Water is the most important substance on earth, and in the human body. We all know it’s important to drink water, but why? And how much is enough?
Have you ever heard, “by the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated”? It’s true!
Your body is made of about 60 % water! It’s important for all functions from digestion to detox to circulation and nerve function. Sweating, urine and tears all mean that what comes in also goes out.
You do get some replacement of liquid in food, but it’s likely not even half the amount you need. A lot of foods are very hydrating, especially raw fruit and vegetables. Try eating a juicy apple, some cucumber, celery, or a slice of watermelon and other fruit to help become more hydrated.
Try to remember that when you have a choice between something dry and something full of water, choose the thing that is full of water.
So, how much water is enough?
• Water requirements for different people are very different. The climate you live in, your activity level, your size, and your diet vary from person to person. For example, if you live in a hot dry climate and have a physical job where you sweat a lot, you will need to replenish more often than a person who works indoors in a climate-controlled environment in a non-active job.
• Most people need to drink the equivalent of half their body weight in ounces. So, if you are 150 pounds, try to drink 75 ounces of water each day. *Note, this is just a guide; you should also go by your thirst level. Start with this amount, and if you’re still thirsty, drink more. Even aiming to have 6-8 glasses of water each day, will put you on the right track!
• A great way of knowing how much to drink is to drink enough water until your urine is clear, if it’s dark yellow, you aren’t drinking nearly enough. You probably don’t pay attention, but on your next trip to the bathroom have a look! If you pay attention to your habits and how often you drink you will start to know when you have had enough just by looking in the toilet. Sounds crazy? Maybe a little bit, but pay attention anyway. Nobody knows your body better than you.
• Often times when people feel hungry, they are really just thirsty. Our thirst mechanism and our hunger mechanism are very similar; the signals feel the same to us. Start with a glass of water, and see if you are still hungry after that. This is also a great weight loss tip – it can save you from snacking when your body is just really asking for water.
• Don’t guzzle your water. It’s not good for you to drink too much water too fast. If you’re letting yourself get so thirsty that you’re downing a 32-ounce bottle of water in five minutes that is not a good idea. It can be dangerous to drink too much water too fast. Instead, try to give yourself water in smaller amounts all throughout the day.
• One last note – soda pop and coffee do not count. The caffeine and sugar are dehydrating and counter the benefit of the water you are drinking. Pure water or herbal teas are best. Or you can still get liquid from other healthy drinks! For example, a green smoothie that is loaded with fruits and veggies has lots of liquid in it. So make sure you include things like this, but it still doesn’t replace plain water.
Tips for drinking more water:
• Buy yourself a new water bottle that you like, and try to keep it with you all the time. I prefer either glass or stainless steel – this will help you avoid all those terrible plastic chemicals.
• If you aren’t a fan of plain water, try adding in some lemon, lime, oranges, cucumbers, or any fruits (fresh or frozen). This will flavour the water and may help you to drink more.
• Make a habit of drinking a glass of water first thing when you wake up, throughout the day and into the evening. Don’t drink with your meals; you should have a glass of water 30 minutes before your meal and start drinking again 30 minutes after. This way it allows your digestive enzymes to do their job with your newly-eaten food, rather than being washed away.
• Put a sticky note on your computer, or your mirror, or your fridge – somewhere that you will see often – that says “DRINK MORE WATER.” Or simply set an alarm on your phone to go off every hour to remind you.
Sometimes all we need is a little reminder!
Dehydration can make you very tired and sap you of energy. It can also make you sick. Not drinking enough water can cause chronic headaches, dry skin, dry eyes, and kidney problems.
When something is as simple as drinking more water to boost your energy, you should do it. This is the best way we can help hydrate our skin from the inside out and it makes it one of the least expensive beauty treatments ever!
Okay, time to go grab a drink… of water, that is!