I’ve written about the importance of staying hydrated on numerous occasions throughout the life of this blog. As Patient Coordinator at Longevity Health Center, I also end up talking about it with every patient that walks through our doors. Some days I feel like a broken record!
But even though we’ve learned about the importance of hydration since we were in elementary school, most people simply don’t get enough water on a daily basis. They fill up on coffee, juices, soft drinks and other diuretics, which only serve to further dehydrate them. It’s no wonder that water is the number one nutritional deficiency in our country.
Why is water so important?
Water makes up about 60% of our body composition, and we can only go a matter of days without it. Here are just a few of its other roles in the body.
- Improves oxygen delivery to cells
- Transports nutrients
- Enables cellular hydration
- Moistens oxygen for easier breathing
- Cushions bones and joints
- Absorbs shocks to the joints and organs
- Regulates body temperature
- Removes wastes
- Flushes toxins
- Lubricates the joints
- Improves cell-to-cell communication
- Maintains normal electrical properties of cells
- Empowers the body’s natural healing process
Is it just me, or is there some really important stuff on that list? What more reason do you need to get sipping?
Tips for staying adequately hydrated:
- Know how much water you need on a daily basis. The body can only produce about 8% of its daily water needs through metabolic processes, and the remaining 92% must be ingested through our foods and beverages. Since we can’t store it, we have to be diligent about staying hydrated every single day. Take your body weight and divide it in half. That is how many ounces of water you should be drinking a day (not to exceed 100 ounces). You should drink an additional 12-15 ounces for every 6 ounces of diuretics you drink.
- Be a sipper, not a chugger! Some people do drink enough water, but they tend to let hours go by before chugging a large quantity all at once, drowning their kidneys and maybe even doing more harm than good. When we sip, we give the water to the kidneys at a rate that they can most effectively use it. During these humid summer months in Georgia, it’s even more important to drink throughout the day to replace all the water we lose when we sweat.
- Find a water bottle you love. If you’re going to be a steady sipper, then you’ll need a reliable bottle that you can take everywhere you go. There are several great brands on the market. I’m a fan of the 750 ml Camelbaks because they fit in the cup holders in the car and the cardio equipment at the gym, and they don’t break if you drop them.
- Add fresh lemon or lime to your water. This will make it more refreshing, and you’ll likely drink more. Lemon and lime also serve as an antioxidant boost and help keep your systemic pH balanced.
- Flavor it up for kids. If you think it’s hard for adults to remember to drink water, it’s even harder to keep our kids adequately hydrated. With all the running around they do, they tend to lose more moisture through sweat as well. For years I’ve been urging my friends and Longevity patients to stay away from Crystal Light packets, because they were full of artificial sweeteners. At last, this company got with the program and came out with an all-natural variety, Crystal Light Pure. They are sweetened with stevia and real sugar (less than a teaspoon per serving) and contain 15 calories per serving. Trader Joe’s makes a similar product called Fast Flavor Sticks (also 15 calories per serving). These flavor packets might just do the trick in getting your child to drink enough water! Please keep your family away from any beverages or flavor packets sweetened with high artificial sweeteners like fructose corn syrup, Splenda or aspartame!
- Kill two birds with one stone. Or as my husband says, hit two ducks in the butt with one rock! As long as you’re drinking water, you might as well add other things your body could use as well. I personally love Emergen-C packets. They can be purchased in a variety of flavors at any grocery store and they’re a great way to increase electrolytes, combat cellular damage and boost the immune system. Sometimes I also add a little liquid chlorophyll to my water to help increase my mineral intake.
- Know the signs of dehydration. Fatigue, irritability, anxiety, cravings, cramps and headaches are all signals that you could be dehydrated. (We’re so quick to take pain medicine for these symptoms when what we really need is to DRINK WATER!) Unfortunately, by the time we recognize these symptoms, we’re already very behind on our water intake. That’s why it’s best to proactively drink all day long!
So if you’re reading this, you know what to do. Get up right now and get yourself a nice tall glass of water! It’s one of the easiest things we can do to take care of our health and meet our bodies’ nutritional needs today. I’ll drink to that!