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Hydration 101

It’s heating up outside, meaning many of us are reaching for our water bottles even more. No one needs to tell us that drinking water and being hydrated is essential. We know. It’s just that sometimes we forget. Since hydration is basic to human survival, let’s go back to basics and look at hydration more closely. Class is in session!

Don’t Wait to Hydrate

Moms have said it, health class said it, and even our doctors have said it. However, do you understand all that hydration does in your body?

Hydration is responsible for regulating body temperature, helping detoxification, aiding digestion, and supporting organ function, especially those of the heart. Without proper hydration, your body cannot lubricate joints which can assist in decreasing pain. Hydration also helps in preventing infections and delivering vital nutrients to your cells. Without water in your system, it’s difficult to manage weight, and even the slightest change in hydration can cause headaches. In addition, staying hydrated improves your sleep, cognition, and mood!

With so many health benefits, why do so many people struggle? Our modern diets haven’t helped us much. Many of us get our hydration from our coffee or sodas instead of water or vegetation. However, hydration isn’t simply drinking water. We get hydrated from what we eat just as much as what we drink.

Is Eight Glasses a Day a Myth?

Conventional wisdom says eight glasses of water daily is necessary for proper hydration, but this is more a loose target than a hard and fast rule. Your hydration needs are determined by many factors, including weight, diet, activity level, health conditions, and even where you live. Knowing your body and speaking to your provider are the best ways to figure out if you may need more or less water intake.

There is good news if you are one of the 40% of Americans who do not drink enough water. Many find that the novelty of a new and personalized water bottle helps them keep water on hand, allowing them to drink more water. If you struggle with plain water, try flavoring water with fruit and fresh herbs or placing herbal tea bags in your bottle. Don’t forget that you also get a good amount of water from fresh fruits and vegetables, so take advantage of summer's bounty and increase the produce you’re consuming. Lastly, coconut water helps hydration because coconut water has electrolytes, such as potassium, sodium, and manganese. Unflavored coconut water is also low in sugar compared to sports drinks, meaning you get hydration without the unwanted effects of too much sugar.

“There’s nothing new under the sun.” It’s true, and sometimes we just need a friendly reminder of what we already know. This summer, set a goal to increase your water consumption, and see how well you feel afterward.