Gulp, gulp, gulp…..Aaaah!
The familiar sound we have all come to know and love when guzzling down a cold glass of water.
But did you know that a cold glass of water can not only quench those thirsty urges, but can be essential in maintaining……………………..you guessed it, HEALTHY FEET!?!
The Mayo Clinic recommends drinking at least 9 glasses of water daily (or more if you workout). And while temperature regulation, oxygen production, and eliminating toxins are only a few of the many benefits “the white coats” claim keeps you healthy, it is probably safe to say that little to no attention is given to explain how these benefits can influence the function of your feet.
Here are 4 benefits to keep in mind the next time you’re turning up a cup of refreshing H2O.
Swelling (medically known as edema [eh-DEEM-ah]) of the feet can often be linked to a high sodium diet. According to the American Heart Association, a healthy daily intake of sodium should not exceed 1500mg per day. Sodium should be an essential component of our diets for maintaining water balance in our body’s cells to function properly. However, excessive intake gives our bodies the green light to retain more fluid than is necessary- hence the swelling. Feet becoming swollen usually is not painful in this case… however the retained fluid can cause the joints in the feet to become stiff, making walking quite a chore and at times painful. Sufficient water intake gives your body a helping hand in flushing out the heightened levels of sodium- and thus increased fluid- out of the body.
Achy feet and leg cramping can plague even the mightiest athlete. When your muscles are running low on fluids, they can become fatigued and result in a drop in performance level. To fight this, the American College of Sports Medicine suggests drinking 17 ounces of water (~2 cups) 2 hours before exercising. Continue to intake water before, during, and after exercise to replace fluids lost by sweating and for cooling down.
Arthritis, the flu, and even dehydration can contribute to joint pain. Adequate water in the body contributes to transporting blood and nutrients into the joints, while also removing debris/waste products from the joint. Gout- an inflammatory form of arthritis- is the result of excess uric acid that crystallizes and accumulates in the joints- notably that of the big toe and heel. Foods high in uric acid include alcohol and shellfish. Periodic joint pain (called gouty attacks) can result and can be worsened by low water intake.
The water we consume not only work wonders for what goes on inside our bodies but can serve as a force outside the body as well. Dry, weathered, and cracked skin can be warded off with sufficient water intake. Skin turgor refers to the level of elasticity of the skin.
A quick simple test can be done to assess skin turgor (above). Pinch the skin and hold for a few seconds. Skin going back to its normal position quickly indicates ample hydration. Skin remaining in a pinched position and returning to normal slowly indicates poor skin elasticity and dehydration. Poor skin elasticity opens the door to cracked heels and breaks in the skin giving rise to invasion of fungus and bacteria (hear that diabetics and athletes?). Glass of water?........I’ll take two!!
But while these 4 benefits serve as great reasons to drink water, it is worth noting that this is NOT an end-all approach to maintaining healthy feet. Proper shoes, preventative care, a well-rounded diet, frequent exercise, and an overall healthy lifestyle are what it takes to prevent your feet- and your entire body- from being a total wash.
Won’t you share your thoughts?
Putting your best FEET forward,