By Dr. Eva Wilson
It’s come to our attention that most of us are chronically dehydrated! If our patients are any indication, getting enough water each day can be a real struggle. This is certainly unfortunate, as water is a foundation of health that can prevent bowel difficulties, keep us energized, and our bodies detoxifying efficiently.
How much water should I be drinking each day?
There’s a lot of misinformation out there on this topic. Our individual water requirements depend on our age, size, activity level, and even our gender. It’s not surprising that breastfeeding individuals require an increased amount of water each day. Studies show that older individuals may require more water, too. Because of increased sweating, most athletes require a greater amount of water on days they are training. In general, a good rule of thumb is to take your body weight in pounds and divide by 2. This number equals the number of ounces of water you should be aiming for each day. Another general way to look at it is to aim for at least 2 liters of water (or 64 ounces per day) for the average adult. For most people 64 ounces acts as a bare minimum, and does not account for sweat.
If you feel like your daily water intake isn’t meeting these goals, read below for strategies to incorporate improved hydration into your day!
I sweat everyday – how do I make up for this?
Here at NCNM, we often recommend adding electrolytes to some of your daily water. If you are sweating each day, whether that is during exercise or maybe your daily job, you’ll need to increase your water intake. Keep in mind, if you increase water and don’t replace the sodium that you lose when you sweat, you aren’t completely replenishing your body. We can certainly get sodium from our food, but many athletes turn to an electrolyte supplement to replenish their sodium levels. We carry some great electrolyte options in our dispensary, we are offering 20% off electrolytes now through the end of July. We have an electrolyte powder that adds some citrus flavor to your water and we have an option that is flavor and stevia free. Just ask us which one is the best option for you.
How do I know if I am well-hydrated?
The most reliable way to see if you are well-hydrated is by looking at the color of your urine. If you’ve been drinking enough water, your urine should be straw-yellow. Refer to the chart below for an idea of what your urine color might be telling you about your hydration status. Please note that if you are taking a B-vitamin complex or a product with B vitamins, your urine will appear more yellow for a few hours after you take it. Riboflavin is a B vitamin that can make your urine appear quite neon yellow; this is normal. The chart below is more reliable a few hours after you take the vitamins.
What are the symptoms of mild dehydration?
Many of us are living most days at this mild dehydration level. Possible symptoms of dehydration include low level headaches, constipation, fatigue, dry skin and dry lips. As dehydration worsens, symptoms become more severe.
Tips to Increase Water Intake:
- Find a reusable water bottle that you love. Options to consider:
- Size of the water bottle – will I be able to carry it around? Can I fit it into my purse?
- The cap or nozzle – is it leak proof? Do I prefer a straw, or a lid?
- Low toxicity options include stainless steel, glass, or BPA plastic (avoid soft plastic bottles)
- Add some flavor to your water!
- Water doesn’t have to be boring! Throw in a slice of lemon, lime, or orange to add flavor to your water. Mint leaves, ginger, or cucumber are also a great additions to add to your water bottle.
- Set some goals.
- Set some goals so that you can stay on track. For example, aim for 8 ounces before breakfast, or maybe aim for 30 ounces before your lunch break.
- Don’t chug it all at once.
- We’ve been there, too. You realize you haven’t had any water all day. You decide to drink your daily goal of 2L after dinner. Then you wake up multiple times per night for a trip to the bathroom. If you pace yourself throughout the day, you can get all of the water you need and avoid the night-time wake-up calls.
- Spice up your water, literally!
- Herbal tea counts towards your daily intake of water. This includes non-caffeinated herbal tea, like licorice tea, chamomile, spearmint….you name it!
Is my tap water okay to drink?
The Environmental Working Group offers resources to find out more about your local drinking water. Visit that website here:
If you find that you’re tap water has more contaminants than you feel comfortable with, don’t stress! There are many options in the way of filters to install in your home, so you can continue to enjoy your own water. To read more about types of filters, and finding the right filter for your home:
We can help you reach your goals
Are you still struggling to hit your daily minimum of water? Book an appointment with a provider here at NCNM, and we can help you reach your health goals!
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