We hydrate to avoid dreaded dehydration, but do you know there are many beneficial reasons beyond preventing a potentially deadly emergency?
Hydrating can calm a craving or relieve a headache. All parts of the body require water for smooth action, survival and proper functioning. Even clear, healthy skin needs to be hydrated. Many organs are made of water, amounting to more than half of your body weight.
What is the best liquid to take in for hydration? Water, of course, but coconut water, soups, and watery fruits and vegetables help, too. Soda, coffee and alcohol should be avoided. It seems like any liquid would be better than no liquid, but some actually cause cells to shrink and squeeze water out through the bladder. These are known as diuretics.
How much water should you drink? There are many suggestions, but a basic rule is to take your body weight (in pounds) and divide it by two. This is the number of ounces of water that you should drink each day. For example, if you weigh 100 pounds, you need 50 ounces of water per day. Of course sweating, warm weather and physical activity increase our hydration requirements.
At first, this will increase your trips to the restroom, but your body will adjust. You’ll also notice that your urine will be almost colorless; try to keep it that way. This is an easy way to test if you are well-hydrated (and a great, private challenge).
Carry a water bottle with you throughout the day as a reminder to hydrate. Also, try drinking water with every meal and when you wake up to flush toxins out, starting the day refreshed. If plain, clean water isn’t tasty enough, add slices of lemon, lime, cucumber, fresh mint or parsley leaves.
Remember, thirst can cause pains frequently misinterpreted for hunger, so if you think you are hungry, drink water first. Also, because our bodies need and deserve water, mild dehydration can cause headaches. If you get this pain, drink a glass of water, and as you hydrate more regularly, pay attention to whether your headache frequency decreases.