“How much water should I drink each day?” is one of the most popular Google search terms in the world.
Unfortunately there’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to hydration. Aside from helping digestion and absorption of food, water regulates body temperature, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells and removes toxins and other wastes. Water also cushions joints and protects tissues and organs, including the spinal cord, from shock and damage. Conversely, lack of water (dehydration) can be the cause of many ailments.
The human body is made up of 55% – 75% water, which means water is essential for all of our bodily processes. However why is it that nearly two thirds of us are chronically dehydrated?
You can become dehydrated by not drinking enough water, and you can also cancel out the water you have consumed by drinking sugary soft drink, caffeinated drinks and other drinks which have a diuretic effect. These diuretics promote the loss of body fluids which can lead to dehydration.
You’ve probably heard the 8×8 rule (8 glasses, 8 ounces/250ml each) as the answer for how much water to drink, however there’s no official source or specific evidence for this recommendation. Water requirements vary from person to person and even from day to day for the same person. Consider this: you’ll need to drink more water after running 10 miles than when you’re relaxing at home. If you take a vacation to a hotter climate and perspiring a lot, your body is losing bodily fluids more rapidly which means you’ll need to increase your water intake.
Learning to tell the more subtle signs could be the difference between satisfactory health and radiant health—many doctors even believe that dehydration is a leading cause of diseases.
It’s best to listen to your intuition, common sense and pay attention to the signs that your body gives you.
Three signs your body is telling you to drink more water:
1. You’re thirsty.
If you wait until you’re thirsty, you may already be dehydrated (especially after physical exertion, during which your body loses a lot of water through sweat). It’s better to drink a generous portion of pure water regularly throughout the day to take overthinking out of the process. If you’re going to do physical exertion in the next 24hrs increase your intake to pre-empt the dehydration process and also reduce that thirsty feeling.
2. Your urine is a dark yellow.
For optimal health, urine should always be a pale yellow color. If it’s darker, it means that your kidneys are retaining fluids. In turn this can mean a greater percentage of your urine is made up of toxins and other excretions. Because of this fluid retention, you’ll pee less often while still being dehydrated. Some people complain about having to urinate frequently when they drink a lot of water. The reality, though, is that a healthy, well-hydrated person will urinate at least 7 or 8 times a day—the inconvenience of which is far overshadowed by the dangers of dehydration.
3. You suffer from headaches, digestive problems, heartburn, fatigue, high cholesterol, confusion, anxiety, irritability, urinary tract infection or signs of premature aging.
These can all signal chronic dehydration. If you suffer from any of these symptoms, make a conscious effort to up your water intake and see if they’re alleviated. And of course, consult a professional if they continue.
Make sure you’re drinking the right kind of water
Once you have your personal water needs figured out, you need to ensure that you’re drinking clean, nourishing water.
I wish that I could say that any water is good water (maybe that was the case a long time ago), but in reality both tap water and bottled are often dangerous toxin sources. In some cases bottled water is even worse than tap water.
It can be said that the body will not retain impure water as effectively. This means even if you think you’re drinking enough water but still feel dehydrated, you may need to upgrade your water source. Drinking nutrient rich, alkaline water without flouride such as AlkaWay water can be beneficial in your body getting the most benefit from the water that you’re drinking. It’s a very common reponse from the friends of people who have begun drinking AlkaWay water to comment “Oh, you look so… juicy!”.
Water: the most neglected nutrient in your diet but one of the most vital.
Learn to listen to your body. You’ll be able to make choices that are more aligned with your health needs. And the better shape you keep your body in the more equipped it will be to send you accurate signals about what it needs. It’s a virtuous cycle.
Hydration is a perfect context for practicing this kind of self-listening because the signs are so easy to discern. Doing so with regularity will enable you to live consciously, brightly and vibrantly.
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