Your body can live only minutes without oxygen, but it can live weeks without food. Your body can only live days without water. The majority of the water our body uses on a daily basis comes from the foods we eat. The moisture in the fruits and vegetables and even the meat we eat is vital for our survival. But the reality is that most of us are walking around dehydrated and our body is suffering trying to deal with it.
The common symptoms of even just mild dehydration are listed as: fatigue or general low energy levels, hunger, muscle cramping or “tiredness”, constipation, indigestion or “upset stomach”, blood pressure problems, persistent or recurring infections, and even the emotional feelings of irritability, anxiety and depression.
Many of these symptoms of dehydration are health complaints that people go to a physician for help with. What do you think these people go home with: a glass of water or a prescription for a pill?
But if this person did get a pill and they did get relief from that symptom, knowing what you know now, how can you be sure that the relief actually came from the pill and not from the glass of water they took it with?
Your body is made up of 60-70% water so it is important to keep that level maintained for optimal health. A good rule of thumb to begin with is to drink 64 ounces of clean, purified water that tastes good to you each and every day. If you are exercising, you will want to drink more – usually an extra 12-20 ounces for every hour of exertion you do. This replaces the water you lose through sweat.
If you are drinking caffeinated beverages, you will need to drink more water to compensate as well. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it causes your body to urinate more. So for every serving of caffeine you drink per day, you need to balance it out with an 8-ounce glass of water. One glass for every cup of coffee you have. One glass for every cup of caffeinated tea. One glass for every caffeinated soda (if you are still drinking soda – and later, we’ll go into the plethora of reasons why you shouldn’t be drinking soda at all – regular or diet).
Water helps your body flush out the toxins that accumulate in your body on a daily basis. When your body is able to get rid of these toxins so they don’t stagnate in you, you feel better. You feel lighter, you feel healthier, and you feel more energetic.
Drinking lots of water helps you to lose weight as well because instead of snacking or eating more calories at a meal, you can fill up on water. Also, many of your cravings for unhealthy foods (like salty foods, sugary foods, or fatty foods) go away when you are getting enough water each day.
But the past, if you have tried increasing your water intake by drinking a lot more than you have before, then you probably felt like you had to go to the bathroom all of time. It might have become such a hassle for you that you stopping trying to get hydrated. But rest reassured that you that you will not feel like this forever. Your bladder is a muscular organ, which means that it can stretch as well as contract. Over time, your bladder will expand and get used to the increased amounts of water you are taking in if you continue do it on a regular daily basis.
So don’t think that to be hydrated means you have to be in the bathroom all the time. The fact that your body has to go so often when you first start shows you how dehydrated your body has become. Your body has shrunken down the size of your bladder because it is not getting the volume it is designed to handle. Remember, “use it or lose it.” Once your body gets used to it, you won’t be running to the bathroom all the time.
You can set alerts on your computer, on your smart phone or on your desktop to remind you to drink another glass of water repeatedly thought the day. I recommend buying an easy to carry, refillable water bottle that will serve as your visual reminder to stay hydrated. This will prevent you from contributing to the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” which is a large mass of trash full of thrown out, disposable plastic bottles. Buy a stainless steel reusable bottle or a hard plastic bottle that is BPA free that you can keep using over and over. A reusable water bottle will not only help you build that healthy hydration habit, but it will also help the planet as well.
*Exerpted from the Being Well Lifestyles Home Study Course by Dr. Jay Warren.
Drawing on over two decades of experience as a hands-on holistic practitioner, Dr. Jay Warren is a primary healthcare provider and licensed chiropractor in the San Diego area. He has spent tens of thousands of clinical hours helping his patients achieve their optimal health potential through holistic approaches bolstered by years of personal experimentation, education and research. Dr. Jay creates customized plans integrating exercise, nutrition and stress management strategies to overcome a myriad of health challenges. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.DrJayWarren.com.