The song “The Gambler” is crammed with valuable life lessons: Knowing when to hold ’em, knowing when to fold ’em, knowing when to walk away, knowing when to run…sing it with us! But there’s one essential tip it overlooks: When you’re sittin’ at the table — and not counting your money, of course — it’s also a good idea to chase every bourbon, scotch or beer with a tall glass of water.
Benefits of the water-booze-water routine
Helps with hangovers: Water helps your body process and eliminate alcohol, so removing it from your system ASAP with plenty of water will result in a milder, or even non-existent, hangover. So even if you lose at poker, you’ll win the next morning.
Defeats dehydration: A lack of water in your system isn’t considered to be the main cause of hangovers, but it does contribute to symptoms such as thirst, headache, fatigue and dry mouth. If that sounds a lot like a hangover, you get the point: Drink water during and after a few wobbly pops to stay properly hydrated (more on that in a bit).
Promotes weight loss: Drinking water fills up your stomach, which makes you feel less hungry. This will help you avoid those those unhealthy snacks on the poker table, as well as late-night junk food cravings. Know when to walk away…from the greasy poutine buffet.
Saves money: Studies have shown that drinking water reduces our intake of beer and sugary soda pop. As well as contributing to weight gain, beer and pop cost money. How many calories does water have? Zero. How much does water cost? Bingo!
Why water matters
When you consider that your body is about 60% water, it’s a no brainer that keeping hydrated is very important.
Not only does water give you a boost of energy, it helps your body maintain normal functions like blood circulation, food digestion, and joint lubrication. Staying hydrated also reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and even type 2 diabetes among adults. No wonder Dietitians Canada recommends that men aim for about 3 litres of water, or 6 large glasses, every day.
If you drink that amount of water, you’ll also be 54% less likely to suffer a fatal heart attack than a guy who drinks just two glasses, according to scientists at Loma Linda University.
That’s right: A small change like drinking more water could be a life-saver!
How to drink water throughout the day
When should you drink more water? Whenever you can! Here’s how:
Glass No. 1: When you get out of bed — even before your morning coffee!
Glass No. 2, 3 and 4: One with every meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Glass No. 5: Sip water throughout the day by having a glass, mug or bottle on your desk, in your car or truck, in your lunch bucket…you get the idea.
Glass No. 6: Finish with a final glass a few hours before bed. If that’s when the poker game wraps up or when you leave the bar, all the better!
How to jazz up your water
Just add bubbles: Buy inexpensive bottled soda water at the supermarket, or make it yourself with one of those money-saving home-carbonation machines.
Flavour shots: Squeeze lemon, lime or orange juice into still or fizzy water, or get creative by stirring in some fresh mint, cinnamon, sliced cucumber, strawberries or a few drops of maple syrup. Fizz + flavour = delicious!
Just add ice: Squirt your favorite flavour into your ice cube tray for a soda water booster that’s ready when you are. And if you’re craving a sweet drink, blend a few blueberries up and pour them straight into the ice tray for a healthy flavour kick.
Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two. His award-winning stories have appeared in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post newspapers, in magazines like Explore, Reader’s Digest, International Traveller and Canadian Family, and on websites including MSN, MSN Canada, and DontChangeMuch.ca. Visit Adam’s website for more details on his award winning work.