May 10, 2018
Water is essential to good health, but ensuring you’re properly hydrated can be easier said than done. While drinking eight glasses of water a day is generally a good rule of thumb to follow, recommended amounts vary based on age, gender, individual health dynamics, activity levels, and even where you live.
This vital resource makes up sixty percent of your body weight, making it absolutely essential to get the water your system needs so that every cell, tissue, and muscle can continue to function as it should. Water helps to cleanse the system, keep your temperature normal, and lubricate and protect your joints and other sensitive areas.
Because our bodies are constantly moving, changing, and adapting to external stressors, our water levels fluctuate throughout the day. Everyday activities like breathing, sweating, and urinating release different amounts of water from our systems, and we must replenish these reserves by drinking fluids and eating foods with high water content.
While many of us look forward to the warmth of the summer sun, this approaching season makes it even more difficult to stay hydrated as heat and humidity set in. Because sweating is one of the primary ways our bodies lose water, it’s crucial to up your water intake in preparation for the warmer weather — especially if you plan to be outside for extended periods of time or if you work out regularly.
But water doesn’t just keep our internal organs up to speed. It helps us look fresh and healthy, too. Skin is our largest organ, and staying hydrated helps you look as good as you feel. Drinking water is also a great tool for weight management — as a zero-calorie beverage, water flushes the system and quells hunger pangs. Studies show that drinking a full glass of water before sitting down to a meal into feeling full and help you to eat less.
Certain foods, like fresh fruit and vegetables, also contain a surprisingly high amount of water. Fruits and veggies like cucumbers, radishes, watermelon, strawberries, broccoli, spinach, and more are over 90 percent water. These treats are refreshing, low in calories, and high in nutrients, making them an ideal pick-me-up for the upcoming summer season. When temperatures rise, be sure to reach for a hydration-packed snack to stave off the potential for dehydration.
Dehydration occurs when the body doesn’t have access to the fluids it requires. Symptoms range from the mild, like dry mouth and headaches, to the more severe, such as rapid heartbeat and fainting. And if dehydration becomes severe enough, it can require hospitalization and even become life-threatening in extreme cases. People of all ages are subject to general dehydration, so it is important to watch out for these warning signs and address them before they become hazardous to your health.
Drinking water is important, but you don’t have to stress over how many glasses are enough. Eating water-rich foods and getting fluids from fruit juice and even coffee and tea can help you reach your daily water quota. Consider carrying a water bottle with you while you run errands to increase your water intake. And if you’re dying for hydration but longing for flavor, too, spice up a cold glass of H2O with a fresh squeeze of lemon or lime, or add fresh herbs like mint or basil to give your next glass an extra kick. No matter how you look at it, maintaining a healthy hydration level is key to ridding your system of toxins and staying healthy.