Thankfully, we have plenty of water around us to drink. I am certainly grateful for this as water is so very important for many functions within the body.
We’ve talked about the importance of staying hydrated in the winter in a previous article. With the hot summer sun fast approaching, I wanted to take the time to also talk about the importance of hydrating in the summer!
As you may know, we are made up of about 60% water!
If you have excess body fat then your body has less water because fat tissue contains less water than muscle tissue. Water is essential in maintaining proper function in every body system including your heart, brain, and muscles. Without enough water in your body, your cells don’t function properly, your skin is unable to detoxify, and your bladder and kidneys cannot work as they are meant to either. You’ll also feel especially tired and will likely eat more!
Did you know that if you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated? The goal is to drink regularly over the day to prevent feeling thirsty and getting dehydrated.
The signal that you are thirsty feels the same in the body as the signal that you are hungry. Before grabbing a snack or meal, have a nice big glass of water and wait 30 minutes. If you then still feel hungry, have that snack or meal.
Some of the signals from your body that it is dehydrated include:
- Increased thirst
- Dry mouth
- less urinating
- dark yellow urine
- dry skin
- few or no tears
With severe dehydration, the list gets longer and more scary!
You can use your urine colour to determine how hydrated you are.
Hopefully some of the items in the list below, which are benefits of staying hydrated properly, will encourage you to get your daily water intake! The source of these benefits was WebMD.
- Combat fatigue – water is one of most important sources of energy for your body.
- Reduce High Blood Pressure – when the blood is fully hydrated it can move freely through the veins and arteries.
- Assist with Allergies and Asthma – the body creates more histamines when it is dehydrated. Histamines are what cause us to feel congested and have trouble breathing.
- Create Beautiful Skin – when dehydrated the skin cannot detoxify properly which can lead to irritation, inflammation, and congestion which can cause things like itching, blackheads, redness, pimples, and blotchiness.
- Decrease High Cholesterol – when the body doesn’t have enough water, it produces cholesterol to keep the cells working correctly.
- Assist Digestion – when we are dehydrated we experience more constipation as well as other gastrointestinal issues such as ulcers, bloating, gas, gastritis, acid reflux, and irritable bowel syndrome.
- Flush Unwanted Bacteria from the Bladder and Kidneys – when we don’t get rid of unwanted bacteria in these organs we can experience bladder and/or kidney infections.
- Assist Joint and Cartilage Repair – most of the padding in our cartilage consists of water which allows our joints to function properly.
- Control Weight Gain – when our cells are properly hydrated they will not send unneeded messages to the brain to get more energy.
- Slow the Aging Process – all of our organs require a lot of water to function correctly.
So what about those hydration sports drinks and energy drinks out there?
Not only are some of these drinks dangerous, they contain artificial colours, flavours, and sweeteners, none of which are good for your body. Some of them are also loaded with processed sugar. Too much sugar can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, depression, increased fat storage, wrinkles, elevated cholesterol, increased risk of heart disease, overeating, restricted blood vessels, energy crashes, and is extremely addictive. The drink that I use occasionally for a treat called “Hydrate” contains vitamins and minerals to rebalance your electrolytes, only 8 g of natural sugars, and contains no artificial colours, flavours, or sweeteners. Electrolytes are important nutrients used by the body to regulate heartbeat and allow your muscles to contract so you can move. The major electrolytes include calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphate, and chloride.
Here are a couple of visuals of how much sugar is in some popular drinks.
So, are diet drinks any better? Absolutely not! Artificial sweeteners are a toxin to your body and are actually quite dangerous for diabetics because they can cause diabetic comas. Artificial sweeteners still trigger insulin. Artificial sweeteners cause headaches in some people and studies show that they get you drunk faster when consumed in an alcoholic beverage because they are absorbed more quickly into the bloodstream.
When I speak of water, I am talking about pure, clean water with nothing in it except maybe some fresh squeezed lemon. You can also float some slices of fruit and/or vegetables such as strawberries, cucumber, lime, etc to add a bit of flavour to your water and reduce boredom.
I bet that you are wondering just how much water you need to drink in a day! Here’s an easy to use formula to determine your body’s water intake. Optimally, you need to drink half your body weight in water. So, for a 160 lb person, this would look like:
160 lbs/2 = 80 ounces
80 ounces / 8 ounce glass = 10 glasses of water per day
10 glasses / 4 cups in a litre = 2.5 litres of water per day
This is a minimum amount which just replenishes the water that is lost from every day through bodily functions such as sweating, crying, breathing, urinating, sneezing, etc.
Some people question how they can possibly drink so much water. Below you will find a few tips that I have used to help me to remember to drink my daily water. I also hear that people are concerned about spending all their time in the bathroom. Initially, when you increase your water intake, you will go to the bathroom more often; however, as you continue to consume your water, your body will get used to it and you will make less frequent trips to the bathroom.
- Carry around a refillable water bottle with you
- Have a glass when you get up, bring a 2 litre bottle with you to drink at work over the day, have a glass at night
- Use elastics on a water bottle and remove them as you have consumed a bottle to keep track of how much you are drinking. For a 500 ML bottle, to get 2.5 litres a day, you would need to drink 5 of the 500 ML bottles. Place 5 elastics on the bottle and remove after you have completed the bottle of water
- Set an alarm on your smart phone if you have one to remind you to drink water throughout the day
I hope that we can agree that drinking lots of clean, pure water does the body good! Bottoms up!
If you enjoyed this information and would like to learn more or to work with me on finding your best path to healing, I would love to hear from you at 613-540-4515 or firstname.lastname@example.org.