Are you working on making changes to your diet and lifestyle?
One of the first and most important things that I suggest you focus on is to drink more water. Almost all the diet journals I review don’t include enough!
Water is essential for life. You can only survive a few days without it. I could argue that water is the most essential nutrient of them all. Water is needed for every cell and function in your body.
- assists in weight loss
- cushions your joints,
- aids digestion,
- helps stabilize your blood pressure and heartbeat,
- helps to regulate your body temperature, and
- helps maintain electrolyte (mineral) balance.
Even mild dehydration can
- impair mood and concentration,
- contribute to headaches and dizziness,
- reduce your physical endurance, and
- increase the risk of kidney stones and constipation.
Water is the driving force of all natureLeonardo da Vinci
But, how much is ideal? Is there a magic number for everyone? What counts toward water intake?
Ideal Amount of Water
We often hear the recommendation to drink eight-8 oz glasses of water every day (about 2 liters).
However, the “one size fits all” approach is not the best. Our needs are different from person to person and from day to day depending on a number of factors. You don’t need to force down glasses of water when you’re not thirsty. But it’s important to pay attention to your thirst mechanism and have water available as soon as you are thirsty.
Also, pay attention to the colour of your urine. The darker your urine, the more effort your body is making to hold on to the water it has to offset dehydration. The urine looks darker because it is getting rid of the same amount of waste, but in a smaller volume of water.
You may need to drink more than you realize if you’re
- sweating a lot
- in a hot/humid climate
- over age 65 (thirst sensation begins to diminish)
- at risk of kidney stones
- experiencing vomiting and/or diarrhea
So, rather than following a “rule,” pay more attention to your body’s subtle cues for water.
What Counts as Water?
All fluids and foods containing water contribute to your daily needs. And pure water is the best choice for much of your fluid needs.
If you’re not drinking pure water, consider the effects that the other ingredients you are consuming have on your body. Drinks containing sugar, alcohol, and caffeine will have effects besides hydration.
For example, sugar can mess with your digestion and cravings, alcohol passes the blood brain barrier and impacts your mood, and caffeine has been thought to be dehydrating. NOTE: If you’re drinking a small amount of caffeine regularly and your body is used to it, the dehydrating impact isn’t as great.
You can also get some water from certain foods. Especially fruits and vegetables like cabbage, cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries, celery, spinach, and lettuce. (click links for recipes) Except I don’t count that in your water total for the day!
Do you want more recipes that will help you to hydrate?
There is no magic amount of water that you need. Everyone is different and it can vary by person based on activity and other factors.
The most important thing is to pay attention to your thirst. Other signs you need more water are dark urine, sweating, constipation, and kidney stones.
Pure water is your best source of fluids. Here is a great way to make it taste great! But other liquids and some foods help too. One of my personal favourite “alternative” drinks is kombucha. I usually cut it with some water to keep my sugar intake low.
Let me know in our community FB group (Making Healthy Eating Easy) What’s your favourite way to hydrate?