The importance of staying hydrated

importance of staying hydrated

Staying hydrated is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy. Clinical nutrition experts say the human body's health and well-being depends on the level of hydration. Next to oxygen, water is the most important nutrient our bodies need.

There are so many benefits to drinking water and staying hydrated:
  • Combat fatigue – water is an important source of energy
  • Help digestive problems - water works to complete enzymatic activities in your cells
  • Reduce high blood pressure – water helps keep blood flowing through veins and arteries
  • Flush unwanted toxins – water helps vital organs like the kidneys and bladder do their job
  • Keep joints in working order – water helps with joint repair
  • Maintain good skin – water keeps your skin moist and elastic
Feeling thirsty is a good indicator that you need water, but drinking it only when you are thirsty may not be optimal. As water levels decrease in your body, your blood becomes thicker. When the solids in your blood rise to 2%, that triggers the thirst mechanism. Serious symptoms of dehydration arise when blood solids rise to 5% - which is long after you first feel thirsty.

how to tell if you are hydrated
How much water do you need? Harvard Health Letter challenged what we’ve always heard about needing 8 cups of water per day, which they say was not based on science. Their experts tell us that 4-6 cups of water per day is enough because we generally get water from other daily sources, including vegetables and juices. 

Susan Kleiner Phd, RD suggests we drink 8-12 cups of fluids a day, 5 of which should be pure water.

Drink enough water to keep your urine light yellow. The color of your urine is a measure of how many solid particles (sodium, chloride, nitrogen, potassium) are being excreted. Keep in mind though, there are some vitamins, like the B group, that can turn your urine bright yellow.

When it comes to hydrating, all beverages are not created equal. Avoid drinking tap water - it contains fluoride, heavy metals and disinfectant by-products, which can adversely affect your health. 

Filtered water is best – install a filter on your kitchen faucet to strain out harmful contaminants. Coffee, black tea, juices, sports drinks and sodas don’t count! They act as diuretics and travel too quickly through the body to effectively hydrate you. 

Remember – water is your best friend for life!