This was the question I asked three of my fellow colleagues at work the other day. So how much did they drink? Let’s just say their response led me to take immediate action and write this blog post. I dedicated this post to their H2O health, cheers!
Staying properly hydrated is one of the most important things you can do for your health; it’s right up there with getting more exercise and sleep. Water boosts energy levels, lowers stress, supports muscle growth, nourishes your skin, strengthens your immune system, regulates digestion, reduces kidney stones, and can be your secret weapon in mitigating bad hangovers :) Oh and most importantly, it keeps you alive! Did you know that without water we can’t survive more than a few days? It is more detrimental to our survival than food, which we can actually go weeks without. How many weeks? Well if you’re Gandhi, about 3 weeks. He survived 21 days of total starvation while only allowing himself sips of water, but others have made it even longer, anywhere from 28-40 days.
Up to 60% of the human adult body is water, the brain and heart are about 75% water, lungs 83%, skin 64%, muscles and kidneys 79%, and even our bones are watery at 31%. A mere 2% drop in our body’s water supply can trigger signs of dehydration: fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on smaller print, such as a computer screen. Mild dehydration is also one of the most common causes of daytime fatigue. An estimated 75% of Americans have mild, chronic dehydration. Yikes! Hopefully that’s not you. I think you get my point by now…water is ridiculously important.
How much should you drink?
You’ve heard of the standard rule of drinking eight glasses a day. This is actually a good metric, BUT, please remember this is eight 8-ounce glasses, and all fluids count towards your daily total, yes even certain foods. So, go with this rule instead: “Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day.” Another helpful metric is one cup for every 20 pounds of body weight.
However, one’s water needs depends on other factors as well, so eight 8-ounce glasses might not be enough. What other factors you ask? Well, do you exercise, fly, drink coffee/tea (or anything with caffeine), enjoy a glass of wine at night, and maybe a few cocktails during the week? Do you live in hot and humid climates, or were you in the sun all day? Did you go the day with very little fruits and vegetables? Have you been eating salty, sugary, or fried foods? If you answered yes to any of these, then you need to be taking in more water. Of course there are also medical conditions and factors to consider, but I’m covering water basics for the average Joe (or Joan). Here are a few facts and tips to help you determine your daily water needs:
- Flying dehydrates you. Drink 1 cup of water for every 1-hour in flight.
- Caffeine is a diuretic. Balance 1 cup of coffee, tea, or other caffeinated beverage (e.g., coke) with 1 cup of water.
- Alcohol is a diuretic too! Drink 1 cup of water with every alcoholic beverage.
- Your body is a great indicator. Thirst, weakness, fatigue, reddened skin and dry mouth are all signs that you need to consume more water, regardless of how much caffeine you ingest.
- Use visual analysis to determine whether you’re well hydrated. Use this chart.
Alright, now you know the basics, so “water” you waiting for? Get to hydrating!
And I’m out,