Why is it Important to Drink Enough Water?
If you've ever been dehydrated, you know how awful it can make you feel – fatigued, confused, dizzy, thirsty.
But in addition to those miserable symptoms you feel right away, there are a host of other issues dehydration can cause on the inside.
You see, your body relies on adequate amounts of water to perform some critical functions.
You've probably heard that water helps maintain electrolyte balance. But do you know exactly what that means?
Electrolytes are minerals in your body that have an electric charge, like sodium, calcium, potassium, chloride, phosphate, and magnesium.
And they're important because they help move waste out of your cells, balance your body's pH level, and make sure your nerves, muscles, heart, and brain work the way they should.
When you're dehydrated or sweating, electrolytes are lost and they're not able to perform their vital functions.
Water also helps lubricate your joints because the cartilage in your joints is 80% water.
Chronic dehydration can reduce your joints' shock-absorbing ability, which can lead to joint pain.
Your body also relies on water to produce saliva and mucus.
If you've been a reader of mine for a while, you know that both fluids are needed for good digestion and sinus health.
You've likely heard that blood delivers nutrients throughout the body, but did you also know that blood is 90% water?
So, when you're dehydrated, your blood volume decreases, which could lead to a drop in blood pressure levels.
When your blood pressure drops too low, your organs won't receive the essential oxygen and nutrients they need.
Dehydration may even raise your blood pressure due to a hormone called vasopressin.
You see, your body secretes this hormone when there's a high level of sodium in your blood, or when your blood volume is low. Dehydration can cause both to occur.
High concentrations of vasopressin can make your blood vessels constrict, which can lead to an increase in blood pressure.
Clearly, you want to do all you can to keep your body hydrated.
And with temps soaring, replenishing lost fluids is critical to maintaining good health.
At minimum, aim about 7-8 glasses of water each day.
But if you're exercising regularly or spending a lot of time outside, your body needs more.
If you're struggling to drink enough water each day, here are some tricks to make it easier.
First, carry a reusable water bottle around with you and refill it throughout the day.
You can also set reminders on your phone to drink water regularly.
Developing the habit of drinking a glass of water before each meal can be helpful in reaching your daily intake goal.
An added perk is that folks sometimes confuse thirst with hunger.
So, drinking that glass before a meal will help determine if you're truly hungry or just thirsty.
If you're completely over the "boring" taste of water, try flavoring it with fresh fruit, like lemons, berries, or kiwi.
And if you simply can't take another sip, supplement your water intake with foods with a higher water content.
Lettuce, celery, zucchini and melon all have a water content of 90% or more.
Dehydration can cause some serious health issues.
And the high temps of summer put you at even greater risk.
So, drink up throughout the day, and maybe enjoy a slice or two of watermelon to keep dehydration at bay.