Do you stay hydrated Maybe you drink enough water every day … or are you chronically dehydrated and don't know? According to the Harvard Health Letter, “Drinking fluids is critical to staying healthy and maintaining the functioning of every system in your body, including your heart, brain, and muscles. Liquids carry nutrients to your cells, flush bacteria out of your bladder, and prevent constipation. "(1)
Did you know that the human body is about 60% water? And we lose about three liters a day through excretion (stool and urine), breathing and sweat. Unfortunately, it is estimated that 75-80% of Americans stay hydrated and are actually chronically dehydrated. (2) Wow!
Now I know that I was chronically dehydrated for years as a child. Growing up in a high-altitude city and not drinking enough fluids was a bad combination. I used to burst aspirin for my chronic headache as if it were candy. My mother or I hardly knew that my headache was actually due to dehydration (headache on the forehead). And I should have been drinking water all day instead! Fortunately, I like to drink water today and always have my Flaska glass water bottle on hand. Why is it so important for your general well-being not only to avoid headaches but also to stay hydrated?
Do you stay hydrated?
You may drink a lot of water, but are not really hydrated. It turns out that our body works best if we drink water all day and not drink a whole glass at a time. We cannot ingest a large amount quickly and will likely just pee it out and stay dehydrated. It's also best to only drink about 4 ounces. Water during meals to clean your palette if you have to. If you drink a lot of water before or during a meal, your stomach acid will be diluted and many other problems can occur.
Besides symptoms like headache or constipation, how do you know if you are dehydrated? You can run the Skin Pinch Test to see if it is dehydrated.
How much water is enough?
How much water should you drink every day? (6) While the old adage was 8 glasses of water a day, modern science has refined it a little. The current recommendation to determine the amount of water you need is to take your body weight and divide it by 2. Then drink so many ounces.
For example, if you weigh 130 pounds and divide by two, you get 65. So you would need to drink 65 ounces. Water per day. If you divide 65 by 8 (the number of ounces in a cup), that's just over 8 cups of water a day. If you weigh 200 pounds and do the same calculations, that's 12.5 cups of water a day. So staying hydrated is a very individual formula.
8 reasons why it is very important for optimal well-being to stay hydrated
- Did you know that your blood is 92% water? When you get dehydrated, one of the first things that happens is that your blood begins to thicken. This can potentially lead to TVT (deep vein thrombosis), blood clots, and even stroke. (3)
- The brain and heart consist of about 70% water and the lungs 83% water. Think about it: what happens to dehydrated fruits when you remove the water? Or a kitchen sponge to dry on the counter? You shrink, right? Did you know that chronic dehydration can actually cause your heart and brain to shrink? No bueno! (4) Don't worry, if you rehydrate your brain will expand again … but who wants a shrunken brain? This can definitely lead to knowledge problems!
- Did you know that one of the first signs that the body is already dehydrated is thirst? Crazy, right? When you reach for a drink because you are thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. Who knew?
- Another early warning sign of dehydration is clumsiness. Tripping over your feet, bumping into a wall or desk, or dropping something? It is very likely that you will not stay hydrated. So stop to drink some water. Do you remember how the brain shrinks? It cannot be processed properly if it is dehydrated and this can lead to balance problems. Therefore, dehydration is one of the main reasons why older people fall easily and generally don't stay hydrated.
- One of the most obvious symptoms of dehydration is constipation (defined as not passing a chair at least once a day). Your body needs a lot of water to help with excretion. If you get constipation and the stool sits in your colon for a long time, the colon begins to resume the toxins it was trying to eliminate. Definitely not a bueno!
- Here's another good reason to stay hydrated. A study by Emory University (5) shows that optimal hydration can improve educational outcomes through improved attention, focus, and short-term memory.
- Another great benefit of drinking water is that it helps flush toxins out of the body and carries away germs and viruses that are eliminated by the liver and kidneys. Toxins are stored in fat cells and can cause inflammation and swelling, which then causes the fat cells to store more fat. Staying well hydrated can also help you lose weight.
- Do you need another good reason to stay hydrated? One of the first things that can happen when you are dehydrated is that your mucous membrane in your nose and mouth dries up. The mucous membrane in your nose acts as a protective layer against viruses and bacteria and prevents them from getting into your body. So if you are dehydrated and the mucous membrane dries out, the inside of your nose can actually get tiny cracks or tears in the skin. Once this happens, the door is wide open for viruses like COVID-19 to enter your body. Yikes!
As you can clearly see, optimal hydration promotes well-being in many ways.
Other important factors to stay hydrated
- Age: older, sedentary people may need less water than younger, more active people.
- Regular exercise: If you exercise regularly, you will need to drink more to replenish what you sweat out.
- Surroundings: If you live in the desert like Las Vegas or at high altitude like Denver, you need to drink more water than if you live at sea level or in a humid climate like Seattle.
- General health: If you have a fever, cold, or flu, you need to drink more water to help your body fight the virus and flush out toxins.
- Eat a lot of product or soup: If you eat a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables (high in water) or soups that contribute to your overall water intake, you may be able to drink less water.
- Drinking coffee, black or green tea, caffeinated turf or energy drinks and alcohol: All are diuretics and can be very dehydrating. So if you drink one of them regularly, you should increase your water intake. A good rule of thumb to stay hydrated is to add a glass of water to every cup of coffee / caffeinated tea, soda, sports drink, or alcoholic beverage you consume.
The importance of drinking filtered water
Unfortunately, most tap water is full of toxins. For those who are not lucky enough to have access to pure, clean well water, it is always best to use a water purifier / filter to remove toxins and bad taste. There are so many types and brands of water filters, and all filter different elements. There are super high-end filters like Berkey filters that some health practitioners swear by. I personally use a pur filter attached to my faucet because it is easy to use. If you prefer, you can buy filter jugs for your countertop or fridge. Ultimately, the best water filter is one that you can afford and that is used regularly. (7)
That being said, you don't want to filter out the minerals that are extremely beneficial to your body. If you choose an RO water filter (reverse osmosis), you absolutely have to add minerals, otherwise you could do more harm than good. This is because our body actually needs minerals to absorb the water we drink. Think about it: we were developed to drink spring water full of minerals, not purified water without bottled nutrients. So if you drink bottled water or filtered water without adding minerals, your body can leach minerals from critical areas such as bones and teeth to absorb the water you drink. No bueno!
Just say NO to plastic water bottles
PLEASE do not drink from plastic water bottles. Aside from the fact that most brands don't contain minerals at all, plastic particles are leached into your body, even if they're BPA-free. BPA is the current toxin du jour in plastics, but all chemicals in plastics are toxic to our bodies. They act as xenoestrogens (synthetic estrogens) and take up our hormone receptors, which blocks the use of our naturally occurring hormones.
In addition, plastic water bottles are environmentally harmful, unsustainable, do not collapse and cause chaos on the planet. Instead, opt for a clean glass bottle or a stainless steel bottle and fill it with your filtered water. Fortunately, many public places and shops now offer filtered water so you can drink plenty of fluids on the go.
What if you don't like drinking water?
I often hear my customers say that they don't care about the taste of water. Which is really sad when you consider that water is the life force of everything in nature and used to come fresh from mountain streams, springs or lakes.
But I don't blame them for drinking tap water that may contain toxins like chlorine or fluoride. I was lucky enough to grow up with delicious mountain fountain water that was full of minerals and not toxins. Unfortunately, many city dwellers have never tried pure, clean spring or well water, which historically fed our ancestors.
Tips to spice up your water naturally
If you really don't like the taste of clean, filtered water, try these suggestions:
- Season with fresh fruit: Add a pinch of lime, lemon, orange, or some fresh or frozen organic berries to your water. Or add a little mint, cucumber and pear for a refreshing summer drink.
- Make it spicier: In the winter months, I like to add a few immune-boosting, antiviral clove buds to my glass water bottle to ward off the cold and flu virus. If you like the taste of cloves, you will love this trick. And if you like chai tea, you can also try adding cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, and star anise with your clove buds to get healthy, aromatic water.
- Drink herbal teas: (We are not talking about black or green tea, but herbal tea without caffeine), they are available in amazing natural flavors like hibiscus, blueberry, ginger-mango, lemon, orange and more. Check out clean brands like Traditional Medicinals and Yogi Tea.
- Drink organic coconut water: This is a great way to replenish your body with natural electrolytes.
- Note: Make sure you throw away the bottled sports and electrolyte drinks. They contain a lot of sugar (which can make you thirsty!), E.g. E.g .: Electrolit (3 tsp sugar) and Gatorade (9 tsp sugar). Remember that as a rule of thumb, a maximum of 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day. A Gatorade contains 1.5 days of sugar!
How your fascia helps you stay hydrated
Here's another important factor when it comes to staying hydrated. New research shows that your fascia, a thin membrane of connective tissue that surrounds your muscles, plays an important role in staying hydrated. (8) In fact, your fascia controls the flow of fluid in your body. You can think of your fascia as an aqueduct that transports water through your body.
But here's the thing. Do you have tight muscles and lumps in your body? Even if you drink a lot of water, your body may not really be able to use it. These tense muscles or knots can act like dams in the aqueduct and do not allow moisture to flow through your body. Crazy, right? You could drink lots of water and pee everything out and still be dehydrated. Why don't we learn that this stuff grows up ?!
Fortunately, regular bodywork, massages, or foam rolls can break these knots and make a big contribution to keeping your fascia in motion and your hydration flowing through your body. Yes, the dreaded foam roller can help you stay hydrated. I am also a big fan of the foam roll. While it can hurt a little bit initially, the pain definitely teaches over time with regular use. And the biggest bonus is that after every roll of foam I have a lot more energy and also feel about 3 inches taller !? Foam rolls are a great thing to incorporate into your daily training routine. Your body will thank you!
I drink H20 with it!
As you just learned, it is crucial to stay well hydrated to stay healthy and to help so many processes in your body function.
- Nowadays it is particularly important to stay hydrated to fight COVID-19 that attacks the lungs (remember that your lungs are 83% water!).
- Stay hydrated so your blood flows well instead of getting fat and clotting.
- If you are well hydrated, your brain will not shrink, increasing your memory and perception. Something we all want, right?
- Good hydration will also help you maintain a good balance and not trip or fall and break a part of your body.
"There are few negative effects of water intake and the evidence of positive effects is fairly clear from the literature."
– Barry M. Popkin, Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina. (9)
I will drink H20 with it! Please leave a comment to let us know your biggest snack or how to make your water more tasty. Then share this article with your friends and family to help them stay hydrated!