Not enough can be said about the wonderful properties of water! Drinking water is healthy for your entire system, and helps you keep the quit! The human body is up to 70% water, and yet many people do not drink enough of it throughout the day. The American lifestyle itself can be dehydrating given our frequent consumption of caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, sodas and high sodium meals. Mild dehydration can cause water retention, bloat, constipation and other symptoms including:
• Dry skin
• Lack of energy
• Dry mouth
Are you drinking enough water? Moderate to severe dehydration can be dangerous; even fatal. Drinking enough water can help your body in many ways. The ‘8 glasses per day’ conventional wisdom is not carved in stone (or substantiated by research) so how much water you need to drink per day varies. The more you sweat or exercise, the more water you need to replace. If you consume dehydrating foods and beverages, you will need to drink more. Fruits, vegetables, tea, soup and other diet choices contain water, so you can allow for some of the water content in your diet to count towards your overall daily water intake. Try aiming for 6 glasses a day to help get your water drinking habit moving forward. This can easily be accomplished by substituting a glass of water for every soda, sugar laden juice or junk food snack you would normally reach for. Water actually makes you want to drink more, so after a few days of drinking 6 glasses per day, you will actually feel thirsty. It is that easy!
Here are a few of the many benefits of drinking enough water per day:
• Helps you KTQ! Water is great for ‘hand to mouth’ triggers, reduces physical cravings, distracts from smoking urges and takes up empty time previous spent smoking.
• Helps clear toxins. Your kidneys use water to help break down, process and clear toxins from your system.
• Aids your digestive system. Your intestines use water to keep things moving smoothly! If you don’t drink enough water, your colon pulls water to maintain hydration and constipation is a likely result.
• Helps your blood and bones. Water is used by your body to make healthy new bone and muscle cells.
• Prevents puffiness. Water has a diuretic affect in your body. Inother words, drinking lots of water will increase the excretion of water from your body. Your body holds water to preserve it. If you drink enough water, you will not retain water (unless you have a medical condition).
• Helps your metabolism. Water contributes to weight loss by stimulating your metabolism, killing hunger pangs and filling you up.
• Helps your comfort level. Water is involved in balancing your body temperature.
• Saves your joints. Water lubricates your joints and may reduce pain.
• Gives your face a healthy glow. Water improves your skin through internal hydration.
• Saves You. Water may help prevent a heart attack! Drinking a glass of water before bed or a hot bath/shower may reduce your chance of a heart attack.
• Saves money. Water is cheaper than other beverages (or free).
• Improves your smile. Water has a slight alkalizing affect which helps reduce acidity and is good for your teeth and overall mouth health.
Drinking enough water is very good for all of you! You can add lemon, lime or a splash of juice to add flavor. Try ice, a straw and your favorite glass to make drinking water a pleasant part of your day. Next week we will talk about ways to kill your cravings with certain foods.
Drink up, and KTQ!
Vikki CTTS-M Master Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist
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Many people put a lot of time and care into maintaining the largest organ in the body--our skin. We wear protective clothing to shield our skin from the sun’s harmful UVA/UVB rays. We lather our skin with sunscreen when we do go out. And we spend money on lotions, creams, cleansers, and other beauty products designed to keep our skin healthy, radiant and youthful. But one of the best things you can do for your skin is quit smoking.
Most people are aware of the risk smoking poses to the heart and lungs. But smoking is also one of your skin’s biggest enemies. Even if you don’t smoke, exposure to secondhand smoke can be damaging because the chemicals can act as a skin irritant and have a drying effect. There are over 4,000 chemicals in second hand smoke! These chemicals wreak havoc both inside and outside your body. Smoking is damaging to your skin's health because it:
- decreases blood flow to the skin which robs your skin of oxygen and vital nutrients;
- decreases the production of elastin and collagen; both are important in keeping skin soft and supple;
- deprives your skin of certain vital nutrients and minerals including vitamins A, C, and E;
- delays wound healing and increases risk for scarring.
All of these things can contribute to wrinkling (earlier, deeper and more numerous wrinkles), dull skin, loss of skin elasticity and suppleness, and premature aging. Smoking doesn't just add years to the face; it can also affect other areas on the body, including the neck and arms. The skin in these areas can become more loose and saggy. On top of this, smoking is a risk factor for skin conditions such as psoriasis (a chronic skin condition characterized by itchy, dry, red, flaky skin), adult acne (aka atypical post-adolescent acne), and squamous cell skin cancer.
The good news? While not all damage to the skin from smoking is reversible, it can be slowed down. Within weeks of quitting smoking you should notice an improvement in skin coloring and texture. Many people also notice their gums getting more pink and healthier, and the stains on fingers and fingernails fading. So with all of these improvements in skin, why do ex-smokers sometimes get acne? While not completely understood, "quit zits," may be part of the body's detox process (clogging of skin's pores due to increased sebum production, hormonal changes, etc.). Luckily, they are temporary, albeit annoying.
What else can you do to take care of your skin besides quitting smoking?
- Wear protective clothing when spending time outside.
- Wear sunscreen with at least SPF 15 (and reapply often).
- Clean your skin twice daily with a gentle cleanser (or just water) to help remove dirt and make-up.
- Wash/rinse your face with water after exercise, paying special attention to the hairline if you wear caps, helmets or other headgear.
- Avoid using harsh chemicals on your skin which may cause irritation or outbreaks.
- Drink plenty of water which helps moisturize skin and replenish cells and tissues.
- Eat a healthy diet. Fruits and veggies are filled with vitamins and minerals your skin needs to repair and maintain healthy functioning.
- Talk to your doctor first about over-the-counter or prescription medications for acne and other skin conditions.
Quitting smoking is an important step in improving your health, including your skin health! Healthier skin not only makes you look better, but feel better. By making a few small changes, you will find that healthier, more beautiful skin is within touching distance!