Dra Maria Zweig
“Most people eat when they
should drink. As a result
we walk around overstuffed and
dehydrated” Sanjay Gupta MD
How not drinking enough water is ruining your day.
We are made up of 60% water so as you can guess it’s pretty important. Water is where all the compounds and molecules in our body interact for the purpose of keeping us alive and healthy in both body and mind. It allows the gases we use to breathe and the energy from the food we eat to get to the places it needs to go. Whether its our muscles, our bones, or are brain, without enough water everything starts working a little slower. Our bodies have evolved to slow itself down in case water is scarce, a sort of hibernation mode while we access water. It also creates a sensation of desperation and anxiety and general negative feelings in an attempt to make us aware of the problem, alot of these signals can be easily misinterpreted. It is very common that our first impulse is to eat, for that reason, many leading doctors advise too drink water before eating. In an attempt to suppress our bodily needs we simply stuff ourselves with food hoping it will make everything feel better. Unfortunatly, this usually aggrevates the problem. A lot of the food that is commonly available today is of the processed variety. In addition, from popular demand many of these foods have had the nutrition slowly sucked out of them in order for them to be non-fat or sugar-free. To compensate for this lack of both nutrition and flavor many of these foods have had sodium added to make up for the taste.
The food we eat is just making the problem worse
Sodium plays a key role in the problem with our water intake. Our body regulates the amount of water that it retains due to various different factors. Sodium is just one of those regulating factors. As we increase our intake of sodium the body regulates the amount of water which is excreted. It causes us to retain water and not produce as much urine in order to balance out the salt concentrations in our tissues and blood. Likewise, the high amount of water retention prevents waste material from being excreted efficiently. Normally this would cause thirst but many times this is misinterpreted as hunger and we only aggravate the problem with more salty foods. An important note regarding these high levels of sodium is the effect on our blood pressure. Recent statistics show that 1 in 4 american adults are affected by high blood pressure. This goes to show the importance of being mindful of the salt content of your foods and to pay attention to the amount of water you consume a day.
So how much water do we really need?
We constantly lose water through our skin, lungs, urine and feces. We also horde it when consuming high sodium foods. The Institute of Medicine has determined an adequate level of 3 liters a day for men and 2.2 liters a day for women. That’s about 3/4 of a gallon for men and 1/2 a gallon for women.
I know it sounds like alot of water but once you make it into a habit, it becomes much easier and you won’t even think about it. You will feel relatively better instantly, but if you keep up this good habit over a long period of time, the way you feel will improve dramatically.
Some helpful tips too get your days recommended amount of water…
- For me I bought a 32 ounce reusable water bottle and I just bring that with me everywhere I go. I fill it up twice throughout the day and I know I’m getting enough water. Something like this would work fine. http://www.amazon.com/Nalgene-Narrow-Reusable-Bottle-Tritan/dp/B005QHPNM2/ref=sr_1_5?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1408063544&sr=1-5
- If you want something with more taste, avoid sodas with high amount of sugars and sodium and try instead tea, or light instant drink mix and put some in your water. My favorite is Sabor Latino, and Nestea.
- I repeat PLEASE AVOID SOFT DRINKS WHENEVER POSSIBLE, even diet sodas, because even though they don’t have calories, they have alot of sodium and its not hydrating you at all.
- You can find some other fun ideas to make sure you drink enough water here http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1014
How do I know if I’m dehydrated?
Some symptoms that may be indicators of dehydration or just not drinking enough water throughout the day include…
- If you find yourself suffering from general negative feelings of your body or your mind, depression
- having excessive headaches
- sinus problems
- Irritability and general confusion
- little or no urination, any urination you do produce will be dark yellow. (Healthy urine is usually very pale yellow, or clear.)
- Dry skin, chapped lips, and dry mouth
- Sunken eyes, muscle fatigue
Just think, drinking the recommended amount of water every day may help with these problems or even rid them completely. These symptoms, is just your bodies way of telling you that it does not have enough water to operate efficiently. Not only will your symptoms get better, but you will have nicer skin, eat less, healthy kidneys, and it will help energize your muscles.
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