The Importance of Water
Drinking adequate water is an important part of rebuilding our health and staying healthy. Although we look pretty solid, more than half of the human body is actually liquid – a briny fluid, much like sea water. This fluid keeps us in good working order, cushioning and hydrating our cells, tissues and organs, transporting nutrients and eliminating waste from the body. Water hydrates our body and is essential for many of the functions of the body including digestion, immune function, hormones, communication between cells, mental function, elimination.
Dehydration Impacts our health
When your body fluids are depleted, you are dehydrated. It is as simple as that. Yes, we would know if we were severely dehydrated as we would end up in the hospital. The problem is that most of us suffer from minor dehydration and don’t even know it. We do not understand how essential water is to well-being. We do not understand what happens to the body if it doesn’t receive its daily water requirements.
Minor levels of dehydration can cause you to feel grumpy and tired and make it hard to concentrate. It can contribute to constipation, aches and pains, asthma, hypertension, ulcers, allergies, arthritis, fibromyalgia, insomnia, depression, anxiety, cancer and many other diseases and illnesses. Now, that is something to pay attention to!
Minor dehydration can be easily avoided by drinking adequate fluids throughout the day. Don’t allow thirst to be the only motivation for drinking water. By the time you are thirsty, dehydration has already set in. Feeling hungry between meals is another sign of dehydration.
It is important to have a steady influx of water throughout the day. We get water from beverages that we drink and the food we eat. A good rule of thumb is to divide your body weight in half and that is the number of ounces of water to drink daily. Ideally, you want to spread the amount of water you drink over the day. Drink a full glass or two of water upon waking in the morning and then a full glass 30 minutes before each meal or snack. Add another full glass of water between each meal and you have a good supply of fluid going into your system. Some say it is ideal to drink about 1/2 cup of water every half hour to spread the water intake out evenly throughout the day. Another water tip is to stop drinking fluids about 2-3 hours before going to bed. This will allow a full 8 hours of undisturbed sleep.
Be mindful of what dehydrates you
The body loses about half a gallon of liquid every day through sweat, exhaled air and urine. On a hot day, you lose even more. Exercise vigorously and you sweat off up to an additional quart per hour.
It is important to remember that as with everything we put into out body, there are good fluids and bad fluids. Some beverages dehydrate you and some hydrate you. Fluids to avoid include coffee, sodas, alcohol, sweetened fruit juices, city tap water and many sports drinks. These fluids can contain empty calories, toxic substances and can lead to further dehydration.
The best water to drink
The best fluid intake is pure water. You can get spring water or filtered water. There are many varieties of bottled water on the market, but the best value for your money is simply pure spring water. Another option is to purchase a good water filter for your home. It is more economical and you have more control over the quality of the water you are drinking. Purchase a good water bottle and carry it with you so that water is handy throughout the day.
Water temperature is also important. Excess cold water can be imbalancing to the body, especially the kidneys. Room temperature water provides enhanced health benefits.
Want some creativity and variety?
Infused water can be fun and provide additional nutrition to your beverages. Here are some links to discover fun and delicious infused water recipes. Or get creative and discover your own.
Introspection and tools to increase the amount of water you are drinking.
- Reflect on the amount and types of fluids you currently take in each day.
- Do you drink enough fluids?
- What is the quality of fluids that you drink?
- Are you drinking the right kinds of fluids?
- What baby steps can you take to increase the amounts of healthy water intake?
- What are some fun and creative ways that you can add more healthy fluids into your diet?
May you enjoy the health benefits of water,