Hydrating for Your HealthNov 22, 2021
This may seem like a topic that is overly discussed, but in this summer heat … talking about hydration is a must!
Did you know your body is made up of about 55-60% water? Proper hydration is critical because water is also responsible for every process in your human body which is pretty amazing for something that many of us take for granted. If you’re not drinking enough water you may not be giving your body enough fuel to combat everyday stresses, fight fatigue, keep your digestion moving, your metabolism efficient, even the elasticity in your skin…along with many others. Whether it’s experiencing sweating in the summer heat or dry skin in the winter chill, water is key to keeping your body healthy on a cellular level.
In your body, as I mentioned above, water has a role in your metabolism, protecting your cells, regulating your body temperature (ie: sweating), aiding in digestion to breakdown your food, helping deliver oxygen throughout your entire body, aiding in digestion from saliva production (which also houses digestive enzymes), lubricating joints, flushing unwanted toxins from the body (mostly in urine and bowel movements), helping your beautiful brain create hormones and neurotransmitters, transports nutrients from your foods (especially water soluble vitamins), and keeping your cells rejuvenated and properly reproducing. You literally can NOT live without water.
The amount of water you need can vary. You’ll need increased amounts if you exercise and sweat, if you’re active throughout the day, if you’re not eating enough water-containing foods, or if you eat a high fiber diet. Also, pay attention to the color of your urine – ideally it should be pale yellow/clear, and if it’s dark yellow this a good indicator you may need more water!
And, if that didn’t convince you about the importance of hydration … here are 5 Reasons to Drink More Water
- Digestion. From rehydrating after being sick (ie: the runs), to keeping things moving and preventing constipation and general digestive health, water plays a huge role in your digestion. Your large intestine is responsible for pulling water back from the colon if you’re dehydrated after not drinking enough water, which may increase the risk of constipation. Prevent it by focusing on hydration and making sure you’re drinking water all day long and eating high water containing foods like fruits and vegetables daily.
- Weight loss. Did you know when we feel hungry, we may actually just be thirsty? Staying hydrated not only keeps your hunger cues more accurate, but you’re also more likely to not mistake thirst for hunger.
- Kidney/Liver health. Water helps both your kidneys and liver flush out toxins and any other by-products from your metabolism that is no longer needed in the body. The kidneys’ main job is removal of waste, and you can be assured this process keeps going smoothly by drinking enough water to stay hydrated and give room for your kidneys to do their thing and maintain balance.
- Headaches. Suffer from migraines or headaches? Studies have shown that being dehydrated can be a trigger for headache sufferers. If you are experiencing a headache, try drinking 2 cups of water – sometimes symptoms go away or lessen within 30 minutes to an hour.
- Fitness. From swimming in water for aerobic exercise, drinking water to rehydrate after an intense workout, or using it to ice our legs after a workout to decrease pain, water has an important role in physical fitness. Not to mention, it’s energizing and keeps your mental focus sharp and alert – both essential for a great mind-body connection.
Some of the most delicious whole foods are full of natural water such as raw fruits, vegetables, all-natural smoothies or juices. Not only does it assist in your hydration by eating these foods, but you’re also consuming vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants at the same time – complete added bonus!
Not All Water is Created Equal
Drinking water obviously is important for our body, but the source of our water is just as important. Water can have various pollutants from manmade materials, heavy metals, naturally occurring chemicals like arsenic, factory farming practices with water runoff, sewage leaks, waste practices, improper chemical discarding (think of prescription medication down the drain or other harmful chemicals), and general environmental toxins. Luckily, if you’re living in a developed country, you’re fortunate to have somewhat-clean drinking water. The US also has the EPA and other resources provided that can help us view the quality of our drinking water.
And guess what?! Bottled water isn’t better. Here are some products I enjoy for clean water: House System Filters are my favorite. I first purchased a system at a rental home, and I was able to bring it to our house when we moved. When your entire house is filtered, that means your shower/bath water is clean, the water to clean your sheets and clothes are clean…it’s all clean! Brita water filters/pitchers, faucet water filters, shower water filters and water filter bottles for on-the go. I love the on-the-go filters because they are perfect to keep one in the house, the car, the gym, the office, etc.
So, today, I leave you with a challenge for the rest of your week! Try to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water per day or until the color of your urine is pale yellow-clear, which is a much better indicator of hydration. Creating one healthy habit at a time can have a huge impact on your life. Don’t wait for tomorrow…start today!