Are you dehydrated and don’t even know it?
Many of the body’s signals that it needs more water are often misinterpreted: sallow skin, sugar cravings, fatigue, constipation.
We all know we should drink more water, but sometimes it feels like a chore to pack a water bottle around all day. What if filling your body with plenty of fresh water could easily solve many common complaints?
Water is not only essential to our survival (after all, we can survive for a month or more without eating food, but only for a few days to a week without drinking water), but also comprises nearly ¾ of the earth and more than half of the human body. Ingesting enough water keeps your skin young and glowing by hydrating it from within.
Consider these statistics:
- The human body is more than 60 percent water
- Blood is 92 percent water
- The brain and muscles are 75 percent water
- Bones are about 22 percent water
- 20 percent of the skin is water
If the body’s reserve of water dips below just 2.5 percent of your body weight, you will lose 25 percent of your efficiency.
Other Functions of Water:
- Carries nutrients to every cell in your body
- Reduces bloating and swelling
- Improves circulation, blood flow and lubricates your joints
- Prevents muscle soreness after physical exercise
- Helps keep breath fresh
- Aids in the removal of stored fat
- Reduces chances for bladder infections and kidney stones
- Diminishes sugar cravings
Water also keeps the bowel moving. When there isn’t enough water in the system, the body finds water where it can. A reserve of water can be found in the colon, so the body will take that water, leaving you constipated. The upside is that getting your bowel moving could be as easy as drinking more water!
With all of this information you would think that people would be chugging water like LeBron James at half-time! Sadly, that’s not the case. Through my work as a health coach, I ask my clients questions about their health during our consultations. “Do you drink enough water?” I ask. The answer 9 times out of 10 is an emphatic, “Yes! I drink a ton of water!” When I do some more digging I find that their idea of a ton of water is about a liter. Clearly, not enough and hardly a ton. The reality is that every one’s body is different. We all have varied needs.
The ideal amount of water for the human body is about half its weight in ounces a day.
For example, a man who weighs 175 pounds would do fine on 87 ounces of water a day (about 10-11 cups). However, if he plays sports, or if it’s hot outside, he will need more.
How do you know when you’re drinking enough water?
- The urine will appear pale yellow or clear.
- You will find that you aren’t thirsty.
- You will have energy
- Your eyes will be bright and clear
- Your mood will be even
Quantity isn’t the only thing we need to be aware of – the quality and safety of water are equally important.
The New York Times reports that U.S drinking water is not only dirty but dangerous. The article states:
|…………..||More than 20 percent of the nation’s water treatment systems have violated key provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act over the last five years ….Water provided to more than 49 million people has contained illegal concentrations of chemicals like arsenic or radioactive substances like uranium, as well as dangerous bacteria often found in sewage.|
That’s not all. According to the USA Today, trace amounts of pharmaceuticals are showing up in tap water. The city of Philadelphia discovered “medicines for pain, infection, high cholesterol, asthma, epilepsy, mental illness and heart problems. Sixty-three pharmaceuticals or byproducts were found in the city’s watersheds.” In addition, “anti-epileptic and anti-anxiety medications were detected in a portion of the treated drinking water for 18.5 million people in Southern California.”
What can you do to ensure that you are getting enough clean and healthy water?
Install a good home water filtration system.
You can compare products for yourself by going to this site which has a chart that shows you everything from efficacy to price. I installed both a faucet filter in my kitchen to filter my drinking water and a shower filter to catch the reported 8 cups of chlorine that can accompany a 10-minute shower. It cost about $150 and the filter needs to be changed twice a year on each unit.
Ditch the plastic!
Plastic water bottles release many harmful toxins including a chemical that mimics estrogen, which in turn creates a hormonal imbalance in the body with long-term use.
I have found the best tasting water is in glass bottles. Mountain Valley Spring Water is my personal favorite – it comes from a pristine source in Arkansas.
If you plan to carry water around with you, get a stainless steel container like the Klean Kanteen.
More things to think about…
It’s best to drink water about 20 minutes before a meal, and then wait about 30 minutes to drink after. Drinking during a meal can dilute stomach acid and create sluggish digestion.
Drinking water too close to bedtime will create urgency in the bladder throughout the night. Sleeping through the night is important, so curtail water usage as nighttime approaches.
My favorite thing ever is a habit I call “Morning Water.” Drink about 10 ounces of room temperature water first thing in the morning. You will find that you are instantly more awake, your elimination process gets a jump-start and your mood will lift.
I promise that using these tools will make you look better, feel better and smell better. So, drink up!
For more information on how dire the quest for clean water is on a global scale, I highly recommend watching the documentary film “Flow” which addresses the issue of privatization of water. http://www.flowthefilm.com/
Copy Editor: Jennifer Smith