H2O, that is… We’ve been battling a heat wave here in Southern California the last few weeks. Temps over 90 during the month of September just isn’t normal for us, and it doesn’t quite feel like fall when I’m ordering a pumpkin spice latte in a belly shirt, cut-off shorts and flip-flops.

Heat waves are ruthless. Water makes up approximately 60% of our bodies and our bodies shed water every day through sweat and bowel movements. When we don’t replenish regularly, the lack of water can lead to dehydration which impairs our body’s ability to carry out its normal functions. Even a mild case of dehydration can lead to the impairment of our organs. That’s why it’s especially important to stay hydrated during particularly hot days — even if you’re indoors and under a protective layer of air conditioning. (Stay tuned tomorrow for tips on how to beat the heat.)

Below are some reasons why water is my favorite drink, and why it should be yours too.

Fatigue Fighter/Energy Enhancer – when your body lacks water, every organ has to work harder to perform their functions. This is why people that are dehydrated tend to feel fatigued. The brain is no exception. Research has shown that dehydration can directly affect brain function and moods. People are able to concentrate more, focus better, and are more alert when they’re well-hydrated. So be smart and drink up!

Natural Weight Loss Tool – water can be an appetite suppressant. Drink water throughout the day, and it’ll help you feel full so you’re less likely to snack. Also, drinking water before a meal fills up your stomach so you eat less at mealtime. Lastly, as water raises your body’s metabolism, it helps your body burn through more fat. The fact that it has zero calories is of course a huge plus!

Radiant Skin – water improves blood flow, which helps your body generate healthier skin. The hydration power of water replenishes skin tissues which in turn moisturize the skin, resulting in firmer, younger-looking skin. Water can also wash away certain toxins that cause skin inflammations – so drink away and help yourself gain youthful-looking skin (minus the adolescent acne).

Detoxifier – aside from hydration, water is also known to be a detoxifier. The more water you drink, the more “ammo” your body has to flush out all the toxins from your body. If your body doesn’t receive adequate amounts of water, especially during a heat wave, it could lead to organ shut-down.

Promotes Digestion – water literally helps move things along in the digestive department. Without sufficient amounts of water, your metabolism slows down, hindering the body’s ability to break down food properly, and as a result, you get constipation. So be sure to drink your share of water if you want a healthy digestive system and regular bowel movements.

Kind to Kidneys – our kidneys are always busy processing blood – separating waste from our bloodstream and helping divert the waste to the appropriate channels. In order for kidneys to function properly, water is essential. Water also helps reduce the risk of kidney stones by diluting the salts and minerals found in urine that cause kidney stones.

Hangover Helper – that pounding headache is usually a result of dehydration. Drink as much water as you can to help your body replenish all the fluids you lost after a night of good times. To prevent hangovers, drink a glass of water between each drink you consume. It helps to balance hydration and dehydration throughout the night so you won’t wake up hurting as much the next morning.

Combats Bad Breath – ever noticed how your mouth tends to generate a slight foul odor when it’s really dry? Water not only moistens your mouth, it also washes away residual food particles and oral bacteria that cause bad breath.

And for you breastfeeding moms, water is the key to your supply!

It’s extremely easy to gauge if you’ve had enough water. Just check the color of your urine. The lighter the color, the better hydrated you are. If your urine is dark, then your body needs more water!

If flat water sounds dull, try carbonated – add a few ice cubes and a couple of lemon slices to spruce it up. If you want to get fancy, slice some fruit into a large mason jar and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. You’ll have yummy fruit-infused water the next day. I’ve found that apples, lemons, limes, and pineapples work well in infusions. If you’re not a fruity person, try cucumbers for a great refresher, or even some herbs like mint or rosemary. Get creative!

So let’s raise our glasses, water bottles, and tumblers and toast to good health! Cheers!

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