Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hydrate your Life!

What do you think is the most DEFICIENT nutrient in your body?

If you guessed water you are CORRECT!!! 75% of people are dehydrated. Stop, now re-read that. WOW, that means that 3 out of 4 people are dehydrated RIGHT NOW. Are you a part of that percentage?

Your body is made up of 60% water so it makes sense that it is extremely important to how your body functions. In fact, every system in your body depends on water in order to function properly. For example, water is needed to flush out the toxins and chemicals that you consume in your diet and breath in your body each day. Water is also responsible for carrying nutrients to each and every single cell in your body. The moist tissues in your ears, nose, and throat also depend upon having enough hydration in order to function properly to protect you from harmful chemicals and bacteria. The lubricating fluids in your joints also depend on having enough hydration in order to move and replenish fluids necessary to decrease joint degeneration and arthritis. In fact, 8-10 glass of water per day has dramatically decreased joint pain in 80% of people.

So where does all the water go that you drink? Well as a matter of fact you expire it through your skin when you sweat, it evaporates as you breath, and you excrete it when you use the bathroom. But the biggest question is.... Are you drinking enough water to replace the water you lose through your body's daily functions? If you have dry lips or feel thirsty then the answer is probably no.

So everyone supposed to get 8 glass of 8 oz of water each day right? NO! In fact everyone's water intake differs according to the health of their body, the food they eat each day, their activity levels, and even the weather. So if you're unhealthy or don't eat a good diet you may need to drink more than the 8x8 rule. In fact, in a study by the Institute of Medicine they found that on average men should be drinking 3 liters of water (about 13 cups) and women should be drinking 2.2 liters (about 9 cups). Are you anywhere near that number on a daily basis?

The recommendation is to drink 8oz of fluid 8 times a day, however this doesn't take into account the fact that many people reach for coffee, tea, and even soda for this fluid intake. Guess what ladies and gentlemen, all of these caffeine and sugar filled fluids actually contribute to you becoming MORE dehydrated!!! When you consume sugary drinks, your body is forced to pull water from your tissues to balance out the excess sugar that is deposited into your blood. Which will trigger your thirst mechanism and cause you to possibly reach for another soda or cup of coffee. Vicious cycle huh? So not drinking enough water or just water in general can actually lead you to become thirsty and more dehydrated. In turn this can also effect your body's general function and cause it to react by slowing function and shutting down systems. This can lead to you to become fatigued as well as thirsty!

Did you ever notice how young children ask for water or juice quite often during the day? That's because their brain connections between food and water aren't interconnected yet. In fact as we get older and our brains develop further, we lose the distinction between when we are thirsty and when we are hungry. In fact, in most people they only recognize that they are hungry, and so reach for food rather than water first! So try reaching for a glass of water next time you get hungry and wait 20 minutes. If you're still hungry then go ahead and eat rather than just always reaching for food. You'll satisfy your body, decrease your calorie intake, and possibly even contribute to some decreased numbers on the scale.

Another factor is the type of water you drink. Tap, distilled, or filtered? Tap water has extra added chemicals that the body will need to filter out and get rid of, which means that you're kidney will be working overtime and you're going to need water to excrete that waste to get it out of the body. If you've been watching the news lately, you may have even heard prescription drugs such antibiotics, anti-convulsants (seizure meds), anti-depressants and other mood stabilizers, and even hormones have been found in our water supply in 24 major metropolitan cities. Read more here.  Distilled water is free of the added minerals found in natural and as a result you won't get the benefits of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and sodium. So filtered water is the best to drink because your body won't have to filter it and lose water in the process and you'll still have the benefits of the vitamins and minerals present in the water. Many stores now have inexpensive water filters that can be attached to the kitchen sink, water filtering pitchers,  and even filtered water bottles available for purchase. These are a great investment in your health and will make it easier for you to get the water your body so vitally needs.

So here's some tips on how to make sure you're drinking enough fluids.

  1. Designate a place for a water pitcher in the fridge, this will ensure that you have water cooled and ready to pour into a glass. 
  2. Make sure you have a designated glass or water bottle set aside each day filled with water.  If its within reach, you'll reach for that rather than getting up to grab a coffee, tea, or soda. If the glass or water bottle has an attractive color or design it will only add to the desirability of reaching for that container as well.
  3. Drink water while you're outside in the sun whether you're sun bathing, working in the yard, or playing football with your buddies. This will help to ensure that you're replacing the water lost from the hot weather.
  4. When you're hungry, try reaching for a glass of water first and then wait 20 minutes. If you're still hungry then go ahead and eat rather than just always reaching for food. You'll satisfy your body, decrease your calorie intake, and possibly even contribute to some decreased numbers on the scale. 
  5. Try keeping a tally of the number of glasses of water you drink each day. Reward yourself and give yourself a pat on the back when you reach your daily goal. (Goals should be 3 liters or 13 cups for men and 1.3 liters or 9 cups for women. However if you're more active or out in the sun add a few more glasses to that number.)  
  6. If you have difficulty drinking plain old water and need a little flavor, try adding a teaspoon of lemon juice into your glass for flavor or add some fresh fruit (I love adding watermelon!) into your water pitcher for some extra flavor when it's time to pour another glass.

I hope this helps you to become more hydrated and supports your healthy body function! If you have any questions don't hesitate to give me a call in the office (309) 689-6200.