This advice has been drilled into our heads since we learned about nutrition basics in elementary school.
Yet, despite the constant reminders, as many as 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated!
As we discussed in our "Do This To Stay Healthy All Summer Long" coaching tip, there are a variety of REAL foods that can help you stay hydrated. And, water is also super-important!
Why is drinking water so important?
For starters, did you know that staying sufficiently hydrated can reduce your risk of breast cancer by 79%?
It's true! We all know the importance of staying hydrated but, for most of us, our knowledge of water's importance probably stops right there! Making up as much as 75% of our body weight, water does a lot more than just hydrate:
- Cools you down! Water regulates your body temperature by allowing you to perspire, which cools your skin and blood.
- Lubricates your joints, eyes, nose, mouth and the air you breath.
- Moisturizes and prevents your skin from becoming dry and itchy.
- Reduces acne by reducing the level of the stress hormone, cortisol.
- Keeps you regular -- removes waste and prevents constipation.
- Maximizes energy and prevents headaches, lethargy and dizziness.
- Strengthens your natural healing process.
- Controls hunger -- water even acts as a calorie-free, caffeine-free appetite suppressant.
Are you under-hydrated?
Even though you may not actually be DEhydrated, you may very well be living in a constant state of UNDERhydration, which can cause dizziness, headaches, lethargy or confusion. Research and studies also show that chronic underhydration and dehydration can be underlying causes to conditions such as asthma, allergies, arthritis, migraine headaches, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, kidney stones, urinary tract cancer, colon cancer and more.
How much water should you drink?
A useful rule of thumb is to drink ½ ounce a day for every pound you weigh.
That’s 75 ounces (nearly 9½ cups) for a person weighing 150 pounds.
Tips to help get enough water in your day:
- Create the habit of having a water bottle with you all day. Keep one in the car and one at your desk. Drink throughout the day using one glass every hour as a guideline.
- ”Clear water down the pipes means clear water out the pipes.“ Urine that is cloudy or darker than light yellow (the clearer the better) is a sign of dehydration and that means—you need more water!
- Quantity matters. Make sure you’re ”producing enough“ when you do empty the tank. (And emptying your tank in the middle of the night can actually be a good sign of proper hydration!)
- Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to grab another glass. By the time you are aware of the "thirsty signal," your body has already lost 1-2 percent of its body weight.
- Drink a glass of water to re-hydrate yourself before having a caffeinated beverage or juice.
- Drink even more when physically active, the weather is hot and humid, or you’re fighting an illness.
- Start each morning with at least 8-16 ounces of water—believe it or not, your body wakes up dehydrated and needs to replenish as soon as you begin the day.
What if water gets boring?
The biggest benefit to adding a little pizzazz to your water is you will drink more of it if it has more flavor! Here are just a few of our favorite ideas!
Juice from fresh lemons, limes and oranges increases your intake of vitamin C, flavonoids and antioxidants, which help pump up your immune system. Start infusing your water -- add a variety of fruit such as lemon, lime, orange, strawberries, cucumber and even fresh herbs -- a couple of our favorite combinations are cucumber mint and strawberry basil!
It really is as simple as adding fruit slices (or even frozen fruit) to a pitcher of water a few hours or the night before serving. Try these ideas!
This is the only kind of soda pop we keep in our house and we love it!
Simply combine 100% fruit juice with sparkling seltzer water. And the best part? Everyone can customize to their personal level of sweetness! The key, of course, is to not add so much fruit juice that it raises your sugar intake and compromises the benefits of drinking water.
Flavored Iced Tea - 3 ways!
These iced teas will keep you hydrated AND filled with antioxidants.
Plus, in these recipes we recommend cold brewing because it not only saves a step, but also protects the precious antioxidants in the tea, which can become damaged by hot water.
What do you like to do when water gets boring?
We would love to hear your ideas!
Stats to remember:
- The University of Sheffield, England, found that staying sufficiently hydrated reduced the risk of breast cancer by 79% for women in their study.
- A 1996 study of 20,000 men and women who drank five or more glasses of water each day over six years had less risk of a fatal heart attack than those who drank two glasses or fewer each day—41% less chance for women and 54% less chance for men as reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
- Two different studies, one by the National Cancer Institute, showed that women who drank five or more glasses of water a day were 45% less likely to develop colon cancer than women who drank fewer than two glasses a day.