Let’s talk about hydration.

Why is drinking water and staying hydrated so important?  Well, for starters, you can go about 8 weeks without food, but only a few days without water! Water is also the most common nutritional deficiency in the United States and hydration is a foundation for optimal health.  Water has numerous roles including flushing toxins from your body, cushioning joints and ligaments, moistening oxygen for easier breathing, delivering nutrients and oxygen to your cells, and transporting waste away from your body.

Hydration is so critical and dehydration can often be the culprit for many ailments.  Dehydration is often responsible for headaches, fatigue, constipation, heartburn, joint pain, cramps, cravings, irritability, and even depression. It can also lead to very significant health problems including digestive, cardiovascular, immune, and musculoskeletal issues.

People often ask how much water they should be drinking a day.  The idea of drinking 8 glasses a day is not always right for everyone.  Why? Because everyone is different and has unique nutritional needs.  There is a pretty simple formula, however, that everyone can use to know how much to drink on the average day.  Take your body weight (lbs) and divide that number by 2. That will tell you the minimum number of fluid ounces to drink in a day. There are exceptions to this rule, however, depending on climate, the number of diuretic beverages consumed, the amount of physical activity, or when experiencing intense stress or even blood sugar dysregulation.  The amount to drink should always be tailored to an individual’s needs.

Here are some tips for hydrating properly:

  • Sip, do not chug: Sipping water throughout the day will ensure that the water is absorbed and utilized more efficiently.
  • Add a pinch of sea salt: Sea salt contains lots of important minerals, including electrolytes that help your body absorb and use the water you drink. If you over-consume water without electrolytes added, all the electrolytes will be excreted in the urine.
  • Drink only a little bit or none during meals: The body relies on stomach acid to aid in digestion. If too much water is consumed during a meal, then this will dilute the acid and negatively impact your digestion
  • Do not over-hydrate! More is not always the answer when it comes to hydration.  Over-consuming water can actually lead to some of the same ailments as dehydration.
  • Drink from clean sources and use a water filter for drinking and bathing.
  • Carry around a reusable water bottle (preferably glass or stainless steel). This will help to track how much water you’re drinking throughout the day and eliminate waste.