food to eat, especially since RA has brought along the fun side effect of added weight thanks to the medications I take, etc.  In fact, I think I spend so much time on that, that what I put in my body from a liquid standpoint takes a bit of a back seat.  It should not!

The importance of water

The fact is, what we drink is as important, some experts say more so, as what we eat. Over the years I have come to learn that the single best item to drink is WATER.  Because water is used to regulate our bodies temperature, and is used in all organs, cells and tissues to ensure positive bodily functions like circulation and the transportation of nutrients, it is crucial we continually hydrate.  We lose water through sweat, breathing and digestion so drinking water must be a part of everyone’s daily habits.  The reasons are many and for those of us with chronic disease, this is one area we can manage successfully and with only good results!

In addition, drinking water versus high calorie drinks is, in itself, a weight control strategy!  I love that fact.  Switching from sugary sodas, fruit juices, sweet cocktails, etc. to water can lower you daily caloric intake significantly.

Muscle fatigue is a big issue for me with RA.  Water helps to detoxify and maintain the correct fluid balance in our bodies.  This is also important as we exercise.  Electrolytes are diminished when we exercise, and water helps to provide that balance that is key to muscle health.

Water helps to diminish the appearance of wrinkles in our skin. Dehydration makes our skin look wrinkled and dry which is not a good look for anyone.

Water helps our kidneys to do their job.  Kidneys rid our bodies of toxins and are the chief “cleaning agents” for our organs.  For many of us who take a myriad of medications for RA, keeping our kidneys healthy is an absolutely essential part of managing our disease.  The medications we take, in general, often come with the direction to “drink with an 8 oz. glass of water” and that is for a reason.  Water helps to move the medication through our system, increasing its efficiency and effectiveness.

Water helps to achieve normal bowl functions.  Constipation can be a by-product of dehydration.

Don’t forget to hydrate!

All of this said, it is easy to get busy and forget to hydrate, especially as we get older.  Older adults lose the sense of thirst and so it becomes crucial to consciously remember to hydrate throughout the day.

So here are some suggestions to get you drinking more often:

Keep a bottle of water near you at all times.  I have one in every room in my house.  I have one in the cup holder in my car, and at my desk at work.  They are constant reminders to drink.  Just by having them nearby it reminds me to drink.

Have something to drink with every meal or snack.  It need not be water but should be something you enjoy yet does not add empty calories.  I love iced tea and iced coffee, both of which have lots of water in them, so I partake of those as well.  I try to drink decaf most of the day and I do not use sugar in either one.

It turns out eating lots of fruits and vegetables is good for hydration as they have very high water content in them.  In addition, about 20% of our fluid intake comes from food high in water content.  So, the circle of needing to stay hydrated comes back around to include the food we eat! Who knew?

As you start your day tomorrow, pledge that you will make sure you get sufficient water. You might want to journal it for a while, to see how well you are doing.  You won’t be sorry.

Nan

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