You know the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but the truth is there’s much that goes into building those long-term habits to keep your body healthy. This month, Dr. Gray and her team are focusing on hydration!
Do you know if you’re drinking enough water daily? An easy way to calculate how much water you need is by taking half of your body weight and converting it to ounces. So if you weigh 150 lbs. For example, you’d need 75 ounces of water per day.
However these recommendations vary due to factors such as your environment, overall health, exercise routine, and if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Continue reading to learn about the importance of hydration and how to up your daily water intake!
How Hydration Helps Your Body
You’ve probably felt dehydrated a few times in your life and it goes without saying that it’s not an enjoyable experience! Symptoms of dehydration may include:
- dry mouth or tongue
- muscle cramps
- a rapid pulse
It’s important to stay hydrated to not only combat these unwanted symptoms, but other benefits such as:
- Improper hydration increases the skin’s vulnerability to wrinkling and drying. Think of water as a moisturizer that works from inside out!
- Cartilage is 80% water, so proper hydration can increase the body’s ability to absorb shock
- Proper hydration optimizes brain function and hormone production
- Proper hydration plays a role in heartburn and ulcer prevention.
- Being properly hydrated can prevent overeating episodes and cravings. People’s bodies often confuse hunger cravings with thirst.
- The average American consumes 147% of their daily salt intake. Proper hydration helps to manage our chronic overconsumption of sodium.
- The most common cause of headaches is dehydration. By staying hydrated most people see a decrease in the frequency and severity of headaches.
- Waking up in the morning everyone’s body feels tired but studies show that with proper hydration this morning tiredness can be nearly eliminated. Our bodies wake up feeling exhausted due to the lack of water received overnight. Drinking a glass or two of water before bed can help to prepare for a better wake up!
- Hydrated muscles are less prone to sprains and cramping. The hydration aids to flush out toxins that lead to painful cramps.
- Bad breath is often a sign of dehydration as water helps to flush out oral bacterias which cause bad breath.
Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and your overall mood— so it’s an extremely important part of your overall wellbeing and health!
Lack of hydration can lead to more serious conditions such as urinary tract infections and the formation of painful kidney stones. In the short-term, if you’re dehydrated you may also notice you’re constipated, so have a few glasses of water to get things moving again!
If you’re struggling to meet your daily recommended water intake, try a few of Dr. Gray’s hydration hacks below:
- Keep a reusable water bottle with you throughout the day! Retailers even sell water bottles with time stamps on them so you can stay on track to meet your hydration goals for each day.
- If you don’t like the taste of water, add lemon, lime, or another fruit to add some flavor.
- Tie it to a daily routine! For example, challenge yourself to drink a glass of water after you brush your teeth in the morning and at night- that’s an extra 2 glasses right there!
- Track it! Just as everyone’s tied to their Apple Watches and Fitbits, there are different apps where you can track your water intake and keep track of your hydration goals daily.
- Get your water intake through fruits and vegetables such as:
- Skim milk
While it may be tempting to grab a coffee or soda- which technically are still ways you can hydrate your body- it’s important to fuel your body with as much water as possible. Also a good idea is to listen to your body for signs of dehydration!
There is a quick way to check if you are dehydrated or not:
- If the urine is clear or very light yellow and has little odor, you are well-hydrated.
- The darker and more aromatic the urine, the more dehydrated you are.
- You do not feel thirsty, you probably are well hydrated.
And don’t be worried about drinking too much water, as it very rarely causes disruptions or harm to your body. While most have to worry about not drinking enough water you do need to be mindful of over consumption which can cause health problems. A good suggestion is to track your water intake for a few weeks to get an idea of what the appropriate amount of water consumption is and how it is affecting your body positively or negatively.
It’s important to remember that hydration is just one of the many parts that contribute to your overall health and that making it a small priority throughout your day will help you immensely— so drink up!