Hydration is a huge part of successful nutrition and wellness. In fact, it’s even more important than food for your body’s survival! Did you know that you can live without food for approximately a month, but can’t live without water in as little as 2 days? Or that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated?!?! Crazy right?!?!
Why is water so important for our bodies?
Our body is around 60% water, our brain 70% and lungs a whopping 90%!
Water is the single most important nutrient for our body! Every cell, tissue and organ in our body needs water to work optimally and to keep disease away.
Each and every day our body loses around 2.4 liters (81 ounces) of water through breath, sweat, urine and bowel movements and more!
How much water do you need to drink?
There a couple great rules to follow, find and use what works for you.
Drink ½ your weight in ounces. Ex. If you are 200 pounds, drink 100 ounces daily. Exception here: you need meet a daily minimum of 80 ounces no matter who you are.
Check your urine. It should be pale yellow in color and not smelly. If it’s dark or smelly this is a great marker that you are dehydrated and need to drink more aqua pronto. If on the other hand, it’s clear, you might be too hydrated (yes, this is a real thing) and the problem here is that you are most likely losing electrolytes and minerals at this point through your urine. I recommend backing off the water or adding trace minerals, natural good quality salt or hydrating with herbal tea more than water to get more minerals and such in your water.
If you are active, add in an extra glass of water for every 30-60 minutes you are sweating. And if you are working out more than 60 minutes you will need to add in electrolyte to your water. I like Nuun, Tailwind or LyteShow. You can even make your own. I love this and this homemade natural electrolyte drink.
Add in an extra glass of water for every caffeinated or alcoholic beverage you drink to make up for the dehydration you are getting from those drinks. I like to alternate water in between these beverages too. For example if you have a glass of wine, before you have another drink a glass of water in between.
If you are at elevation (which I am here in Denver the mile high city) or if it’s dry versus humid (another thing to remember here in Denver some of the time) you will most likely need more daily water than someone at sea level or in humid climates.
If you are sick, you will lose more water with a fever, vomiting or diarrhea.
If you are pregnant, you will need to hydrate extra for you and your bebe. Add in another 3-4 glasses (approximately 24-32 ounces) of water daily.
If you drink when you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated! This can be a hard one, especially for those of us that have packed days and are running around. My advice here is to get a good glass or non-BPA (plastic) water bottle that you can carry with you and know how many times you need to fill it up to drink your daily water. There’s more and more places offering free filtered water out there while you’re on the go, so save your money, health and our planet by not buying those plastic water bottles!
Other symptoms of dehydration include: low blood pressure, fatigue, hunger, headaches, dizziness and dry skin.
Drinking water can reduce alcohol or other cravings like sugar, salty and more!
Staying hydrated will lower your appetite and boost your metabolism by 30%!
Dehydration can reduce the amount of blood you have in your body. This can directly cause an increase in blood pressure forcing your heart to pump harder to get blood and oxygen to your muscles.
If you are stressed most of the time or having a particularly stressful day try adding ¼ teaspoon of real salt (ex. Himalayan, grey, Celtic, or sea salt) to a glass of water. This will add in minerals needed to support your adrenals and stress levels.
When drinking water a couple other things to keep in mind:
Avoid guzzling it round mealtime. This dilutes your digestive juices (enzymes and hydrochloric acid) and will cause poor digestion. I’d aim for about 8 ounces 30-60 minutes before mealtime and again about an hour after your meal. This will help with digestion and nutrient absorption.
I understand filtered water can get a little boring to drink all day. Other great sources of hydration can include fresh juices (low-fruit, sugars preferred), nut milks (unsweetened is preferred), and up to ¼ of your daily intake in herbal (non-caffeinated) tea. Plus, lots of fresh veggies and fruits contain water, some of the best sources are watermelon and spinach!
Tips for staying Hydrated:
Flavor your own water with fruits, veggies and herbs, like lemon, oranges, mint, ginger and more! Here’s a great blog on ideas!
Make it a game, track your water on a free app like WaterLogged or Hydrate Daily, or have a post-in note on your computer and every time you get up to use the restroom or do anything, take a sip of water.
Set up reminders on your phone with a fun emoji to keep you motivated and smiling!
Try a 30-day hydration challenge and see how much better you feel without changing anything else! Drink up buttercup!
Let me know if you try the challenge in the comments below! And if you need someone to keep you accountable, just let me know, I am here to help!
Image by Ethan Sykes and Unslpash