Foundation 6: Hydration
Believe it or not, we've reached the final of the six foundations: hydration.
This module surprised me, quite a bit actually. Previously, I had downplayed the importance of hydration and drinking enough water (it's more than you might think!), but I won't downplay it anymore!
We need enough water in our bodies to literally perform every function essential to life. If we lose even 1-2% of our body's water stores, we start to immediately feel the effects, usually as fatigue. This might be why so many of us feel that afternoon dip in energy - our lack of hydration has caught up to us! If the drop in hydration is 10% or more, we start to see significant digestive, cardiovascular, immune, and musculoskeletal problems.
Not getting enough water is known as dehydration, as well all know. Early signs of dehydration include fatigue (as mentioned), as well as anxiety, irritability, depression, cravings, cramps, and headaches. Mature signs of dehydration are more severe and include heartburn, join and back pain, migraines, fibromyalgia, constipation, and colitis.
How much water do we need per day? The equation I now use is:
(Ounces of diuretics x 1.5) + Body weight (lbs)/2
So if you drink 24 ounces of coffee per day and you weigh 150lbs, you would need:
(24 x 1.5) + 150/2
36 + 75 = 111ounces per day
So many of us drink diuretics in excess on a daily basis. Diuretics include coffee, caffeinated tea, soda, juice, alcohol, and other sugar-sweetened beverages. If you drink a couple of cups of coffee in the morning and a pop mid-afternoon, that hydration need continues to climb!
In the body, water plays numerous roles including transporting nutrients, increasing cellular hydration, regulating body temperature, removing waste, flushing toxins, and empowering the body's natural healing process. There are so many other roles too, but that will get us started. Just know that water is crucial to overall health!
In order to properly absorb and utilize water, the electrolyte balance also needs to be in balance. Electrolytes are minerals that can conduct electricity when dissolved in water. I like to add a pinch of sea salt to my water for this reason to enable proper electrolyte to hydration balance, especially during the summer.
Drinking water around meals, but not too much during meals, is also important for the digestive process. But drinking too much water around meals can dilute the digestive juices (I'm definitely guilty of this!). Drinking a large glass of water upon waking is also another good idea to rehydrate your body after sleeping and breathing throughout the night.
I find it easier to stay hydrated when drinking through a straw, so go out and buy yourself a nice, tall, stainless steel water bottle and fill it up at least 3 times per day. Add in a pinch of sea salt if you desire (or lemon juice, which is my current favorite), and drink up! I know it'll make you feel better!