The Importance of Proper Hydration

The Importance of Proper Hydration

Hydration

We Americans like our drinks. Coffee, pop, alcohol, specialty juices/drinks being top choices. We covet coffee as it gets us through the day.  We love pop because it gives us a temporary boost in energy. We crave alcoholic drinks as it helps us wind down from a long day or rev up for a night of partying and shenanigans. We are so loyal to brands that we have passionate debates about which brand is best.

These drinks contain ingredients like alcohol, sugar, food colorings and additives. The consequence for you is dehydration and a drain on your overall health, from mood disorders to physical ailments.

Our taste buds have become accustomed to sweet drinks. Good, pure water is best. If water does not seem appealing, there are solutions to flavor your water with ingredients that add flavor and nutrition while keeping you hydrated! (More on that later.)

 

Waters many roles

Water is essential for our health and well-being. You can live approximately 8 weeks without food but only days without water! Water makes up 55-60% of your total body mass. So, it’s no surprise water plays many important roles in the body. Some are:

  • Transports nutrients
    • Water-soluble vitamins and minerals need water to effectively go where they are needed.
  • Moistens lungs for easier breathing
    • Lungs need a moist environment for optimal function. If you have a tough time breathing and trouble with allergies, drinking more water may help!
  • Helps with elimination of waste
    • Important for all those constipated people out there!
  • Regulates body temperature
    • Ever been in the hot sun and felt incredibly thirsty and just started to down a bunch of water? Notice how it cools your body down? Pretty COOL huh?!
  • Flushes toxins
    • Water is needed to effectively detoxify.
  • Cushions bones and joints
    • Water lubricates bones and joints so you can move with ease.
  • Cellular hydration
    • Cellular dehydration is the primary cause for degenerative pain.

 

Symptoms of Dehydration

If you experience dry mouth and feel thirsty then you are already dehydrated. Below are some other signs of dehydration.

Early signs:

  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Cravings
  • Cramps
  • Headaches

Mature Signs:

  • Heartburn
  • Joint Pain
  • Back Pain
  • Migraines
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Constipation
  • Colitis
  • Weight Gain
  • High Blood Pressure

 

The Sweet Spot

Ideally water consumption should be your weight in pounds divided by two. This number represents the number of ounces you should drink a day. If you are drinking anything that is a diuretic you should drink increase your water intake even more. Multiplying the ounces, you consume of diuretics by 1.5 and adding that to your initial number of ounces you need to drink a day will suffice. With a maximum intake around 100oz.

The equation is:

(Oz of diuretics x 1.5) + body weight (lbs)/2 = daily water intake.

Diuretics dehydrate you. They flush water from your body. Common diuretics are:

  • Coffee
  • Caffeinated Teas
  • Pop
  • Alcohol
  • Packaged Fruit Juice
  • Prescription Drugs

 

Tips for getting your daily intake of water in

  • Carry around a glass or stainless-steel water bottle around with you at all times.
    • A bottle with ounces labeled on it will help keep track of your water intake.
  • Set hourly goals.
    • It’s ideal to get your needed water intake slowly throughout the day. Set goals of how man ounces you should drink each hour or so to insure proper hydration.
  • Set reminders on your phone.
    • Every hour to drink water to get into the habit of drinking water.
  • Get creative!
    • Don’t like the way water tastes? Using essential oils like lemon or peppermint to add flavor to your water. Just make sure the essential oils you use are intended for ingesting. Also adding chunks of fruit, vegetables, and herbs—it’s a great way to flavor your water and get a boost of nutrients! Try water with strawberries, cucumber, peppermint, and lemon…it’s a great combination.
      • None of these additions are dehydrating. When looking for ways to flavor your water opt for non-dehydrating substances. Sugar and artificial sweeteners are dehydrating.
  • Don’t drink it all in one sitting
    • Drinking too much water too fast can lead to water intoxication.

 

Drink enough water but still feel dehydrated?

In order to properly absorb water, you need the right balance between electrolytes and water intake. Electrolytes are minerals that become capable of conducting electricity when dissolved in water. If you are fulfilling your daily quota of water but still always feel thirsty you may be drinking too much water which can deplete you of electrolytes. Adding a pinch of unrefined sea salt in your water can help replenish your body of electrolytes. There is also electrolyte powder you can buy and use. I recommend always putting a pinch of sea salt or electrolyte powder in your water when you’re going to be outside and active on a hot sunny day.

Eating vegetables and fruit is also important for proper hydration. Not only are the packed with water but they also contain electrolytes. Fats are also hydrating. The digestion of fatty acids yields more water for the body to use than carbohydrates and proteins.

Exercising can also help with hydration as it helps with circulation which can improve electrolyte levels.

Your adrenals also play a crucial role in balancing electrolytes and water in the body. If you feel you are doing all of the above but are still dehydrated then seeking a qualified practitioner is recommended.

Cheers to life, happiness, health, and good hydration!

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