Most people understand that in order to live a healthy lifestyle, they need to eat more whole foods and get in regular exercise. But there’s another component to being healthy that many overlook: drinking enough water!
Staying hydrated is really important for health and wellness. In fact, the body is mostly water itself and thus depends on water for survival, all the way down to each specific organ and cell. When you think about it that way, it makes sense that water is crucial to proper function of the body.
Some of the most common uses for water in the body include:
Prevention of constipation
Carrying of oxygen and nutrients to the cells
Removal of waste
Now, the problem is that our bodies lose water on a daily basis. When we sweat, urinate, and breathe, water is being lost. And if we get sick, have certain health conditions, or have an active lifestyle, our bodies are losing even more water.
This is fine and normal, of course, as long as the body is restoring that water back. But if we aren’t regularly consuming enough water to replace what is lost, we get dehydrated. And there are some unpleasant symptoms of being chronically dehydrated — in fact, dehydration can affect your body and your mind.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common things we can experience from being dehydrated:
Common Symptoms of Dehydration
Headaches or migraines
Dizziness or feeling lightheaded
Feeling faint or sluggish
Very yellow urine
Plus, dehydration can get so serious that it can lead to bigger problems requiring medical care. So basically, staying hydrated and giving your body the water it needs is no joke.
You likely know a person or two who complains about one or more of the above symptoms. And although sometimes these can be completely unrelated to hydration, it’s worth questioning whether they drink enough water each day. Because unfortunately, most people don’t. But that can change!
So, what about you? Do you drink a lot of water each day? How much? Do you have any of the symptoms of dehydration of a regular basis? If so, you might want to trying upping your intake.
This might be sound a little awkward, but a good way to gauge your hydration level is by looking at your urine. Urine that is dark yellow or looks amber-colored is usually a clear sign of dehydration. Aim for a clear or very light yellow color instead.
Also, the amount of water needed can vary per person. A good rule of thumb is to always drink if you’re feeling thirsty or hungry (since we can sometimes confuse dehydration with hunger) and to always make sure you have access to some water — especially after a workout. I’ve provided some more tips to help below.
Tips for Staying Hydrated
It sounds like such a simple change, right? Just drink more water! But for people who haven’t made it a habit yet, it might take a little time to adjust. Here are some great ways to make sure you’re getting enough water into your body each day:
Carrying a reusable water bottle with you. You’ll be able to drink water throughout the day, whether you’re on-the-go or at work.
Eat more fruits and veggies. They are full of water (fruits especially), so you’re helping yourself stay hydrated while also eating good, whole foods!
Drink herbal teas or juices. These will help replenish your fluids without increasing the risk of dehydration from added caffeine or sugar. Plus, fresh fruit juices are a great way to give your body a boost of vitamins and minerals too!
Avoid too much caffeine. I’m looking at you, sodas and coffee. If you’re trying to improve your health, sodas should be one of the first things to go anyway. And coffee is very dehydrating, so if you enjoy a cup or two each morning, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water to replenish yourself.
Make healthy soups. As long as they aren’t too salty, the broths in soup can be a great way to incorporate some more liquids. Plus, homemade soups are a great healthy (and cheap) option for lunch or dinner.
So again, getting enough water each day is really important for your health. Don’t underestimate the power of a hydrated system, and drink, drink, drink!