Take this pill and lose weight without changing what you eat. Do this exercise for 10 minutes a day and lose 10 pounds in a week. The diet and exercise markets are full of minimal action, high reward promises. Of course, these are bullshi*t promises but there is some truth behind the reason why they are so prevalent. We (as in us humans) want to improve our health BUT we want to take minimal action and see maximum results. Luckily, a big step towards optimal health requires minimal action and provides great rewards…drink more water! Water is the most common nutritional deficiency in the American population!
One fact you probably remember from 5th grade is that your body is primarily made up of water. About 55-60% of your total body mass is water. You’re like one of those water snakes from the nature store with a few organs and bones thrown in. You can survive about 8 weeks without food but only days without water. Water is the most important nutrient in the body.
Some of the many highly important functions of water include:
- Improves oxygen delivery to cells
- Transports nutrients
- Enables cellular hydration
- Moistens oxygen for easier breathing
- Cushions bones and joints
- Absorbs shocks to joints and organs
- Regulates body temperature
- Removes waste
- Flushes toxins
- Prevents tissues from sticking
- Lubricates joints
- Improves cell-to-cell communication
- Maintains normal electrical properties
- Empowers the body’s natural healing process
Unlike camels, humans cannot store water. Our bodies make about 8% of our daily water need though metabolic processes but the remaining 92% must be consumed. This means you are responsible for 92% of the most important nutrient in your body. Big responsibility but I know you can handle it.
A lack of adequate water intake leads to dehydration. Dehydration exist on a spectrum from early to mature with corresponding signs and symptoms.
- Joint pain
- Back pain
So here’s your action plan to stay adequately hydrated:
Calculate your minimum daily water need:
Body Weight in pounds ÷ 2 = the minimum # of ounces you should drink daily
Ex. Mrs. Agua weighs 140 pounds. She should drink at least 70 ounces of water daily.
Identify diuretics, beverages that promote water loss and dehydration, in your diet. Diuretic beverages include:
- Caffeinated teas
- Soda (regular & diet)
- Alcoholic beverages
- Packaged fruit juices
Calculate additional water need based on diuretic consumption:
Ounces of diuretics x 1.5 = additional ounces needed to compensate for diuretics
Ex. Mrs. Agua drinks 12 ounces of coffee daily. She will need an additional 18 ounces of water.
Add your minimum daily water need (from step 1) to your additional need to compensate for diuretics (from step 3).
Ex. Mrs. Agua’s minimum daily water need is 70 ounces and her compensation for diuretics is 18 ounces making her total daily water need 88 ounces.
More is NOT better! You’re body requires a balance of electrolytes and water so don’t throw off this balance with excessive amounts of water. It is not advisable to drink more than a gallon (128 ounces) of water daily for most people.
A few tips to help you stay hydrated:
- Reduce the amount of diuretics in your diet. Not only are they dehydrating, most are full of sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Yuck!
- Drink 16 ounces of water upon waking in the morning. You wake up a little dehydrated from all of the breathing and urine making you did while sleeping.
- Purchase a water bottle to carry with you throughout the day. It will help you track your ounces and reach your daily goal. Stainless steel, glass or BPA-free hard plastic water bottles are preferable, as they will not leach chemicals into your water.
- Spring or filtered water is optimal. Tap water today is filled with chemical pollutants. Home filters like a Brita filter are an effective and inexpensive way to ensure clean water.
- For optimal absorption, add a sprinkle of sea salt to your water.
- For variety, try adding lemon, lime, berries, cucumber or citrus to your water.
- Increase water intake according to thirst for all physical activity.
Disclaimer: I am not a Registered Dietician or licensed medical doctor. I do not diagnose or treat disease, but instead make healthy lifestyle recommendations for balancing the body and promoting optimal wellness. No recommendation or comment made by me should be construed as being medical advice or diagnosis.