DR. WALLACE: A friend of mine said that during this time of the COVID-19 virus, we should all be sure to drink lots of water to help defend ourselves against the virus. Could this possibly be true? It seems too simple to be of any real value.
There are so many other things everyone is saying, like practicing social distancing and washing our hands carefully many times a day. It just seems preposterous that drinking a lot of water is going to do me any good. — Worried Teen, via email
WORRIED TEEN: Drinking eight glasses of water daily is one of the healthiest of habits. It not only suppresses excess appetite but also flushes impurities from your skin and keeps your digestive system healthy. And now, in these times, we gain an added benefit: Drinking enough water can help keep your immune system strong. And a strong immune system is more important these days than ever before. No, the water alone will not protect you from becoming infected, but it will absolutely keep your body's immune system strong.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention informs us that water helps your body with a number of functions, including regulating body temperature.
So, to answer your question directly, your friend is technically incorrect in that good personal hydration is a defense against catching this virus. However, it is an excellent way to boost your immune system. Therefore, I do suggest that each person drink the equivalent of eight 12-ounce glasses of water daily.
FAMILY DINNERS PRESENT CHALLENGES
DR. WALLACE: I'm not grossly overweight, but I could stand to lose a few pounds, for sure. My problem is that our family is large (seven people!), and we rarely put healthy, nourishing food on our dinner table. At school, I try hard to stay away from salty and fatty foods, but that's exactly what I'm given to eat at home! I don't want to upset my parents by complaining about our family's menu, but I don't want to keep gaining weight. I'm a 17-year-old girl, and I just want to look normal and feel healthy. Any suggestions? — Seeking Healthy Alternatives, via email
SEEKING HEALTHY ALTERNATIVES: I agree with you that you should be able to come up with a way to eat regular, healthy meals at your home with your family. Is it possible your mother would allow you to go with her the next time she goes grocery shopping? If so, you could pick out some extra healthy vegetables and fruits, plus a few sources of lean protein.
Then, when it comes time for your family to prepare dinner, you can volunteer to help and ensure that your selected foods are prepared in a nutritious, low-calorie style. If your family likes to smother veggies with sauces, for example, you can prepare the sauce separately so that each individual can add as little or as much as he or she prefers.
Over time, if you are able to take this type of active role, you may find that a family member or two might start following your lead!
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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