On Water

Water can be considered the elixir of life, a precious resource that sustains us and keeps our bodies functioning optimally. It plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health and well-being. Proper hydration is key to supporting various bodily functions- from regulating body temperature to aiding digestion and promoting clear thinking. In this article, we will dive into the importance of water and how to ensure proper hydration, as well as practical tips to help you increase your water intake.

Why Is Water Essential?

Water is a fundamental component of our bodies, making up approximately 60-66% of our total body weight. Every system in our body relies on water to function efficiently. It helps transport nutrients, flushes out waste products, lubricates joints, cushions organs, and maintains a healthy balance of bodily fluids. Without adequate hydration, our bodies can experience a range of adverse effects, impacting both our physical and mental well-being. The body can last up to six weeks without food, but only one week without water.

It is simple to see why water and hydration play such a critical role in a healthful lifestyle. Hydration is the replacement of body fluids lost through sweating, exhaling, and elimination. It’s just as important at the office or relaxing at home as it is in the gym. Proper hydration does more than just keep you from getting thirsty, it actually does the following for your health:

  • Water carries nutrients and oxygen to all cells in the body
  • Water is the main property of blood, which carries nutrients to cells and carries wastes out of the body
  • Water helps convert food into energy
  • Water protects and cushions vital organs
  • Water lubricates joints
  • Water regulates body temperature
  • Water moistens oxygen for breathing
  • Water is essential for our senses to work properly. Hearing waves are transmitted through fluids in the ear, light is reflected through fluids in the eye, and food and odors must be dissolved in water for taste and smell
  • Water is one of the six nutrients essential for life (water, fat, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, and minerals)

Signs of Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when the body doesn’t have enough water to carry out its essential functions. It can happen for various reasons, including insufficient fluid intake, excessive sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea. Recognizing the signs of dehydration is crucial to address it promptly. Common symptoms include:

  • Thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Dry skin
  • Decreased urine output

Severe dehydration can lead to confusion, rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure, and even life-threatening complications.

How Much Water Should I Drink A Day?

The amount of water each person requires can vary depending on factors such as age, gender, activity level, climate, and overall health. While the commonly suggested guideline is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, also known as the “8×8 rule” (equaling about 2 liters or half a gallon), it may not be suitable for everyone. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Listen to your body: Thirst is one of the body’s mechanisms for signaling dehydration. If you feel thirsty, it’s an indication that you should drink water to replenish fluids. Pay attention to your body’s cues and drink when you feel the need.
  • Consider individual factors: Factors such as age, weight, activity level, climate, and overall health can influence your water needs. For example, individuals who are physically active or live in hot and humid environments may require more water to compensate for increased sweating and fluid loss.
  • Check your urine color: Monitoring the color of your urine can provide a general indication of your hydration status. Pale or light yellow urine is usually a sign of adequate hydration, while dark-colored urine may suggest dehydration.
  • Consult with a healthcare professional: If you have specific health conditions or concerns, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide personalized advice regarding your water intake.

Ultimately, it’s important to find a balance and listen to your body’s signals. While the “8×8 rule” can serve as a general guideline, individual hydration needs can vary. Pay attention to your thirst, urine color, and other individual factors to determine the appropriate amount of water you should drink each day.

Tips For Proper Hydration + Tips To Help Increase Water Intake

  • Carry a reusable water bottle: Keep a reusable water bottle with you to stay hydrated on the go. Having it readily available serves as a visual reminder to drink water regularly.
  • Set reminders: Use phone alarms, timers, or dedicated apps to remind yourself to drink water at regular intervals. This can establish a routine and ensure you’re consistently hydrating throughout the day.
  • Infusing water: Add some natural flavorings like slices of lemon, lime, cucumber, or mint leaves to infuse your water to make it more enjoyable and encourage you to drink more.
  • Use a straw: Drinking through a straw can make it easier and more enjoyable to consume large quantities of water. Consider using a reusable straw as an eco-friendly option!
  • Drink water before and after meals: Making it a habit to drink a glass of water before and after eating can not only help with hydration but it can also aid in digestion and promote a feeling of fullness.
  • Track your water intake: Using a journal, a water tracking app, or simply making tally marks on a post-it note to keep track of the number of glasses or bottles of water you drink each day can motivate you to reach your hydration goals. Check out our Let Go & Grow Holistic Journal for hydration tracking, diet & lifestyle evaluation, dietary notes, next day visulizations, and much more!
  • Pay attention to your body: Thirst is a signal that your body needs water. Don’t ignore it. Additionally, listen to your body’s cues during physical activity or when exposed to high temperatures, as these situations increase your water needs.
  • Consume hydrating foods: Many fruits and vegetables have high water content and can contribute to your daily hydration. Examples include watermelon, cucumbers, oranges, and lettuce.
  • Limit or avoid dehydrating beverages: Some beverages, such as alcohol and caffeinated drinks, have diuretic effects, which can increase fluid loss. Consume them in moderation and balance them with water intake.
  • Customize your hydration: Consider your specific circumstances when determining your hydration needs. If you’re engaging in intense exercise or living in a hot climate, you may need to increase your fluid intake accordingly.

For bonus points, use Leela Quantum to re-structure your water and add electrolytes if you feel better when you take them (I personally don’t but many of my patients do). My favorite electrolytes can be found for 15% off in our online supplement dispensary here under Favorites > Hydration.

Remember, it’s important to listen to your body’s thirst cues and adjust your water intake accordingly. By implementing these tips, you can establish healthy habits that make drinking water a regular part of your daily routine. So, raise a glass to the power of water and drink up for a healthier, happier you!

Water & Hydration Resources

More Resources

Resources From Dr. Brooke Stuart / Let Go & Grow®

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