When I was a kid, neighborhood moms mixed pitcher after pitcher of sweet fruity-flavored Kool-Aid for thirsty growing bodies. As they handed out the paper Dixie cups of our generation’s drink, I was the kid asking for a cup of water instead. The request would be met with surprise, and some good-natured cajoling to try the flavor being offered, but even then, I knew I’d still be thirsty, my need for water unquenched, if I accepted.
Not to say that I didn’t drink the Kool-Aid, because I did. After all, I couldn’t be the only kid on the block without a cool grape ‘stash.
What I knew instinctively as a kid, I’ve come to factually understand as an adult: water is essential and more important than many think in keeping your body operating on optimal levels.
Good quality water is the holy grail of all things good that you can do to get and stay healthy.
What’s The Big Deal?
Most everyone has heard that our bodies are comprised mostly of water, but did you know that it accounts for approximately 60% of your total body weight? Every single system in our body depends on water in order to function properly. Water carries nutrients to cells. Water flushes out toxins. Water keeps moist things moist (eyes, lungs, throat, and regions south). Water keeps skin looking younger. Water helps you think more clearly. It’s akin to a wonder drug, without the distasteful side effects (you know the commercials I’m talking about).
We are constantly using our body’s available supply of water. We breath, we sweat (fine, some of you glow), we urinate, we poop (um, everybody poops), and some of us even spittle a little when we talk excitedly.
Say it, Don’t Spray it!
Because of this usage, it is vital that we replenish what we use on a daily basis.
When you don’t get enough of the fine H2O, dehydration is the next step. Dehydration is sneaky, because there aren’t many overt signs to warn you it’s starting. It comes in stealth-like with its night-vision goggles on, ready to pounce.
Once it gets a foothold, dehydration leads to a noticeable drop in energy and necessary physical and mental functions become compromised, which means your entire body suffers along with your mood. Tired folks = cranky folks.
MayoClinic.com backs me up:
“Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.”
The thing to remember is this: We need water in order to function at our best.
How Much Do You Need?
Doctors still pretty much agree that everyone needs at least 8-9 cups a day. Of course there are variables that would indicate if you need more than that, mostly environment temps and conditions and activity levels. It’s the how to get those cups that leads to confusion.
Some of this intake comes from the foods you eat and the things you drink. If you’re unsure you’re meeting the minimum daily requirements, a reliable time-tested method is to observe your urine output and the color of that urine (urine, urine, urine!).
Mayoclinic.com describes it perfectly:
“…if you drink enough fluid so that you rarely feel thirsty and produce 1.5 liters (6.3 cups) or more of colorless or slightly yellow urine a day, your fluid intake is probably adequate.”
While there is no need to actually catch your output in your measuring cup (but if you do, I think I speak for all of us in saying that you can keep that info to yourself), the bottom line is you should be taking more than 2-3 bathroom breaks a day and observing nothing brighter than a stick of butter in the bowl (this time salted or unsalted doesn’t matter).
Yes, I know the darker/brighter the pee, the prettier it is, but in this case we want a washed out tinge, nothing more.
The easiest way to make sure you don’t forget to replenish your fluids is to keep a water bottle handy. It can be as easy as grabbing a few bottles from a grocery pack, or the greener route, keep a filled reusable bottle nearby.
However you decide to remind yourself, the important thing is to follow through. Give yourself a week or two and concentrate on diligently rehydrating your body and see if it doesn’t make a marked difference in your life, in your energy levels.
Take it from a gal who has been drinking water as her drink of choice her entire life; when you don’t hydrated properly, it shows.
Next: Water Benefits: (H)201