Like a fish out of water, most of us are missing something vital. Learn why you need to stay hydrated!
The fact of the matter is simple: most Americans are chronically dehydrated. Between not drinking enough water throughout the day, to drinking coffee and other diuretic substances, our bodies are not given the hydration they require to stay optimally well. When we really understand why our bodies need water and the effects that even minor dehydration can have on us, we’re likely to be more mindful about the amount of water we’re getting.
Our bodies are approximately sixty percent water. That’s a good sign of just how vital water is to our life. Water is essential for several key processes in the body, such as: breathing and lung function, detoxification, digestion, elimination, blood circulation, temperature regulation, kidney function, brain health, joint and spine function, eyesight, healthy hair and nails, and flushing fat from the body. And, these are just a few of water’s roles within the body! So, as you can see, without water, you’d die pretty quickly.
When you’re dehydrated, the amount of blood in the body is decreased, which makes the heart have to pump harder in order to get the blood’s oxygen to the muscles and tissues of the body. More advanced dehydration can cause headaches, irritability, and even dizziness. It only gets worse from there if dehydration intensifies, and can cause heat stroke, fading eyesight, nausea and vomiting, fainting, irregular heartbeat, extreme exhaustion, and even death if not treated.
Mild dehydration and its signs and symptoms are so common, most people don’t even notice, or consider the symptoms to be normal. But even mild dehydration, especially if it’s chronic, can place stress on the body and result in lack of function. Some signs of dehydration (beyond thirst) include:
- Dry, sticky mouth or bad breath
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Dry skin
- Irritability or confusion
- Sunken eyes
- Low blood pressure
- Fast heartbeat
- Little urine, or dark and odorous urine
- Muscle cramps
- Kidney stones
- Mood swings
Furthermore, when it comes to weight loss, which many Americans are focused on, lack of water can hinder your results. Water is necessary to flush toxins and fat out of the body. Additionally, dehydration can cause us to have more cravings. Commonly, thirst is mistaken for hunger, leading to overconsumption of food. And, lack of sufficient water also decreases metabolic rate.
So, if we want to not only look great, but also feel great and stay alive, proper amounts of water is vital. But, even though we know of water’s importance, it can still be difficult to remember throughout our busy days to drink enough. Here are some of my top tips for helping you drink more water:
- Keep a water bottle with you throughout the day and sip on it every ten minutes or so, with the goal of approximately a cup of water each hour
- If you don’t like the taste of plain water, jazz it up by adding fresh fruit like berries, veggies such as cucumber, or herbs such as mint or basil
- Make a fresh herbal tea
- Make sure to drink water with your snacks and meals
- Have a water bottle with you during walks and exercise
- Consume fresher, natural produce, as fruits and vegetables are naturally good sources of water
- Set a specific goal for yourself each day with how much water you want to have drunk by the end of the day
Water is one of the easiest, and least expensive ways of boosting our health, wellness, and fitness!