Hydration- Why Water is So Important
Water is the most essential element of life here on Earth. All life on our planet depends on water. Adult human bodies are roughly 60-70% water, and our planet is 70% water as well. (Coincidence? Probably not.) Human blood is 90% water. So, hydration sits at the very foundation of life. Regardless of age, race, and socioeconomic status, water is the great equalizer. We all need it, but why?
Back to Basics of Hydration
We’ve had the importance of drinking water preached to us all our lives, but how many of us remember biology class well enough to know why? Water and good hydration help cell function and production, as well as aiding and protecting tissue and organ function. Water is essential in carrying nutrients and oxygen to cells. It helps us regulate and maintain body temperature, lubricates joints, and moistens the eyes and respiratory system. Water also lessens the burden on organs like the kidneys and liver by removing waste and therefore giving these organs less work to do.
The Flip Side- Dehydration
Hydration is key, but understanding dehydration is just as important. Dehydration is influenced by many factors such as alcohol consumption, medical conditions and medications, sickness, pregnancy or breastfeeding, outdoor temps during activities, and high intensity physical activity or occupations. All of these factors can contribute to a higher risk of dehydration. Signs of dehydration can include dark urine, extreme thirst, headache, and fatigue. Listen to your body and watch for these signs to find out if you could be at risk for dehydration.
Water How To’s
Do you know how much water you should be consuming? Depending on whom you ask, the formulas to determine intake can vary greatly. The general consensus is that roughly ½ to ⅔ of your weight in ounces of water a day is a good place to start. However, learning to listen to your body and notice its cues trumps any generic formula. If you’re consuming half your weight in ounces of water a day and still experiencing dehydration symptoms, then you know to keep drinking. The same measure applies if you feel like you’re drinking too much. Listen to your body. It’s an amazing and intelligent machine!
Next, let’s address what to do if you just don’t like to drink water. Conveniently, we live in a time of hacks and tricks to help us drink the water we need. The internet is full of stylish and fun water bottles, many that cheer you on by showing you how much more water you have to drink for the day. Other water bottles have filtration systems and the ability to infuse your water with flavor. Splurge on a new water bottle that will make hydration a little more novel.
Flavoring your water is one of the best ways to get past your aversion to bland H2O. Fruits like lemon, orange, lime, apple, berries, and watermelon are a delicious way to perk up a bland glass of water. Fresh herbs like mint, basil, lemongrass, and rosemary make a refreshing addition and pair well with fresh fruit and veggie infusions. With spices like fresh ginger and cinnamon, and vegetables like cucumber, your options are endless.
You can implement simple habits to make sure that drinking water is a no-brainer. Look around you; who in your life is good at drinking water daily for good health? Ask them to be your accountability buddy. Often, just knowing that someone is going to ask us about our goals will make us a little more intentional about tackling them. Additionally, making a decision to drink only water when you are eating out saves money and ensures that you are getting one or two additional daily glasses. Drink water when you think you are hungry. Often, hunger and thirst cues feel the same in our bodies. Even if you are truly hungry, water will help you feel satisfied as you eat.
Finally, don’t be afraid to schedule your water. Leave a glass by your bed at night and drink it first thing in the morning. Drink a little at the top of each hour, and again before you go to bed.
Water, Water Everywhere
While we have focused on drinking water for your health and hydration, don’t forget that you get water from other sources too. Unsweetened teas, soups and broths, fruits and vegetables all contain water and count toward your daily intake. In recent years, there has even been an increase of flavored water products that contain caffeine so that you can replace your morning frappuccino, along with the sugar and calories that they contain, with a flavorful water alternative.As we ride out the last few months of winter, why not take your hydration and health to the next level? Try out some of these tips and tricks! Don’t forget to check out our store for a great multivitamin to take with your daily water, or grab an AquaDot to energize your hydration.