Increase your water intake for good digestive health & weight loss

Aug 02, 2022

Increasing your water intake is a simple and easy way to have a fun and safe summer. There are many health benefits including an improvement in your digestive health.

Increasing your water intake is a simple and easy way to have a fun and safe summer. There are many health benefits including an improvement in your digestive health. Water is a key component of digestion and ensures the proper absorption of nutrients. Water also keeps food moving through the intestines. If you don’t have enough water in your body, water is reabsorbed from the colon….leading to hard stools and constipation. Drinking water may also help with weight loss.

How do I know how much water to drink?

We lose water during the day just by breathing, sweating and digesting. You must replace the water lost or you will become dehydrated. You may be wondering how much water you need? There is no one answer because the amount of water varies from person to person.

There are many variables that affect daily water requirements including personal differences such as metabolism, physical activity, and medications as well as environmental conditions such as climate. Men usually need more water than women. Pregnant or nursing mothers will also need more water.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have calculated the fluid requirements for an average healthy adult living in a temperate climate: Women:91 ounces (or just over 11 cups) Men: 125 ounces (or just over 15 cups)

Here’s a bit of good news if you are not a big fan of drinking water: not all of the fluid requirements come from water and other fluids. About 20 percent of our daily fluid intake usually comes from food.

Do caffeine drinks and alcohol count as water?

Water is the best way to stay hydrated. Caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea, sodas) can contribute to your daily fluid requirement as long as these drinks are not consumed in excess. A study that was done in the UK compared to water and caffeine intake and found no evidence of dehydration with moderate caffeine intake. However, keep in mind that caffeinated beverages can cause acid reflux and insomnia.

On another hand, alcohol does not contribute to your daily requirement. You should avoid or try to limit alcohol consumption. Alcohol is a diuretic, which gets rid of water from your body and can lead to dehydration.

When is the best time to drink water?

It is best to drink water throughout the day. Start by drinking a cup when you wake up. Be sure to include water at mealtime. Drinking water during or after a meal can help with digestion. It does not dilute the digestive juices or interfere with digestion. Water and other liquids help break down food so that your body can absorb the nutrients. However, if you drink too much water during the meal, it can make you feel too full and prevent you from finishing the meal or may lead to acid reflux.

Tips for staying hydrated

Don’t let thirst be your guide. If you get thirsty, then your body is already dehydrated! Here are some suggestions to help you stay hydrated:

  1. Remember to drink extra water when exercising and/or when you are outside during warmer weather.
  2. For variety, add lemon, lime, honey or flavor packets to your glass of water.
  3. Eat hydrating foods – A quick internet search will give you many “water rich” foods to eat. Good choices include these fruits and vegetables:

    - Watermelon

    - Strawberries

    - Cantaloupe

    - Celery

    - Bell peppers

    - Cucumbers

    - Tomatoes

    - Spinach

    - Broccoli

    - Cauliflower

  4. For variety, supplement water with these fluid choices:

    - Fruit and vegetable juices (juices have a higher sugar content than water)

    - Clear soups

    - Herbal teas

How does water help with weight loss?

Many people find that proper hydration can also result in weight loss. Here’s why:

  • Staying hydrated may boost your metabolism.
  • Water helps you feel full and may decrease your appetite and calorie intake.
  • Sometimes it is hard for your body to tell the difference between being hungry and being thirsty. Drinking water instead of snacking often satisfies your hunger.

The providers at Richmond Gastroenterology treat all types of digestive conditions. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

Disclaimer: This blog article is intended to be informative and is not medical advice.