Do you drink enough water? Water is the most important nutrient in the body. Water is also the most common nutritional deficiency among the American population. Water has many roles within the body. Water regulates body temperature, makes breathing easier, transports nutrients, removes wastes and flushes toxins. It also improves oxygen delivery to cells, improves cell to cell communication and maintains normal electrical properties of cells. That isn’t everything that water does in our body, it is very important to be properly hydrated. Did you know water enables the body’s natural healing process, too!
Common early signs of dehydration include fatigue, anxiety, irritability, depression, cravings, cramps and headaches (ladies does this sound familiar?). Mature signs of dehydration include heartburn, joint pain, back pain, migraine headaches, fibromyalgia, constipation and even colitis. So, how do you know how much water to drink on a daily basis?
Your daily water consumption, in ounces, should equal your body weight ÷ 2
This is the minimum number of ounces of water you should drink each day. For example a person weighing 150 pounds should drink at least 75 ounces of water per day.
You should avoid over consumption of diuretic beverages such as coffee, soda, and alcohol. If you do consume a diuretic beverage you will want to increase your total water intake for the day.
For every 8 ounces of a diuretic beverage you will want to add an additional 12 to 16 ounces of water.
(Ounces of diuretic x 1.5) + Body weight ÷ 2 = daily minimum water intake, in ounces
Other factors you will want to take into consideration are your activity level and your environment. If you are active and sweat a lot you will want to increase your water intake. Also, if it is hot outside you will want to increase your water consumption for the day. Your body needs all this water for you to stay healthy and hydrated.
I know…you are probably thinking…Jamey, this is a lot of water to drink and I don’t have time to be running to the bathroom all day. Here is a little tip: add a pinch of sea salt to your water. This will allow you to absorb and use the water you are drinking.
I recommend starting your day off with a big glass of water. Try to sip water throughout the day and not just at meals. Drinking too much water or slamming a ton of water with a meal can interfere with proper digestion. Set reminders for yourself during the day to drink more water until it becomes a habit if needed.
Next time you are feeling fatigued, craving certain foods, experiencing cramps and are quick to attack your co-worker or kids ask yourself, have I had enough water today? Drink up!
Reference: ©2004. Nutritional Therapy Association, Inc ® All Rights Reserved.