Parisian Women’s Secret Ingredient to Glowing Skin

What do Kerry Washington and Parisian women have in common? We take a closer look at their secret ingredient to glowing skin.

A Reflection on Parisian Beauty and Wellness

When visiting Paris and sipping your café in a typical coffee shop, you’ll notice one thing immediately: The majority of seats are facing the street. Rather than staring at each other for an hour, people observe unknowing pedestrians walking by and comment on their appearance. I happened to be a student in Paris, so the number of hours I spent in coffee shops probably crept up to four digits. With that amount of mental footage, one thing always stood out to me: Parisians appear to be effortlessly good-looking. Paris, at least at the time when I lived there, completely lacked a gym culture. Plus, the city can be extremely polluted. So how come most people were in pretty decent shape and had really good skin without too much makeup? Extra toxins such as alcohol and tobacco are also popular in the Parisian diet, so what’s the secret? “A real Parisian girl will never leave home without her bottle of water,” says ex-Parisian and now LA-based blogger Valentina Mareuse of @mylittlecosmo. Since we’re obsessed with research at HUM, we investigated whether water is the secret ingredient to glowing skin. HUM’s lead nutritionist Alex Caspero, RD investigated, and gave us tips on how much one should drink and how to tell that if you’re dehydrated!

The Beauty Benefits of Drinking Water

  • Skin hydration gives you a natural glow
  • Maintains your skin elasticity
  • Detoxes and cleanses
  • Curbs your appetite
  • Increases energy so you can burn more calories
  • Bonus: It’s also good for the hair, which happens to be 25 percent water
Parisian Women's Secret Ingredient to Glowing Skin - The Wellnest by HUM Nutrition

Q&A With Nutritionist Alex Caspero: Is water the secret ingredient to glowing skin?

Do we really need to drink eight glasses a day?

There’s no scientific proof that 64 ounces is the exact number that all of us need. However, it’s a rough estimate that works for the majority of the population. While it’s possible to have too much water (discussed below), most of us are slightly under-hydrated. Aiming for eight glasses is a good way to ensure that you’re getting enough. Though, remember, water comes in other sources like tea, juice, coffee, and food.

Is it possible to drink too much water?

Yes; hyponatremia can be fatal and is caused by drinking too much water too quickly. You’re essentially diluting the blood, causing dangerously low levels of sodium and potassium, which can trigger a heart attack. It should be noted, though, that this condition is very rate.

How can I tell if I’m dehydrated?

A good sign is urine color—check yours out every time you use the bathroom. A light-lemonade color is ideal; anything darker usually signals that you need more water. Be aware of your intake, even if you don’t feel dehydrated. If you haven’t drunk anything for a few hours, you likely need water.

Do you really need to use a water filter or bottled water, or is the tap fine?

I prefer filtered water to reduce contaminants, but the tap will also work. For some, filtered water over tap water is a matter of taste preference. You can also purchase filters that sit over the tap, so you get filtered water every time you use it. I can’t stand the waste of plastic water bottles and will always opt for tap water over bottled if the option is there.

Does sparkling water (over still) have any health benefits r disadvantages?

Sparkling water just has added CO2, which is fine. As long as your sparkling water doesn’t have any added sodium or flavoring, then it’s the same nutritionally as regular water.

Do coffee or alcohol count as sources of hydration, or are they dehydrating?

While coffee is considered to be a diuretic, you’re still getting water from the beverage, so I consider it a wash. I don’t count coffee in my daily hydration count, but I don’t count against it either. Alcohol is different and will dehydrate the body more so than coffee.

Do we carry water weight in our faces if we drink too much?

Water weight seems to be a very confusing topic; it’s one I hear often with my clients. It’s not related to how much water you drink, as being dehydrated can pull water to the surface, making you feel more bloated and puffy. Water weight is related to gravity and diet as a whole. In fact, the opposite is true; drinking more water flushes the body and can reduce bloating. So it really is a secret ingredient to glowing skin!

Can drinking water help to lose weight?

It won’t help you burn fat, but it can help decrease bloating and keep you regular. Plus, it’s true that sometimes thirst is confused for hunger, so drinking enough can help with regular appetite.

Is it true that often when we feel hunger it’s actually just thirst?

Most adults need to eat every three to five hours. If you find yourself hungry before this window, try a glass of water first. If you’re still hungry 10 to 15 minutes later, have a snack. You may find that you experienced thirst rather than actual hunger.

Are drinks with electrolytes better? should we drink coconut water regularly?

I recommend plain water over anything with added electrolytes, unless you need to replenish after a hard workout or time spent outside. Since electrolytes work in ratios, it’s better to get them through food and a balanced diet instead of packing them in through beverages. Plus, many electrolyte-containing options have added sweeteners, flavorings, and calories, which really aren’t needed. However, if you find that you aren’t recovering well from workouts or are cramping, then you may need to replenish.

When’s the best time to drink water?

Drink all the time! I often wake up and enjoy a big glass of water first thing in the morning. After my morning coffee, I fill my water bottle up and take it to my desk to sip throughout the day. My bottle holds 28 ounces, and my goal is to consume at least two bottles during the work day. Then, I’ll have another glass with dinner or before bed.

What temperature is best?

Whatever temperature you’ll drink it at. There are some theories that drinking ice cold water makes your metabolism work harder, but the actual calorie difference is so negligible to make a difference that I ignore this. Most of us aren’t drinking enough, so whatever temperature you like is fine.

What’s your view on plastic bottles?

I hate plastic water bottles for so many reasons, the first being how incredibly wasteful they are. Second, contaminants (like endocrine disrupters/BPA) from plastic can easily leach into the water, especially when the bottle is heated. (Think about how warm your bottle can get sitting in a hot car during a summer afternoon.) I prefer a reusable water bottle or glass bottle to fill up. When I’m traveling, I’ll stick a few slices of orange or lemon plus a sprig of rosemary, mint, or basil in a mason jar to fill with water when I get to the airport. It’s an easy, homemade water bottle that fits snugly in my purse or carry-on.

Are there benefits to drinking alkaline water?

There isn’t much scientific data to back up the claims of alkaline water, so I recommend saving money and investing in a Brita/tap filter instead to reduce dissolvable solvents and contaminants. As far as acid and alkaline balances go, I’m much more interested in the overall diet than water. Most Americans’ diet, consisting of lots of animal protein and sugar, is highly acidic. Balancing that with plant-based foods, including lots of alkalizing leafy greens and vegetables, can help.
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