Let’s face it, we all wonder how much are we really supposed to be drinking and are confused about mixed messages of when it’s best to drink and whether warm or cold beverages are best.
Our bodies are made up of 65-70% water, so it makes sense that we must take hydration seriously and continue to replenish our bodies with enough water to function optimally. Too much water can result in mineral imbalances and too little can result in dehydration, fatigue, or headaches.
We have all heard that drinking water is good for us and this is absolutely true. The effects of dehydration on the body are dangerous for many systems. Dehydration can lead to decreased energy, it can impair your body’s ability to lose heat and therefore regulate temperature, and can reduce blood volume and circulation in the body.
Signs of dehydration:• Decreased urine output• Dry mouth• Increased thirst• Fatigue/lethargy• Lightheadedness• Headaches• Fast heart rate• Dry mucus membranes• Absence of tears or decreased sweat disproportionate to activity and heat
How much water should you drink?
Although there are many general recommendations for how much one should drink, it is really different from person to person, so being in tune with your body is important when considering the general rules for hydration.
With that said, on average, males should drink approximately 3 liters (13 cups) and females about 2.2 liters (9 cups) of water each day. Another general rule is to drink half of your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs you should drink 75 ounces (~2.2 liters) per day. This would be about 4.5 of the normal (16 oz) water bottles per day. Another popular rule is the “8×8 rule”; drink eight 8 oz glasses per day (approximately 2 liters). However, always remember that these are rough estimates and one must take into consideration their activity level, climate, body size, current illness, fever/diarrhea/vomiting, infections of the urinary tract/bladder, and underlying medical conditions, which could impact the amount of water/fluid intake advisable.
How do I know I am hydrating properly?
You can get a sense of your hydration status by the color of your urine. Good hydration yields a light, straw-colored urine, and a sign of dehydration would be dark urine.
Hydration helps us to detox our bodies by flushing the kidneys and bladder of waste products and dead cells before they reach toxic levels. It nourishes our cells, supports our body systems, and alleviates headaches and fatigue. Proper hydration also promotes weight loss, reduces inflammation, has aesthetic benefits, such as brightening skin complexion, and it can improve our mood.
Some helpful bio-hacks for increased water consumption:
Timing is important for water intake; best to drink 1-2 glasses upon waking in the morning. Warm, or room temperature, water is thought to be the most supportive for our digestive systems, but again this can be based on the individual. If you feel your body is calling for cold water, then this is what may work better for you.
Adding lemon to a glass of room temperature water in the morning is great for alkalizing the body, helps move digestion along, decreases bloating and inflammation, and adds a nice flavor to water.
Increase foods that are high in water content such as fresh fruits and green, leafy vegetables.
Make sure you are balancing your electrolytes as well. In addition to coconut water, there are homemade, oral rehydration solutions. You may also consider electrolyte tablets, like NUUN Hydration tablets, for the balance of electrolytes, especially during exercise, illness, or a hot/humid climate.
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