Hydration: It’s About More Than Just Water!
Why is hydration so important?
Properly hydrated, the typical adult body is composed of about 60% water. Your body uses this water in every cell of every tissue to carry out normal bodily functions such as transporting oxygen and nutrients to your cells, regulating temperature, lubricating your joints, removing waste and toxins from your body, promoting healthy digestive function, and even regulating blood pressure. Research also shows that proper hydration even boosts your metabolism, aiding slightly in weight loss. However, through normal processes like breathing, sweating, and going to the bathroom, our bodies can lose up to 3 liters (0.79 gallons) of water a day. If we don’t replenish this water we become dehydrated and put ourselves at a higher risk for mental fogginess, headaches, muscle cramps, decreased immune function, and heat-related illnesses. In individuals with chronic dehydration, we even see increased instances of constipation and kidney stones.
How to stay hydrated:
- Drink Water
A common question for most people is, “How much water should I be drinking every day?” Generally, you should be drinking 25-50% of your body-weight in ounces each day. For example, a 180-pound individual should try to drink 60-90 ounces of water a day.
- Eat Your Water
Studies have shown that eating foods high in water content such as fruits and vegetables have a positive impact on hydration status—this is in part due to the important electrolytes that are also present in fruits and veggies. Some of these foods include:
- Cook with Sea Salt
Sea salt, much like the electrolytes found in fruits and vegetables, helps balance water and electrolyte levels and replenish what electrolytes you may have excreted through urine and sweat.
Lastly, to be properly hydrated you also need proper circulation so that your blood can deliver water and nutrients to all your cells and tissues. Movement and exercise increase your circulation and allow for this exchange to occur, increasing your overall hydration!
If you remember these four easy steps and remember how much water you need to drink each day, you should have no trouble staying hydrated and the water that you do drink will be properly balanced with electrolytes.