With summer in full swing here in AZ, I must stay hydrated. I can tell when I’m not drinking enough water. My digestion is off, I experience slight brain fog, I don’t sleep well, and my energy is low. Many people believe drinking anything liquid will contribute to their water intake. The truth is that coffee, tea, fruit juices, and alcohol are diuretics that deplete the body of water and interfere with calcium absorption. There’s a severe epidemic of osteoporosis in our society right now, and plain old water would help immensely.
Why is water so important? It’s an essential nutrient in the body. We can go weeks without food, but only days without water. Water makes up 55-60% of our body mass. In an average adult, that’s about 10-13 gallons of water!
The roles of water in the body are many, such as transporting nutrients, regulating body temperature, removing waste, flushing toxins, and helping with the body’s natural healing process. For example, if you have bladder or kidney issues, water plays a crucial role in flushing harmful bacteria out of the body.
I’m often asked about how much water should we drink? A good rule of thumb is the following:
Your Current Weight in pounds / 2 = Minimum number of ounces you should drink daily
Example: A person weighing 150 pounds should drink at least 75 ounces of water daily. That’s only about 4.6 16-ounce glasses of water.
As I mentioned above, if you drink an 8-ounce diuretic beverage, be sure to ADD 12-16 ounces of water to your daily intake for every 8 ounces of a diuretic beverage. If you’re in a hot climate and you’re losing water from sweat, be sure to drink even more water.
Here are tips for getting more water into our bodies during the day.
- Make “spa” water in a large glass container with mint, cucumbers, and lemon slices.
- Always have water with you when you leave home.
- If you’re headed to work, pack a few liter bottles of water.
- Treat yourself with mineral water like Pellegrino.
- When looking for a snack, have a glass of water instead since thirst can mimic hunger.
On the other side of hydration is dehydration. If the body’s water content drops by as little as 2%, it will cause fatigue. I know when I’m not well hydrated since my energy drops. I know it’s been sweltering, so I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. A decline of 10% will cause significant health problems, and greater than 10% dehydration can cause death. So if you find yourself thirsty, find some water right away. Thirst is a sign of dehydration.
Don’t forget, when summer is over and cools off, don’t neglect your water intake!