Good Habits for Better Hydration
Staying well hydrated is easier said than done. If you're like most people you probably wait until you're quite thirsty to chug back a glass of water. While this habit is common, it's not the most effective as thirst happens generally once dehydration has already occured. Whoops! We need to hydrate adequately before we start to feel thirsty. This means as soon as we wake up, we start the hydration process. And we do this every single day because every single night we lose our fluids - approximately 1-2 L - is given to all the natural night time processes in the body including detoxification of the liver, lungs and brain.
Signs of dehydration are widespread, as water is in every cell of the body and impacts all areas of health.
You may experience symptoms such as body stiffness, aches and pains, headaches, dry skin, fatigue, brain fog, constipation or the most relatable of all: the mid-afternoon crash.
Sounds familiar? You're not alone. An estimated 80% of us are experiencing dehydration on a daily basis.
Hydration expert Dr. Dana Cohen, co-author of the book Quench, recommends that if you are unsure if you are dehydrated, the best thing to do is to count how many times a day you are urinating. If it is less than 6 times, then try improving your hydration regime and this will lead to improved health. Dr. Cohen believes that the development of many chronic illnesses as well as auto-immunity can be reduced by simply getting better hydration and is passionate about hydration as a simple and inexpensive way to improve health and wellbeing.
So. Are you really hydrated?
The first thing to understand is that the commonly advised '8 glasses of water a day' is NOT necessarily good hydration advice. Big shock? Not really. It's like the food pyramid. Much too simplified.
The truth is hydration comes from many sources, and is influenced by a wide range of factors. Did you realise that even breathing in and out has an influence on your hydration? Winter time can be much more dehydrating than summer due to the use of artificial indoor heating. To counteract the winter dehydrators, Dr. Cohen recommends having a cup of hot water or tea nearby to add hydration to the air you breathe.
She also suggests drinking a glass of water with sea salt and lemon as soon as you get out of bed, and that eating your water is as important as drinking it. The water in hydrating foods such as chia pudding, cucumbers, smoothies, salads, soups, fruits and veggies helps to hydrate us even better than plain water. When adding up our water intake we can include many foods, not just glasses of water. Overall, it comes down to how well our cells can hold on to the water, and food contains minerals and fibre that help the water present in the food get into the body better.
Learning how to hydrate is the basis of maintaining homeostasis in the body. - Dr. Dana Cohen
The Huberman Lab recently covered hydration in their podcast, and they suggest the perfect formula is drinking 8 oz of water every hour for the first ten hours that you are awake during the day. It doesn't have to be every hour precisely, you may drink more or less at a time, but you're looking at adding up over the day to that goal. If you are exercising, are sweating more, consuming diuretics such as caffeine or are thirsty, then that amount needs to be increased. And for those looking to achieve the highest hydration possible, say athletes or those with specific health needs, using electrolyte drinks can really give a boost. Coconut water is beneficial as it contains many naturally occurring electrolytes. You can also try adding a little salt to water as a good basic hydration practise, however we also need to make sure we are getting all five essential electrolytes which are: sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and magnesium. The ratio of each is also important and you will find that many good electrolye formulas understand this and provide a good balance of each.
Can you over-hydrate?
Quite simply, yes. This may surprise you but it is completely possible to drink too much water. More is not necessarily better. Drinking 'a ton' of water can make you lose more electrolytes than you are able to keep, and this can lead to adverse health outcomes. So be careful and don't overdo it. Make sure you are adding enough sea salt, mineral rich salt or using an electrolyte formula, to make the water you drink stay in your cells.
Need hydration help? Our Wellness Advisors are availble in the store to help you understand the different hydration products we have available including a variety of different salts. Come chat to us!
We also can assist you with water filtration devices, as many experts suggest that water quality - including both pH and purity - has a significant impact on our hydration and is something to further consider if you are looking to truly optimise your health.
Once you start to pay attention to achieving better hydration, you will likely start to feel a difference within a day or 2. There is really nothing else in DIY wellness that can have such dramatic effect and so quickly.
Start by practising good hydration, before you do anything else on your wellness journey. You will find that all the work you do to look after your body will have better results once you have yourself properly hydrated.
Cheers to your good health!
Written by Nutritionist & Digital Marketing Manager, Sita Huber