Proper hydration is crucial to health. Most of the space in our cells and around our cells is water. Water makes up over half of our body mass. Water improves oxygen delivery to cells and helps maintain normal electrical properties of our cells (yes, we are electrical). It makes up our blood liquid and transports nutrients. It is a critical method for our immune system and innumerable processes in our bodies: part of our joints and absorbs shock and cushions our bones, helps us regulate body temperature, helps remove waste and flush toxins and many others.
We lose water in many ways every day as it evaporates or gets used in a body process. Let’s replenish it. In these times we live in homes with constant de-humidification, we are drinking diuretics, and our prescription or OTC drugs can dehydrate us.
You might think, “But I’m not thirsty.” We can lose our sense of thirst! Not thirsty does not mean we are hydrated. We lose it with age or with chronic dehydration. Signs of dehydration: a headache, constipation, high blood pressure, fatigue, edema, dark colored urine, thirst, lack of thirst.
Let’s get it right:
- Calculate how many ounces you likely need (see below)
- Start your day with lemon water
- Increase amount of water slowly and daily
- Add salt! (good sea salt – a pinch in your glass or water bottle) and salt foods to taste
- Drink water mostly between meals and sip at meals if necessary
- Diuretics (coffee, tea, soda, commercial juice) increase your need for water
To calculate how much water you should drink, take your body weight and divide by 2. For most people the maximum is around 100 ounces per day.
Example 1: If you weigh 175 pounds, divide that by 2 : 87.5. This is the number of ounces you should drink to be hydrated. Remember there are other factors here (body fat composition, heavy workouts, dry environment) but this is a good rule to work towards. For our example, that’s about 10 and a half cups or 4 – 20 ounce water bottles or 5 and a half 16 ounce water bottles.
Example 2: 125 pounds person: 62.5 ounces, That’s almost 8 8 ounce glasses or 4 – 16 ounce bottles. However, if this person ran 5 miles every day they would likely need more than what this calculation provides.
Tips for a successful transition: Work your way up. Start slowly, add 8 to 16 ounces a day until you get to desired amount per day. Add some lemon to the water if you don’t like water taste Remember why it’s important. Fill up a larger container to refill from or line up all the bottles or cups for the day so that you can meet your goals.
Water AND salt, why?
Your body maintains a balance of water and minerals. The fluid in your body uses minerals to maintain balance and move nutrients and water in and out of cells. If you increase fluids or salt (sodium) too quickly then your body will be out of balance until all the cells move back into balance. This is a good reason to balance the minerals (by using a good sea salt) and the water you drink, to increase it slowly and to be aware of how much good quality salt you get and avoid high levels of just sodium (found in table salt and processed foods). We also want good levels (balance) of sodium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. You can drink a huge amount of water and not be hydrated if your minerals are out of balance.
Drink more water in between meals. To transition to more water, start drinking more whenever you think of it or at least 30 minutes before meals, as you go further drink more between meals and limit fluids during meals. Drink a glass of room temperature water (with or without lemon) first thing in the morning (gets the bowels and digestive system primed).
Your Body’s Many Cries for Water by F. Batmanghelidj, M.D.