The weather is finally starting to warm up which had me thinking about hydration. Hydration is something I always bring up with my patients and the majority of them are shocked at just how much fluid we need each day to stay properly hydrated.
Did you know that by the time you feel thirst, you are already dehydrated? Other signs of dehydration are:
- Dry mouth
- Fatigue/tiredness (suffering from the afternoon slump? Try a glass of water before a coffee or sugary snack)
- Dry skin
- Low blood pressure
The general recommendation for fluid is to drink half your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 140lbs you should drink about 70oz of water daily, which is 8 1/2 8oz glasses or 4 standard size water bottles.
Shocked by that number? Look at it this way. The average man’s body is about 60% water, while a woman’s is about 50%, so it makes since to aim for about that much water intake. When the body is not fully hydrated it is not working at full capacity. This is evident in the symptoms of dehydration. For instance, fatigue and headaches are very common signs of dehydration, well that’s because the brain and muscle are both 75% water. Skin is 72% water, hence why your skin suffers if you are chronically dehydrated.
If the numbers aren’t enough to convince you to drink enough water maybe some facts will.
- Being well hydrated helps your mood, as dehydration can make you grumpy and your brain foggy
- Research shows proper hydration may reduce the risk of colon, bladder and possibly breast cancer
- Water provides lubrication and cushion for our joints, brain, spinal cord, and eyes. Water keeps cartilage soft and hydrated.
- Water improves the color and texture of skin by helping build healthy new cells. Water, in the form of perspiration, also helps our body regulate temperature.
- Water aids in digestion by being the basis of saliva which carries enzymes that start the breakdown of carbohydrates and protein. Water also dissolves soluble fiber and keeps you regular.
- Water works to transport nutrients through our blood stream and functions in the liver, kidney, and intestines to excrete waste.
- Staying hydrated can help you lose weight. We often mistake thirst for hunger. Hydrating may help suppress your appetite.
Don’t like plain water?
- Try seltzer, either plain or naturally flavored
- Add fruits and herbs to your water to flavor. Here’s 25 flavored water recipes.
- Drink herbal tea
- Just give it another try!
Have a hard time remembering to drink enough?
- Start your day with a glass of water
- Drink water with each meal and snack
- Keep a water bottle or cup on your desk or with you all day at work
- Set reminders on your phone or computer to drink every so often. There are even a few apps that will remind you. “Water Your Body” is available on iPhone and Android
- Set goals to finish so much water by a certain time – i.e. I aim to finish one water bottle by lunch, then a second before I leave work for the day
Bottom line: Drink water and be happy and healthy
Want more on hydration? Check out Lauren’s blog.