I don’t know about you but I have been struggling to stay hydrated these last few weeks! With the bitter cold and the dryness that comes with it, I feel my skin, hair and mouth needing more and more water.
Water is crucial to your health. On average, it makes up 60% or more of your body weight. Every system in our bodies depend on water.
Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you do not have enough water in your body to carry on normal functions. Even mild dehydration—as little as a 1% to 2% loss of your body weight—can sap your energy and make you tired. Dehydration poses a particular health risk for the very young and the very old.
Without water, your body would stop working properly. As mentioned above, water makes up more than half of your body weight, and a person can’t survive for more than a few days without it. Why? Your body has lots of important jobs and it needs water to do many of them. For instance, your blood, which contains a lot of water, carries oxygen to all the cells of your body. Without oxygen, those tiny cells would die and your body would stop working. Below are benefits of water, how much water we need and tips to incorporate.
Benefits of Water
o Keeps us hydrated—more than half our body is made up of water. A person can’t survive more than 2-3 days without water. Being dehydrated can make you sick. Signs of dehydration may be headaches, fatigue, dry mouth, extreme thirst, little or no urine and dizziness.
o Boosts energy levels—just being slightly dehydrated can slow you down, therefore, drinking adequate water can also help to keep up your energy levels. If you feel that you are severely dehydrated, it may be ok to try a sports drink, especially if engaged in more than 90 minutes of exercise or if exposed to high heat temps. May sports drinks contain electrolytes that help to balance calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium and chloride in the body. Imbalances may contribute to fatigue, muscle aches, anxiety, digestive issues, restlessness and insomnia. Keeping these minerals in balance is key to our health.
o Healthy skin glow—one of the best things we can do for our skin is drink water. Without enough water, our skin becomes dry and even wrinkled. Proper hydration also can help to give your skin a healthy glow since so much of our skin contains water.
o Maintains the balance of body fluids—Since approximately 60% of your body is water, it is important to understand how this fluid affects the function of our bodies. The functions of these fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, production of saliva, transportation of nutrients and maintence of body temperature. When low on fluids, your brain triggers the body to recognize this thirst, leading us to consume fluids. If we do not listen to our bodies, we put ourselves at risk for dehydration and fatigue.
o Helps get rid of toxins in the body—When you are getting enough fluids, urine flows freely, is light in color and free of odor as you are allowing your body to naturally get rid of natural toxins, the main job of our kidneys. If you do not get enough fluid, your kidneys trap extra fluid for bodily function, leading to strong odors and dark color.
o Supports healthy digestion—drinking enough water helps to soften fiber we consume from our diets (i.e. beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits and vegetables) to allow it to be digested properly through the colon. Without enough water, your colon pulls fluid from your stool to maintain hydration, leading to constipation.
o Supports a healthy immune system—water is also in your lymph, a fluid that is part of your immune system, which helps you to fight off illness. Drinking more water and staying hydrated keeps this system flowing and allowing the body to rid itself of toxins.
How much water?
One size does not fit all. Generally speaking it is important to consume half your body weight in pounds. So, if you weigh 200 lbs, then you would need 100 oz of water per day. Eight ounces is equivalent to 1 cup. You also need to take into consideration how much you sweat. If you sweat a lot or if you are outside in warm weather for long periods, you may need more. A good way to tell is to weigh yourself before a workout and then after. Drink 16 to 24 oz water for every pound lost.
Tips to increase your water intake and to stay hydrated
o Carry a water bottle. One of my favorites is the Hydro flask.
o Eat more fruits and vegetables that have high content of water
o Track your intake
o Limit intake of coffee and other caffeinated beverages
o Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning to hydrate cells
o Include a glass of water with each meal
o Limit your intake of alcohol. If drinking, be sure to drink more water
o Try coconut water. Coconut water provides a balance of natural occurring electrolytes.
Cheers to staying hydrated!