We’ve all heard it over and over in our lives. “You need to drink more water!” The conventional idea is you need to drink about 8 glasses, 64 ounces, or about 2 liters of water per day. But is that amount good enough for everyone? A 200 pound athlete will have vastly different needs than a 120 pound person who works in an office setting.
Why is water so important to our health?
Water makes up 55-60% of our total body mass. That’s on average about 10-13 gallons of water in the average adult! Most of the volume of cells and body fluids is water. Water has many functions in our body and proper hydration is absolutely vital for optimal health.
Functions of water include:
- Improves oxygen delivery to the cells
- Transports nutrients
- Enables cellular hydration
- Moistens oxygen for easier breathing
- Cushions bones and joints
- Absorbs shocks to joints and organs
- Regulates body temperature
- Removes wastes
- Flushes toxins
- Prevents tissues from sticking
- Lubricates joints
- Improves cell-to-cell communications
- Maintains normal electrical properties of cells
- Empowers the body’s natural healing process
Hydration dictates so many areas of health. Even low level chronic dehydration can be serious and can to lead to debilitating illnesses. Are you chronically dehydrated?
Signs of Dehydration:
- Joint Pain
- Back Pain
So how do you know if you are drinking enough water?
A good rule of thumb is to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water daily (but no more than a gallon per day). For example, someone who weighs 180 pounds should be drinking 90 ounces of water daily. For most chronically dehydrated people, this may send them to the bathroom every couple hours. Your body should get used to it eventually, so give it a couple of weeks for your body to adapt.
To help with this, it is a good idea to add a pinch of good quality sea salt such as Himalayan or Celtic Sea Salt to your morning glass. Good quality salt is electrolyte rich and water depends on electrolytes for proper absorption. Also, adding a pinch of good quality, mineral rich salt (no table salt) supports your adrenal glands and helps regulate Aldosterone. Aldosterone is a hormone that regulates fluid retention and helps keep optimal fluid levels in your body.
To stay hydrated it’s also best to avoid drinking diuretic beverages. Diuretics slow the reabsorption of water by the kidneys and force more water out of the body than is contained in the beverage. If you do drink diuretic beverages you have to add 1.5 times the amount of that beverage to your daily intake of water. For example if you drink 8 ounces of a diuretic, you will need to add 12 ounces of water to your daily intake just to replace the amount depleted by the diuretic.
- Caffeinated teas as well as some herbal teas such as peppermint
- Alcoholic beverages
- Packaged fruit juices
- Prescription drugs
Getting properly hydrated can be the easiest and most important thing you can do to improve your health. One of the first questions I ask all of my clients is, “How much water do you drink each day?” Many times getting someone to consistently drink enough water will drastically improve their symptoms. Symptoms that they have been struggling with for years because they don’t drink enough water and are chronically dehydrated. It is so simple and easy to change but can have a huge impact. So if you are struggling with your health, by all means I’m here to help. But, if you know you don’t drink enough water, that is a great place to start. You may be surprised how much better you feel when you are rehydrated.