If You’re Living with Diabetes, are you Drinking Enough Water?
There are more than 34 million people living with diabetes in the United States. If you count yourself among them, you know that what you put into your body plays a big role in how well you manage your disease. Food and drink are key components of effectively controlling blood sugar, and one of the simplest and best choices you can make when it comes to diet and diabetes is to take advantage of the life source that every living organism depends on for survival - water.
Water and General Health
When you consider that 60% of our bodies are made up of water, it only makes sense that a lack of it could pose some health issues. The fact is drinking water is good for everyone – diabetes or not. Almost every process in your body relies on consuming a healthy amount of water. It helps lubricate the joints; aids in the elimination of waste through sweat, urination, and bowel movements; improves motor function; and keeps the body going strong without the risk of dehydration. According to a Harvard University Medical School Special Health Report, the benefits of drinking water include:
– Carrying nutrients and oxygen to your cells
– Flushing bacteria from your bladder
– Aiding digestion
– Preventing constipation
– Normalizing blood pressure
– Stabilizing my heartbeat
– Cushioning the joints
– Protecting organs and tissues
– Regulating body temperature
– maintaining electrolyte (sodium) balance
Suffice it to say, water does a lot more for our bodies than we might even realize, and for those of us living with diabetes, water has one additional superpower.
Water and Blood Sugar
When it comes to managing diabetes, drinking water is an extremely big advantage. It actually helps lower blood sugar levels by causing the body to flush excess glucose through urination. Additionally, drinking enough water can help you avoid going high in the first place by making sure you avoid dehydration.
Even mild dehydration, which is something you very likely would not feel, can elevate blood sugar levels 50 to 100mg/dL higher than they would be had you been drinking an adequate amount of water. What’s more, being consistently dehydrated, again, even if only mildly, might require you to up your insulin dosage to a level significantly beyond what you would need if you were giving your body the H2O it demanded. Severe dehydration can cause blood sugar levels to skyrocket to dangerously high levels very quickly. You might even find yourself in the emergency room with an IV of fluids in your arm to help drop that blood sugar.
Water and Weight Control
Water isn’t just one of the easiest and healthiest drink choices you can make, it also has the added value of having zero calories, zero sugar, and zero carbohydrates. This, of course, contributes to maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. But choosing water also helps many people control weight and shed those unwanted pounds. Excess weight is a major contributor to Type 2 diabetes and switching from those sugary sodas and syrupy fruit drinks to water can definitely cut down on weight gain and, along with other dietary and lifestyle choices, can contribute to weight loss.
Just look at these facts about making the wrong drink choices:
– One 12 ounce can of regular soda has roughly 150 calories and 40 grams of carbohydrates. That’s the same number of carbohydrates you’d get if you ate 10 teaspoons of sugar!
– A single cup of fruit punch has 100 calories (if not more) and contains 30 grams of carbohydrates.
Make these choices and you’re setting yourself up for a double dose of diabetes no-nos. First off, all those sugars and carbohydrates are going to elevate your blood sugar. Secondly, you’re giving your body a bunch of unnecessary calories that have little or no nutritional value and can certainly promote weight gain.
Tips on getting enough water
The Institute of Medicine recommends that men with diabetes should try to drink 13 cups of water each day, and women with diabetes should try to drink about 9 cups. These recommendations may seem like a lot, but they’re really not too difficult to accomplish. Here are some tips that can help.
- Get a reusable water bottle. Carry it around with you everywhere you go as both a reminder to drink more water and a gauge for exactly how many ounces you’ve consumed. Make it colorful, personalized part of your daily routine and you’ll find yourself drinking a lot more water.
- Get a reusable a straw. Believe it or not, when you drink using a straw you tend to take in more water than you would by just sipping. Use a straw and you’ll get to your daily target faster and easier.
- Set up reminders. You can use your smartphone alarm to remind you to drink a cup of water at various times each day. There are also free mobile apps out there designed to help you track water intake. Simply search your app store to find the one that’s right for you.
- Add water to other daily routines. Every time you eat a meal, after every blood sugar test, on your daily walk – the point is when you add water to other daily routines it gets a whole lot easier to meet your goals.
FYI, water doesn’t have to be boring.
There are times when nothing is more refreshing than a tall glass of cold water, like after you work out, first thing in the morning, or to cool off on hot summer day. Other times, however, you just crave something a little more flavorful than plain-old water. Not to worry, there are plenty of ways to add a little extra zest your hydration routine. Here are a few:
- Put the squeeze on. Slice a fresh lemon or lime and squeeze that tangy citrus in for a natural burst of flavor.
- Infuse it.You can use fresh berries, sliced fruit, lavender, mint, ginger, even vegetables like cucumbers are delicious. Simply fill a pitcher with water, toss in your favorite choices, and place the pitcher in your refrigerator for a few hours to let the ingredients infuse the water. Afterwards, you’ve got a deliciously refreshing drink.
- Go sparkling. You don’t have to flavor your water for a nice change of pace. Try sparkling water, seltzer, or club soda to switch things up. You’ll find many brands infused with fresh fruit flavors, or squeeze in a little lemon or lime yourself.
- Make iced tea. As long as it’s unsweetened, iced tea is a great alternative. You can go herbal if you want to avoid the caffeine, however, consuming a little caffeine should not cause you any problems.
We hope you found this post informative and helpful. At Diabeticteststrips.org, we’re committed to keeping you up to date with the latest news and tips on living with diabetes. We’re also committed to saving you up to 65% on doctor-recommended diabetic supplies from leading manufacturers, such as Accu-Chek, One Touch, FreeStyle, DexCom, Easy Comfort, Clever Choice, TRUEmetrix and many others.
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