How Much Water Should You Really Be Drinking?
With summer in full swing and temperatures rising throughout the day it is important to make sure you are consuming enough water in order to avoid dehydration. There's a reason you can only last a few days without water consumption! Water plays an important role in numerous functions of our body so it's very important to stay hydrated so our bodies can function optimally. In this blog we will discuss the importance of electrolytes in hydration and some general information as well as hydration tips to make sure your body is properly prepared to deal with the summer heat.
You've probably heard the outdated old saying "8 glasses of water a day" is the daily recommended amount of water to be drinking but the truth is, it's not that simple. The amount of water you actually need varies based on multiple different factors including: sex, age, activity level, overall health and where you live, among other things. Most recently the NAM (National Academy of Medicine) suggests fluid consumption of 3.7L (15 cups) for the average adult male and 2.7L (11 cups) for the average adult female. These are just suggestions and like stated above, there are multiple variables that contribute to this. Studies show that roughly 20% of the average person’s daily fluid intake actually comes from food so the suggested values take that into account.
Here are a few tips to help you maintain proper hydrations levels:
-Drink when you feel thirsty, your body knows best
-Make water your primary fluid consumed, avoid too many high caffeine drinks, energy drinks and high sugar content fluids
-Drink a glass of water with each meal and between each meal
-Drink water before, during and after exercise
-Drink a glass of water if you're feeling hungry, thirst is often confused with hunger
-Carry a reusable water bottle with you, good for you and the environment!
-Eat fruits and vegetables, many of those contain a lot of water and help with hydration
So what are electrolytes anyways? Electrolytes are electrically charge minerals and compounds that are essential for our bodies cells, organs and body systems to work properly. Electrolytes balance the amount of water in your body, regulate the fluid levels in your blood plasma and body, keep the pH of your blood normal, enable muscle contractions, transmit nerve signals, help build new tissue and many other vital functions. Sodium, calcium, potassium, chloride, phosphate and magnesium are all electrolytes. You get electrolytes from the foods you eat and the fluids you drink. The levels of electrolytes in your body can become too high/low and this happens when the amount of water in your body changes. In order to avoid electrolyte imbalance, eat foods high is electrolytes and stay properly hydrated.
Here are a few benefits of water, proper hydration, and electrolyte balance on your body's overall health:
-helps prevent dry mouth which can cause bad breath and promote cavities
-promotes cardiovascular health, dehydration lowers blood volume so your heart must work harder to pump
-keeps your body cool which has homeostasis benefits
-helps muscles and joints work better, when hydrated joints are more lubricated and muscles receive adequate nutrients
-promotes skin health
-helps cleanse your body--inside and out, your kidneys need water to filter waste from the blood and excrete in urine
Everyone has to start somewhere so if you're trying to improve your water intake and hydration just start by becoming more conscious of how much water you are drinking throughout the day. Start your day with a glass of water with breakfast, take breaks throughout the day and grab some water. Try and cut down on soda consumption and replace that with water. Decrease the amount of unhealthy processed drinks/foods you are consuming and replace with water and more fruits and vegetables. The color of your urine is a good indication of your hydration level so make sure you monitor that. Every body is different so the proper amount of water you need varies from everyone else, remember that. With proper hydration your body functions much more efficiently so take the time you make sure you are hydrated!