There is so much controversy in the world of wellness on what is actually “healthy” for you. Personally, I am a huge believer in bio-individuality, and that one person’s food can be another person’s poison, in other words, what might be extremely healing for you may not be as beneficial for your friend. However, water is the one thing that I can say is, without a doubt, essential for all people. After all, our body is made up of about 70% water so it makes sense that ingesting water is an absolute necessity for every cell in our body in order to function properly.
Many of us know how important water is, however, believe it or not, 60 to 75 percent of Americans do not drink enough water on a daily basis.
So, what are the benefits of drinking water exactly?
A whopping 85% of our brain is made up of water, so it is no surprise that dehydration is linked to a decrease in mood and cognitive performance. A dehydration level of just 2 percent is enough to impair performance in tasks that require attention, psychomotor function, and immediate memory skills, and if electrolyte levels are too low, dehydration can cause involuntary muscle twitching and even seizures.
Kidneys and Urinary System
Being adequately hydrated is essential in helping our bodies work through the toxic load we breathe in and ingest every day. The kidneys are the main filter of the blood, and without enough fluid, they can naturally break down and expel all the toxins found in our bloodstream. This can result in something called acute kidney injury, a form of damage that puts you
at higher risk for kidney disease. Further, lack of fluid intake also can be a major contributor to kidney stone formation as well as low blood pressure.
Without adequate hydration, your blood gets thicker and your body has to compensate and work harder to move it which increases your heart and respiratory rate. This essentially puts the body into stress and the brain into a state of fight-or-flight, which can then cause one to experience things like headaches, fatigue, eye strain, decreased sex drive, and decreased sleep quality.
Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to ensure optimal digestion of food, detoxification of toxins through the GI tract, and adequate motility, the movement of waste through your digestive system. When we are dehydrated, we risk damaging the mucosal lining of the gut and microbiome, which are important to both your digestion and overall health.
Yet another reason to stay hydrated, glowing skin! Healthy skin acts as a natural barrier against germs from our environment, but insufficient fluid intake can cause cracked lips and dry, dull skin, where pathogens can enter.
Bonus tip: Add a squeeze of lemon in your water for some extra anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, alkaline, and vitamin C benefits for healthier skin!
So, how much water do we need?
Many factors contribute to how much water one should consume including body size, activity level, age, diet, and how much alcohol and coffee you drink. There are many opinions on how much water we should consume on a daily basis, however, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a typical adult woman needs 11.5 cups of water a day, while a man needs 15.5 cups. The average person takes in around 20 percent of their water needs through food, which means women should drink about 9 cups a day, and men should drink 12.5. A good basic rule of thumb is to divide your body weight (in pounds) by 2. This gives you how many ounces of water you should be drinking each day. Then, to find your optimal amount of 8 oz cups per day, divide that number by 8.
Pay attention to your urine
- Experts recommend that we must drink enough fluids to urinate every three to four hours and urine should be a light yellow color. If your urine is dark in color, this is often a sign that you may not be drinking enough.
Try healthy alternatives to plain water
- Infuse plain water with fruits to make it more interesting! My favorite additions are lemon slices, cucumber, and mint! Other hydrating drinks include bone broth, sparkling water, herbal teas, cold-pressed juices, and unsweetened nut milk. Coconut water is also a delicious way to soak up hydrating vitamins and minerals and is one of nature’s most hydrating drinks.
Eat water-rich foods
- Water-rich fruit and vegetables, such as cucumbers and celery, are packed with electrolytes like magnesium, calcium potassium, and sodium, which are key components to staying hydrated! As many of you may know, another way I love to stay hydrated while also increasing my nutrient intake is by consuming soup! Check out my S.O.U.P cleanse to rejuvenate your body and jumpstart a healthy lifestyle!
Be aware of dehydrating foods and diets
- High-protein diets can be dehydrating, so it is especially important to hydrate and incorporate water-carrying veggies regularly if you are following a paleo or keto plan. Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, meaning they can cause you to actually lose water. So make sure to balance your caffeinated and boozy drinks with at least the same amount of H2O.
Since we were kids, we have been told to “drink water” in response to every complaint and ailment growing up, and although we know that water is not a cure-all, it is pretty close to it. Staying hydrated is vital for the proper functioning of every organ and each system in our body. If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated, so fill up your favorite water jug and bring it everywhere with you to remind yourself to hydrate throughout the day!
I treat myself with an artesian water from the Austrian Alps, called Hallstein!