Proper hydration is one of the cornerstones of our health plans, along with nutrition, activity, and supplementation. We simply cannot overstate how important it is to keep yourself hydrated, or how many health issues are related to chronic dehydration.
The human body is about 65 percent water, and water is necessary for proper functioning of numerous processes throughout the body, including blood circulation, metabolism, regulation of body temperature, and removal of waste.
People are often surprised to learn that not drinking enough water can impede your ability to lose weight. In fact, when people hit a weight-loss plateau, drinking more water often helps them push past it.
Health problems associated with dehydration
Studies indicate that as many as two-thirds of Americans don’t drink enough water. This can cause symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, dizziness, muscle cramps, joint pain, constipation, difficulty concentrating, and mood swings or irritability. Chronic dehydration can also contribute to major health issues such as cholesterol imbalances, frequent respiratory problems, and premature aging.
How much water should you drink?
A commonly recognized general rule is to drink 64 ounces of water a day, but even this may not be enough. The Food and Nutrition Board recommends 91 ounces for women and 125 ounces for men, through a combination of beverages and foods with a high water content. If you’re active, you may need even more, especially if you’re exercising in hot weather.
While it is possible to drink too much water, which can lead to a dangerous condition known as hyponatremia, this is very rare. Far more people are at risk of health problems caused by dehydration. You’d have to drink a lot of water very quickly in order for it to pose a health risk.
Can other beverages count towards your water intake?
Sorry, but popular drinks such as soda, sports drinks, coffee drinks, and energy drinks are poor substitutes for water. Any drink that’s high in caffeine will act as a diuretic, which will contribute to further dehydration. Plus, these drinks are typically high in sugar and other additives that can be dangerous to your health.
Pure water is the best choice to keep your body functioning optimally. If you consume a lot of bottled drinks, start switching them out with water now. If you find it difficult to quit your soda habit, try gradually cutting back and trading at least one drink per day with a glass of water to start with. If you find it difficult to drink plain water, try adding lemon or cucumber for some extra flavor. You can also make green tea — it’s high in beneficial antioxidants and contains less caffeine than coffee.
How do you know if you’re drinking enough water?
The easiest way to know if you’re drinking enough water is to check the color of your urine. It should be clear or pale yellow. Dark yellow urine means you aren’t properly hydrated (although if you take a supplement that contains vitamin B2, it may turn your urine bright yellow).
You’ll likely also experience better digestion and elimination. Constipation or very hard bowel movements can be a sign that you aren’t drinking enough. When you’re drinking more water, you may also notice that you have more energy, your skin is brighter, and your memory is better.
Try making it a priority to drink more water and see if you notice a difference!
Need help achieving your health and wellness goals? Garcia Weight Loss offers personalized weight loss programs designed to help you look and feel your best. Contact us today for your no-cost consultation!