“Outsourcing Your H2O”
Did you know that the human body is made up of approximately 60% water? That means for an average adult male weighing around 154 pounds, a whopping 93 pounds of their body weight is made up of water! What this means is proper hydration is crucial to the body and all of its systems so let’s take a further look into our water supply options, and why this becomes important.
*An interesting note – different parts of the body have varying water percentages! For example, did you know that the brain and heart are composed of approximately 73% water? And even more astonishing, the lungs are about 83% water!
So the question becomes, how do you know when you need more water? Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluids than it takes in. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as not drinking enough water, sweating excessively, or experiencing vomiting or diarrhea. Here are some signs and symptoms of dehydration to watch out for:
- Thirst: Thirst is often the first sign of dehydration. If you feel thirsty, your body is telling you that it needs more fluids.
- Dry mouth and throat: When you’re dehydrated, your mouth and throat may feel dry and parched.
- Dark urine: Dehydration can cause your urine to become darker in color and more concentrated.
- Fatigue: When you’re dehydrated, you may feel tired and sluggish.
- Headaches: Dehydration can cause headaches and migraines.
- Dizziness or lightheadedness: Dehydration can cause you to feel dizzy or lightheaded, especially when you stand up.
- Dry skin: When you’re dehydrated, your skin may become dry and less elastic.
- Muscle cramps: Dehydration can cause muscle cramps, especially in your legs and arms.
- Rapid heartbeat: Dehydration can cause your heart rate to increase.
- Confusion or irritability: Severe dehydration can cause confusion, irritability, and even delirium.
- Hunger: YES, dehydration can sometimes be confused for hunger in the body. When you’re dehydrated, your body may send signals that can be interpreted as hunger, even though what you really need is water. This can be especially true if you’re not used to paying attention to your body’s signals or if you’re in the habit of eating whenever you feel any discomfort. If you’re feeling hungry but have recently eaten, try drinking a glass of water first and waiting a few minutes to see if the hunger subsides. If it does, then you were likely just thirsty and not actually hungry.
Based on the list above how many people can raise their hand in knowing they are dehydrated? Yep, I thought so. It is estimated that up to 75% of the population is chronically dehydrated. That’s wild!
What’s in it for me? Many people have been chronically dehydrated for so long they don’t understand there is anything wrong. They have become conditioned to the feeling of dehydration. So, in addition to the well-known benefits of hydration, such as maintaining healthy skin, supporting digestion, and regulating body temperature, there are also some lesser-known benefits that may surprise you. Here are a few:
- Improved cognitive function: Proper hydration has been shown to have a positive impact on cognitive function, including memory, attention, and reaction time. Drinking water regularly throughout the day can help you stay mentally sharp and focused.
- Reduced joint pain: Staying hydrated can help reduce joint pain and stiffness, particularly in people with osteoarthritis. Water helps keep the joints lubricated and can also help reduce inflammation, leading to less pain and discomfort.
- Increased athletic performance: Proper hydration is essential for athletic performance. When you’re properly hydrated, your body is better able to regulate its temperature, maintain blood flow to the muscles, and produce energy efficiently. This can lead to improved endurance, strength, and overall performance.
- Improved mood: Dehydration can lead to fatigue, irritability, and poor mood. Drinking enough water can help boost your mood and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
- Better sleep: Staying hydrated can help improve sleep quality and duration. Dehydration can cause sleep disruptions, so drinking enough water throughout the day can help you get a good night’s rest.
Don’t these benefits sound nice? Who wouldn’t want these in their life?
How much water you drink in a day will vary but a commonly cited rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight (in pounds) in ounces of water each day. An example is a 160 lb male should drink 80 oz of water daily.
The type of water you should be drinking depends on a variety of factors, such as your location, availability, and personal preferences. In general, drinking clean and safe water is essential for good health. It is recommended to drink water that is free from harmful contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, pesticides, and other pollutants.
Here are some common types of water you might encounter:
- Tap water: This is the water that comes out of your faucet at home or work. It is generally treated with chemicals to make it safe to drink, but the quality can vary depending on your location. Some people prefer to use filters to remove impurities and improve taste.
- Bottled water: This is water that has been packaged and sold in plastic bottles. It can come from a variety of sources, including springs, purified water, or tap water that has been treated. It is important to choose a reputable brand that is transparent about its water source and treatment process.
- Filtered water: This is water that has been treated to remove impurities such as chlorine, lead, or other contaminants. It can be filtered at home using devices such as pitcher filters, faucet filters, or reverse osmosis systems.
- Mineral water: This is water that contains naturally occurring minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It can be bottled or come from natural springs.
- Structured water: This is water that has been restructured to have a more organized molecular arrangement. It is believed by some to have potential health benefits such as improved hydration and better absorption of nutrients. Structured water can be created through various methods including vortexing, magnetic fields, or passing water through certain materials.
How did structured water make the list you might ask? Japanese researcher Dr. Masaru Emoto conducted a series of experiments that involved exposing water to different words, music, and images and then freezing the water to observe the crystal formations that were created.
According to Emoto, the water that was exposed to positive words and emotions, such as love and gratitude, formed beautiful, symmetrical crystals when frozen. In contrast, water that was exposed to negative words and emotions, such as hate and anger, formed distorted and asymmetrical crystals.
What about distilled water you might ask? Great question and personally at the top of my list BUT there are some factors to consider. During the distilling process, many impurities such as minerals, salts, and other contaminants are left behind in the original water source. This results in water that is almost entirely pure, with a very low mineral content.
Distilled water is often used in scientific and medical applications that require very pure water, such as laboratory experiments or medical procedures. It can also be used in household appliances such as steam irons or humidifiers, as the lack of minerals in the water can help prevent mineral buildup and clogging.
However, because distilled water is almost entirely pure, it will not contain the proper minerals needed to regulate the bodies ph levels. Some experts believe that drinking water that contains minerals is important for overall health and can provide essential nutrients. It is also possible to experience an electrolyte imbalance if distilled water is consumed excessively over a prolonged period of time. Therefore, it is important to use distilled water appropriately and as directed.
Adding trace minerals to your drinking water can actually provide some pretty amazing benefits? Especially if you’re regularly drinking distilled or demineralized water, which can lack essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium that are required by your body for a variety of biological processes.
Distillation, reverse osmosis, and other filtration methods can strip your water of these trace minerals and leave it lacking in crucial nutrients. But by adding them back in, you can help to restore your water to its natural, healthful state.
Calcium and magnesium, for example, are crucial for building strong bones and teeth, while potassium helps regulate blood pressure and maintain proper fluid balance in your body. So by adding trace minerals to your water, you’re not only hydrating yourself, but also giving your body the nutrients it needs to function at its best!
So, when should you drink water? Let me guess, you are tired of feeling sluggish and dehydrated throughout the day. Look no further than integrative health experts’ recommendations for optimal water intake timing. Start your morning off right by hydrating your body and revving up your metabolism with a refreshing glass of water. Don’t forget to sip throughout the day to keep yourself energized and alert. And before you dig into your next meal, quench your thirst and help prevent overeating by drinking water beforehand. Whether you’re hitting the gym or just lounging at home, replenish your fluids with water before, during, and after exercise. And if you feel thirsty, listen to your body and hydrate accordingly.
“What if I don’t like water?” I hear this a lot. 20% of people do not like the taste of water. This can be due to environmental or cultural factors. If your local water source isn’t your preference try bottled or distilling your own. Adding flavors to water can be a great way to make it more enjoyable to drink, and can encourage people to stay hydrated. However, it’s important to be mindful of what is being added to the water. Some flavored water additives may contain added sugars, artificial sweeteners, or other ingredients that may not be healthy in large amounts.
If you are adding flavors to your water, it’s best to opt for natural flavors such as fruit, herbs, or spices, and avoid artificial additives. You can infuse your water with sliced citrus fruits, cucumber, mint, or ginger to add flavor without adding calories or sugar. Alternatively, there are many flavored water enhancers on the market that are made with natural ingredients and can be a convenient way to add flavor to your water without adding unwanted additives.
Last, don’t be fooled by sugary or caffeinated drinks, they may not actually count towards your daily water intake and can even dehydrate you with their sneaky diuretic effects. So next time you’re reaching for a beverage, make sure to read the label and if you can’t pronounce the ingredients, it might be best to just stick with good ol’ H2O.