Drink it Up!
Summer has me thinking about staying hydrated! It’s no secret that water is essential to human life, each and every basic function of our body requires water. But surprisingly, drinking enough water is a tough habit for so many. During hot summer months, it’s easy to notice your thirst when the sun is beating down on you, you’re working hard in the yard, the gym is hot and humid inside, and maybe you’re going back and forth to youth sports games. In these circumstances, it’s difficult NOT to feel thirsty and drink more water.
But, how do you really know if you’re hydrating enough? And what about the other seasons during the year when sometimes thirst isn’t so apparent? Life inevitably gets busy again, you have work stress going on around you, and the last thing you think about is stopping to drink some water. Some clients I have had, simply say they just don’t feel thirsty. So, today I made it my mission to inform you of different indicators that you might be under hydrated, some high value benefits of staying hydrated, and a list of hydrating foods to boost your water intake!
When you might be on the verge of dehydration
Adequate water intake (can come from foods as well), as determined by the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, is 3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters for women. Here are a few not-so-apparent indicators that you might be consuming an adequate amount of water, and on the verge of dehydration:
#1. Urine – aside from the physical sensation of thirst, the color of your urine is probably the 2nd easiest sign of dehydration to notice. If your urine is the color of a yellow crayon, maybe even golden – it’s time to drink up! It should be a very light, pale yellow. Since we are talking about waste, constipation can often be a sign of dehydration as well. Our intestinal tract is lined with a mucus layer, and without enough water, it’s hard to keep things running smoothly and efficiently!
#2. Headaches – Not drinking enough water can have a negative effect on blood pressure. And I don’t mean high blood pressure! Without enough water, our blood pressure can drop enough to cause unpleasant headaches. Next time you notice a headache coming on, drink some water and see if that might be the cause.
#3. Low Energy/Brain fog – Just like low blood pressure due to dehydration can cause headaches, it can also drastically decrease your energy levels and brain function! Ever get that afternoon slump, you just don’t feel as sharp or quick? Instead of going for that extra cup of coffee a glass of water first and see what that does for your energy and brain power!
#4. Skin – Is your skin constantly dry? Maybe even rough, tight, and cracked? Could be a sure sign you aren’t hydrating enough for all your body systems to function well!
Important Benefits of Drinking Enough Water
The different indicators of sub optimal hydration levels from above, are also significant indicators of just how important water consumption really is, and how simple it can be to boost your overall health!
Studies have shown that only a 1.4% loss of water can greatly impact our brain function. It can trigger low energy or mood, our ability to concentrate, and make normal tasks seem so much more difficult to accomplish (1). Mild dehydration has even been shown to challenge our ability to remember small, short term pieces of information, making it difficult to remember short term information and even impair our decision making (2). The same study saw an increase in feelings of anxiety and low energy with mildly dehydrated men.
If you’re highly active, exercise regularly, enjoy outdoor activities, and tend me to a “sweater,” know that when you sweat a lot, you’re also losing a lot of water. Which makes it crucial to hydrate before, during if you can, and most definitely after whatever activity you enjoy! Not only will dehydration make it feel so much harder to perform your exercise due to low energy, but it can also disrupt your body’s ability to cool down and regulate its temperature (3).
Another benefit to come from staying hydrated is help with weight loss. This isn’t a magic solution but could be a big contributing factor to consider if you may have had some weight loss struggles. When you are dehydrated, it could ramp up your hunger signals along with thirst, causing you to feel the need to eat a snack, when you might just need some water. Studies have shown that drinking water at least 30 min before eating, led to a decrease in calories consumed and increased feelings of fullness (4).
If you feel you might be hungry, try drinking a glass of water first, wait a little while, and if you’re not hungry that could have been some mild dehydration talking. If you do find yourself still hungry, go for it, don’t use water as a substitute for true hunger.
Different foods that can boost your hydration!
- Cucumbers ~ 96-97% water
- Iceberg Lettuce & Celery ~95% water
- Tomatoes ~94-95% water
- Zucchini ~93% water
- Watermelon ~ 92% water
- Broths & Soups with a water base (great for non-summer seasons)
I hope you found this information helpful, and has you inspired to get curious about how your body might be telling you that it needs more water!
At STRONGLIFE Weight Loss in Lithia, FL, Dr. Justin Scott can help you address any underlying issues, whether you realize they’re there or not, and improve your overall health.
“I hope that you found this as valuable as my patients have over the years. If you’re interested in a patient-centered process that takes into account all aspects that affect your health, then I would encourage to visit our website at www.stronglifeweightloss.com to see how we help our patients improve their health and to find if you are a good candidate for a Functional Medicine approach.