It is critical to make sure that you stay well hydrated, as dehydration can lead to many health issues. The movement of H2O is an essential element of the environment and necessary for survival and good health.
Today we will explore the importance of water to your overall health.
Did you know that water makes up about 60% of your weight and is the main ingredient in the fluid that surrounds cells in your body? Your brain alone is made up of 80% water.
Water plays a vital role in many functions in your body including:
Promoting healthy cell metabolism and elasticity
Digestion and appetite control
Maintaining weight loss
Healthy skin and pH balance
Water is the best drink to hydrate your body. It has no calories, so you can drink as much as you need without worrying about weight gain.
How do I know if I am dehydrated?
The moment you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. If you are not drinking enough water, your body won't be able to function properly. Some of the symptoms associated with dehydration include:
Water retention and bloating
Dark circles under the eyes
Fatigue & muscle cramps
It is hard to stay healthy if you are not drinking enough water, and it is even harder to know how much water is enough for your body.
How much water should you be drinking a day?
According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, adequate daily fluid intake is 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) for men and 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) for women. Others suggest drinking eight glasses of water a day, and still, others say half of your body weight in ounces. So, which one is it?
(Hydration calculator below)
There’s no simple answer to that question. How much water you need a day depends on a variety of factors:
a) Your environment: time of the year, humidity, altitude
b) Activity level: if your work is labor-intensive or you are performing high-intensity exercises.
c) Your diet: are you consuming high water-containing fruits & vegetables regularly, such as cucumbers, celery, zucchini, watermelon, strawberries, to name a few.
d) You also must take into consideration how many caffeinated and alcoholic beverages you are drinking. As you know, they act as diuretics and may contribute to dehydration.
e) Certain medications: antacids, diuretics, laxatives, blood pressure medications, NSAIDs – nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and antihistamines may interfere with water balance in your body.
f) Some current popular diets, such as ketogenic, intermittent fasting, and dry fasting may contribute to dehydration. Many studies have shown the health benefits of these diets; If you are following any of these dietary guidelines, then make a point of drinking more water even if you do not feel thirsty.
Up till now, if you’ve been drinking very low amounts of water and, after reading all the facts above thinking that you need to up your water intake - I have a very important suggestion for you - take it slow. Don’t increase your water intake all at once, as your kidneys and the digestive system need time to adjust.
Your kidneys can remove 20–28 liters of water per day, but they cannot excrete more than 0.8 to 1.0 liters per hour.
Just do the math: 1 liter = 32oz = 4 glasses (8oz) of water. If you drink more, then you’ll be putting more stress on your kidneys.
Water is life, and clean water means health
~ Audrey Hepburn
How do I know if I’m drinking enough water?
How often do you feel thirsty? Is your urine a light-yellow color or colorless? If you answered not often and yes to these questions, most likely, you are drinking the required amount of water for your body. Another factor to consider is if your cells are absorbing the water you drink? Unfortunately, we cannot answer that question without testing.
As we all know, in the human body, our cells are constantly in a state of flux. Our cells absorb water at different rates and how much water they absorb depends on your cell membrane integrity. You’ve heard the saying “You are what you eat!” Although, it’s more like “you are what you absorb.” I won’t get into that now since talking about your cell membrane health can be a whole separate conversation. But I want to mention that alkalinity also dictates how well your cells can absorb water.
Alkalinity helps increase the fluid intake of your cells and makes them healthier. The following tips can help to increase alkalinity in your body, making sure to:
- Consume more raw healthy vegetables.
- Add a couple of lemon wedges to your water.
- Drink filtered water.
- Exercise regularly.
- Manage stress.
- Sleep better.
- Use clean personal care and house cleaning products.
Could you be drinking too much water?
The short answer is yes, it is possible. Although rare, drinking too much water can cause a condition called Hyponatremia. Hyponatremia is when the sodium, electrolyte balance becomes dangerously low in your body - especially in your cells - causing serious health issues.
Here are a few tips to help you increase your daily water intake:
Drink a full glass of water when you wake up.
Drink a glass of water before each meal.
Drink herbal teas throughout the day.
Replace juices with water or dilute them.
Make your water more interesting by adding some exciting flavors to it. Try putting lemon wedges, cucumber slices, fresh mint, or orange slices in it.
Fill up your plate with locally grown fresh vegetables.
If you consume caffeinated beverages, make a point of drinking two extra cups of water for each cup of coffee that you drink.
For more tech people, there are several apps that can remind you to drink more water or track your water intake.
To give you some idea of how much water you may need to check out this Hydration Calculator (make sure to click on the settings wheel to set the measurements to lb, in, and oz)