Water Is The Bomb
It can cure a headache in minutes, curb your cravings for sweets and even get rid of that acid reflux you’ve been suffering from, yet dehydration is still one of the most common medical conditions in the world!
If this clear drink of the gods (no not vodka people) is such a miracle why are so many people suffering from symptoms associated with dehydration?
Are you unknowingly suffering too? I dunno, let's find out.
How Much Water is Enough Water?
If you are drinking 8 eight oz glasses of water a day, you are doing it all wrong. Yep I said it, you are wrong. Well, unless you are a 12 year old…or you weigh less than 130 pounds (not it!). Then you were right!
But for the rest of us full grown (non petit) adults a good rule of thumb on how much water to consume daily is to drink half your weight in oz. For example if you weigh 150 el beez then you would drink 75oz of water every day to keep your body running at its most efficient (what is efficient exactly? I’ll get into that later). You’ll need to drink more if you are more active but not less if you are less active (nice try).
A great way to know if you are getting enough water is the pee check, the darker your pee the more water you need, if it’s on the clear side you're in the clear (Unless you’re drinking beer. Again, nice try, get'n all sneaky on me eh?).
Coffee Is Water, Right?
Nooooooooo! Coffee SO does not count toward your water intake, as a matter of fact many in the health world would argue the more coffee (or any caffeinated drink) you consume the more water you’ll need to drink. Why?
Coffee and any other drinks containing caffein or alcohol (tea, beer, soda, double whiskey redbulls, etc) are diuretics, which basically means they make you pee more. They can also stimulate your bowels, which make you do other things more too (morning coffee=morning constitution, don't forget the poo pourri!).
I digress. Because all these bodily functions are being stimulated you are loosing water even faster. Because you are loosing water faster you are becoming dehydrated faster.
So what DOES count you ask!?!?
Any drink that is water based that is NOT sweetened and NOT caffeinated. Think unsweetened herbal tea, think sparkling water, heck even water straight up on the rocks with a squeeze of lemon will do.
But myyyyyy sparkly fizzy fruit infused water only has 3 calories and is sweetened with natural sweetners you say. I smack it out of your well manicured hand and tell you, “It. don’t. count”.
So what does water do for us and our bodies? In short, water helps your body work at its most efficient.
In long, water helps with all thisssssss….
Food cravings, especially for sweets. “When you’re dehydrated, it can be difficult for some nutrients and organs like the liver which use water to release some glycogens (a storage of glucose) and other components of your energy stores, so you can actually get cravings for food. While you can crave anything from chocolate to a salty snack, cravings for sweets are more common because your body may be experiencing difficulty with glycogen production.
Joint Pain or Stiffness. All joints have cartilage padding, which covers the bone structures in the joint, providing necessary lubrication. The cartilage itself is composed mainly of water. When the body is dehydrated, cartilage is weakened and joint repair is slow. According to Dr. Batmanghelidj, the joints in which the pain is felt depends on where the localized drought has set in. Drinking water can reduce pain in your joints by keeping the cartilage soft and hydrated. This is actually how glucosamine helps reduce joint pain, by aiding in cartilage’s absorption of water.
High blood pressure. The blood is normally about 94 percent water when the body is fully hydrated. When dehydrated, the blood is thicker causing resistance to blood flow, which thus can raise blood pressure.
High cholesterol. When the body is dehydrated, it will produce more cholesterol to seal off water loss from the cells. Cholesterol deposits within the cell membrane act to prevent additional cell water loss, ultimately for survival.
Foggy Memory, Irritability, and More. Dehydration, even mild dehydration, has been shown to put stress on our cognitive functioning. In younger adults, for instance, dehydration was linked to a dip in concentration and short-term memory, as well as an increase in feelings of anxiety and irritability. With children, studies are more conclusive that hydration can improve attention and memory. Be happy. Research says dehydration can affect your mood and make you grumpy and confused.3 Think clearer and be happier by drinking more water.
Weight Gain. When dehydrated, cells are depleted of energy. They then have to rely on energy generation from food rather than water. People thus tend to eat more when, in reality, the body is thirsty. In addition, the body will not metabolize fat unless the body is adequately hydrated to safely remove dangerous toxins that are often stored in fat cells. Sometimes we think we are hungry, when actually we are thirsty. Our body just starts turning on all the alarms when we ignore it. For those of you trying to drop some pounds, staying hydrated can serve as appetite suppressant and assist in faster weight loss.
In addition hydration Can Boost Your metabolism, Although the evidence is limited, your metabolism could benefit from drinking cold water. In fact, one study found that drinking cold water helped boost healthy men and women’s metabolic rate by 30 percent.
Digestive Disorders. The body needs an adequate supply of water to produce a wide array of digestive juices. A shortage of water and alkaline minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, can lead to a host of digestive disorders, including ulcers, gastritis and acid reflux. In addition our digestive system needs water to function properly. Waste is flushed out in the form of urine and sweat. If we don't drink water, we don't flush out waste and it collects in our body causing a myriad of problems. Also combined with fiber, water can cure constipation.
Asthma and Allergies. Another way the body rations water when dehydrated, as a survival mechanism, is by restricting airways. Respiratory problems are key symptoms of chronic dehydration. The rate of histamine produced by the body increases exponentially as the body loses more and more water.
According to Water for Health, for Healing, for Life, chronic dehydration “is the primary cause of allergies and asthma in the human body.” Drinking plenty of water is the single most important natural remedy for asthma.
Glowing Skin. Our skin is the largest organ in our body. Regular and plentiful water consumption can improve the color and texture of your skin by keeping it building new cells properly. Drinking water also helps premature aging.
When the body is chronically dehydrated, the skin begins to wrinkle prematurely. More importantly, what we don’t see is the same wrinkling and withering effect on the internal organs. The most effective and the most inexpensive way (by far!) to slow the aging process is to drink enough water, especially as we get older.
Skin Disorders/Diseases. The skin is the largest elimination organ in the human body. In a dehydrated body, the first site for water conservation is the skin. Dehydration impairs the elimination of toxins through the skin and makes it more vulnerable to all types of skin disorders, including dermatitis and psoriasis, as well as premature wrinkling and discoloration.
Constipation. The colon is one of the first places the body pulls water when it is short of water in order to provide fluids for other critical functions in the body. Without adequate water, wastes move through the large intestines much more slowly. In fact, sometimes they don’t move at all. Thus, constipation is almost always one of the primary symptoms of chronic dehydration.
Bladder or Kidney Problems. As with all of the organs of elimination, when the body is dehydrated, toxins are not eliminated as well. The accumulation of toxins and acid waste create an environment where bacteria thrive. Thus, when dehydrated the bladder and kidney become more prone to infection, inflammation and pain.
A Few Fun Facts
Your body is composed of roughly 60% water. That means when we are dehydrated – and most of us spend our days constantly dehydrated to some degree – we are affecting the performance of the majority of our body. Nearly all of our bodily systems do not function as well without proper water intake If you don’t drink water, you will die. It's that important.
Depending on our environment, we can live only a few days without water – maybe a week. We can live much longer without food.
75 Percent of Americans Are Chronically Dehydrated. A survey of 3,003 Americans found that 75 percent likely had a net fluid loss, resulting in chronic dehydration. Although the survey found that Americans drank about eight servings of hydrating beverages per day, this is offset by drinking caffeinated beverages and alcohol and eating a diet high in sodium.
And… Some Helpful Tips:
- Drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water (if you weight 150lbs, drink 75 oz of water each day).
- Carry a bottle everywhere with you as a reminder to keep drinking. Make a note of how many times you finish/fill up
- Eat raw fruits and vegetables – they are dense in water. You can get water from food, not just from beverages.
- The more clear it is, the more you're in the clear. Drink water and other fluids until you urinate frequently and with light color.
- Drink warm water with a lemon squeeze every morning to get the body and stomach starting off in an alkaline state, as well as get a head start on water intake and get things moving.
I don’t always drink water, but when I do, it's clear and unsweetened. Stay thirsty my friends :)