Hydration

When I’m asked what the number ONE tip I can offer people to begin to improve their health… my answer is HYDRATE!

Hydration is vitally important to our health in many ways. Unfortunately, most of us are chronically dehydrated, and even if only mildly, it can still cause a lot of health issues.

Our bodies are comprised mostly of water (up to 80%) and it needs to maintain this level to properly process all of it’s daily, normal functions in order to keep you healthy and prevent disease.

 

Some typical symptoms of mild dehydration are:

  • Thirst (just being thirsty is a definitive sign of mild dehydration and a sign your body needs more NOW!)
  • Dry and/or flaky skin
  • Cool, pale skin
  • Dry mouth and/or bad breath
  • “Dry eye” (Oh my… I get fired up when I see TV ads stating that “chronic dry eye is a disease” to sell their prescription medication. Dry eyes are a symptom, just like ANY “dis-ease” of the body signifying something more important going on. Popping a few drops into your eyes might temporarily alleviate the symptom but it won’t cure the problem. 😉 )
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Darker colored urine
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tired/sleepy/drowsiness
  • Cold hands, feet or just being “cold”

 

Symptoms of more severe dehydration are:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Skin that doesn’t bounce back when pinched
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Rapid breath
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Inability to sweat or cry tears
  • DARK colored urine
  • Sparse (little or none) urine
  • LOW blood pressure
  • Sinus/ear infections

 

DID YOU KNOW… that mild dehydration can feel like hunger? Yup. Many times we might “feel” hungry when we are actually thirsty. So next time you’re in-between meals and you’re feeling hungry, have a glass of water.

AND A BONUS… if you drink the water 15-30 minutes before your next meal, you’ll stimulate your digestive juices so that you’ll digest your meal more efficiently. This is a BIG PLUS if you’re dealing with some digestive issues.

 

 

Without enough fluid in your body, your health and vitality can and will suffer.

There are many things that can be affected by dehydration. MANY. Possibly too many to list in this post but just a few fundamental concerns are:

  • Your blood cannot circulate effectively, and can alter your blood pressure. Consider that your blood delivers nutrients to your cells. It also delivers the cavalry (white blood cells) to kill the “bad guys” that invade your system. Think influenza, other viruses and even cancer.
  • Your lymphatic fluid becomes sluggish and cannot process toxins to be flushed out expeditiously (or at all). Your lymphatic system and it’s fluid is a major part of your immune system and therefore responsible for fighting off disease and cleaning the body from toxins. Can you visualize some “dead” bad guys that your white blood cells “killed” floating around waiting for extrication but just piling up because things are running sluggishly? Now imagine that debris and toxins that don’t get removed efficiently are beginning to decay. This is just part of how we might develop dis-ease and feel yucky.
  • The cells of your body need enough matrix (fluid/water) to allow for effective transmission and expulsion of the nutrients and debris from normal processing, and without this, their ability to function properly is diminished. When considering the functionality of your cells, think of the cells in your brain. Your heart. Your eyes. Your liver (which filters your blood). And much, much more!
  • The health of your gums and teeth are a cornerstone to good gut and overall health, and when dehydrated you’re prone to gum disease, tooth decay. A common indicator is halitosis (bad breath).
  • Bacteria can and does grow where there is stagnation, whether it’s in your mouth (the bacteria growing is what causes the bad breath smell), or inside your body. Think about a pond… it grows more bacteria than a moving, fluid stream.

 

Chronic dehydration can be responsible for:

  • Cellular damage and toxic overload
  • Organ dysfunction and possibly/eventually failure
  • Kidney or gallbladder stones
  • Plaque/cholesterol buildup
  • Joint pain/disfunction/failure
  • Muscle damage/atrophy
  • Chronic sinus/respiratory infections

 

What causes dehydration?

Besides not drinking enough plain, filtered clean water (not soda, coffee or teas):

  • Exercise
  • Sweating
  • Talking
  • Diuretics and probably ALL medications (including OTC)
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Salty (table/processed/iodized), processed foods (even sports drinks that contain HFCS -high fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners)
  • Diarrhea and/or vomiting
  • Dry air due to furnaces or air conditioning units (including wood stoves, space heaters and fireplaces)

 

How does one overcome dehydration?

The number one thing is drink more water. Plain, unsweetened water.

The rule of thumb recommended by most health care professionals, including me, is to drink 50% of your body weight in ounces per day. And no… coffee, teas (even many herbal) or soda DOES NOT COUNT. These often have either caffeine, sugars or some components that the body must process and that causes more work for the body. Many healthy “natural” teas from plants are diuretics that cause dehydration such as dandelion root.

Hydration is best accomplished by drinking plain, filtered water. Room temperature is best. In fact, iced drinks/water is most often counterproductive unless you’re attempting to chill/cool your body temperature. Some reports say that drinking ice water helps to boost your metabolism, but I don’t feel it’s as valuable as some say for that. But that’s off point.

 

Rehydrating “Sports Drink”

You CAN, however, add a squeeze of lemon or lime, and in fact, as a truly effective “sports drink” to rehydrate is this recipe:

Ingredients:

 Water

 A squeeze of lemon/lime or even a tablespoon of ACV (apple cider vinegar – use the raw, unpasteurized stuff with “the mother”)

 A pinch or two of sea salt, Real Salt™, or pink Himalayan salt for minerals/electrolytes

 You can also add a natural sweetener like honey, molasses or stevia. The molasses, in particular, contains healthy minerals. BUT DON’T make the mistake of adding other processed sugars or even low-cal sweeteners like Splenda™ which wreaks havoc to your digestive system and creates more problems.

 

Other Hydration tips:

  • Soaking about 20 minutes in a warm (not terribly hot – as that is dehydrating) tub with some essential oils and moisturizing afterward with skin nourishing oils like coconut, avocado, jojoba, almond, olive oils. Light a candle and sip a warm version of the above recipe, some water or teas such as mint, chamomile, Skullcap, elderflower.
  • Coconut water is also a great re-hydrator largely because it has a natural balance of electrolytes.
  • As are many veggie and some fruit juices (freshly juiced, not the  bottled kind which often have added sweeteners). Cucumber is fantastic. Watermelon is a great choice when it’s in season.
  • Also, eat a more alkaline diet. This is basically more live, living foods (raw) and less cooked foods. The body must work rather hard to counter the acidic effects of a diet predominated by animal proteins, cooked and/or processed foods.
  • Use one or more humidifiers in your home/workspace.

 

My recommendation be drinking enough water each day…

First of all, start each day (FIRST thing) at least 8 ounces. This should be room temperature or warm.

I use mason jars for my household glasses. I have pint sized and quarts, plus other sizes but my most commonly used are the pints. These are 16 ounces filled to the brim. So I usually like to have one full one within the first 15 minutes of being awake. Then about 15 minutes later I down a second one. Because I’m shooting to drink 3 quarts (96 oz) of water a day, I’m 1/3 done.

Some people fill a gallon jug (128 oz) and sip all day, but for me, at the end of the day I’d often end up with half a gallon to go! So I came up with this plan:

  • First figure out how much you need to be drinking (simple and pure water). If you weigh 200 pounds, then you’d need about 100 ounces of water per day.**
  • Find a container that equals either 1/3 or 1/4th of the total amount needed to be drunk. I shoot for 3 quarts per day.
  • Then I balanced out the times that I needed to have those quarts each drunk by so I could more easily keep track of what I needed to be drinking and by when.

If you’ve got 100 oz. to drink each day, find a 25 oz. container and choose 4 times throughout the day to have each drunk by.

For example: Drink the first container by 9 am, the second by 1p, third by 4 pm and the last one by 7 pm.

It takes about one hour or so for your body to process a quart of liquid so if you drink the last one by 7 pm, then you’ll be done and have time to use the restroom before going to bed without needing to get up to pee in the middle of the night (if that is a concern).

 

**If you drink a lot of coffee, soda or alcohol, again, these doesn’t count toward the water amount, and IN FACT, because these are DEHYDRATING, you’d need to add more water to compensate.

Figure AT LEAST one serving of water for each serving of coffee, soda or alcohol to balance that AND THEN drink your ounces of water on top of that.

 


 

I hope you enjoyed this and found the information useful. Please feel free to leave a comment below with any questions or concerns. 

Also, if you haven’t already, please join me in my Take Control Community on Facebook. It’s free and a great place for support while taking control and regenerating your health. 🙂

 

 


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