If you asked us what we do to stay fit and healthy, we’d gladly share our secret. We drink lots of water! And so do you…right? It’s easy to let this simple healthy habit go to the wayside. “Water does wonders for your digestion, your skin and for keeping your hunger under control,” says Colette Heimowitz, a nutritionist at Atkins Nutritonals. But it’s really easy to get dehydrated. You might think you’re drinking enough water over the course of a day but maybe you’re not. Being dehydrated can slow down your metabolism and increase belly fat.
Research found that people don’t start to feel thirsty until they lose 2% of their body weight in water. According to the Mayo Clinic, the adequate amount of water for woman is 11.5 cups daily. But the concept of 8 glasses of 8 ounces of water is easier to remember and a reasonable goal to set. Being dehydrated is an energy suck and for many people it spurs them to snack. Many times the feeling of dehydration is mistaken for hunger. The fat fighting benefits of water have an even greater initial effect on people who normally drink sugary, caloric beverages You’ll notice a difference in your body just by replacing fattening drinks with water.
Keep your water bottle filled and always available. Try quenching your afternoon hunger with some water and you might be satisfied without a snack. Still don’t like water? We’re not going to judge. But may we suggest a squeeze of lemon or lime, a slice of cucumber or sprig of mint to dress up your cup? Lemon is healthy, has zero calories and spurs your metabolism to get moving. It also has vitamin C to aid weight loss. A study found that people who have sufficient levels of vitamin C intake burned more fat than people who were C deficient.
Another metabolism buster is inflammation. “Chronic inflammation can negatively affect the hormones that regulate your hunger and metabolism,” says nutritionist Alex Caspero of Delish Knowledge. And we know how that ends: with weight gain and a bulging belly. Stay hydrated and reduce inflammation by adding a cinnamon stick to your water bottle. Researchers at the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute found that cinnamaldehyde, the compound that gives cinnamon its flavor and smell, caused cells to create more metabolism-boosting genes and enzymes, which caused them to burn instead of store extra fat.
You can even get water from foods. There is no food more upfront about itself than watermelon: it’s about 92% water. Eating it keeps you hydrated and studies show that eating foods high in water can help people feel more satisfied on fewer calories. Just one cup of the refreshing fruit is 51 calories. Make a watermelon mint detox juice. Combine fresh watermelon with mint leaves and lime juice. The mint leaves dissolve excess gas in your middle that could cause bloating. And lime has potassium plus vitamin C to shoo toxins and free radicals out of your body. The veggie version of watermelon is cucumber. It’s high in water, which helps your stomach feel full, and signals your brain not to binge on cookies. Think of munching on some cukes as another way of drinking a glass of H2O.