Hydration is a commonly missed nutrient. It seems like such a quick and obvious fix, but many individuals will pick up a soda or a coffee when they’re thirsty, only to end up further dehydrating themselves. I have family members that drink too much water on a daily basis, and ones that can barely get through one water bottle a day. An interesting thing to know is that both of these family members are dehydrating themselves. Yes, that’s right! You can dehydrate yourself by drinking too much water. This is due to your body flushing water, electrolytes, and minerals at such a rapid pace, leaving your body little to work with. On average, 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. This is why water is the most common nutritional deficiency in the American population.
Water is the most important nutrient in your body, taking up about 55-60% of our total body mass. We are able to produce 8% of the water we need via metabolic processes, but the other 92% we need has to come from the food and drinks we consume.
Electrolytes make sure the water we are consuming absorbs properly. Electrolytes are minerals that become capable of conducting electricity when dissolved in water. They have four general functions: controlling the osmosis of water between fluid compartments, helping to maintain pH balance, carrying electrical currants, and serving as cofactors needed for optimal activity of our enzymes.
Proper hydration is vital for our urinary system; especially our kidneys. They are so important! There is a reason we cannot live without them. First, our kidneys act as a filtration system as they work to remove cellular wastes, such as water and bile pigments, from our body. They also return the needed water and solutes to our blood stream, and excrete the rest. Secondly, they play a key role in homeostasis as they regulate crucial topics in our body such as blood pressure.
When we face a 2% drop in hydration, we are likely to feel fatigued. When we face a 10% drop in hydration, our digestive, cardiovascular, immune, and musculoskeletal systems are impacted. Any more than a 10% drop and we are likely to face death. We can live 8 weeks without food, but only days without water. Dehydration is real! When you are in the early stages of dehydration, you may feel fatigued, anxiety ridden, irritable, depressed, experience cravings, cramps, and headaches. When you are in the mature stages of dehydration you are likely to experience heartburn, joint pain, back pain, migraines, constipation, fibromyalgia, and colitis.
This seems so particular doesn’t it? How are you supposed to figure out how much water you should actually be consuming per day? Don’t worry, I got you! Divide your body weight by two and there you have the minimum amount of fluid ounces you should be consuming per day. If you are an active individual, add more since you lose water when you sweat. Lastly, add an extra 12-16 ounces of water for every 8 ounces of diuretics (ex: soda, caffeinated teas, alcohol, packaged fruit juices, etc) you consume per day. Ideally, you should not go over one gallon of water per day.
BONUS: Why I use Redmond Real Salt
Sometimes, even when you are drinking the amount you should, it seems as though it is not good enough. That happened to me. When my classmate was testing my body, I was sure to pass the hydration test. Much to my surprise, I failed. I told her that I weighed 118 pounds, consumed minimal diuretics per day, if any, and that I was drinking about 60 fluid ounces of water daily. I was doing everything right, but my body was still flushing the water I consumed instead of absorbing what it needed. I was then instructed to add 1 pinch of Redmond Sea Salt on my tongue at night and wash it down with 8-12 ounces of water before bed. I was afraid I’d have to wake up multiple times at night to pee, but I didn’t have to. Redmond Real Salt is an unrefined mineral salt that comes right from Utah, and holds 65+ trace minerals. These minerals help your body absorb water on a cellular level so your body can better utilize what is needed versus flushing it out. I now do a pinch in the morning and night to make sure I am properly hydrated the whole day!