What does it mean to be hydrated?
It means that you have enough water and minerals to maintain proper body temperature, think clearly, have energy, metabolize food, lubricate joints, and regulate bowel movements. Every cell, organ, and tissue in your body needs water to function properly.
How much water do I need?
I recommend drinking ½ your body weight in ounces daily. For example, if you weigh 200lbs. you should aim to consume 100oz. water daily.
Does it really have to be all water?
Ideally, most of this liquid would come from purified water, herbal tea, broth, and the water contained in fruits & veggies. Drinks like energy drinks, soda, coffee, and fruit juice are bringing liquid into your cells, but they can also contain a lot of sugar and caffeine which can wreak havoc on your stomach and esophageal lining, decrease bone density, strip calcium from bones, and cause inflammation. If you don’t love plain water, try infusing it with fresh fruits (the whole fruit, not just the juice), herbs, or pure therapeutic grade essential oils like these. Kombucha, Kevita, and other probiotic beverages are a delicious way to change things up as are my favorite brand of sparkling waters – La Croix. Target has the most variety in flavors of La Croix waters so head there if you are craving some bubbles but want to ditch the artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial food dyes.
How in the world am I supposed to drink that much water? I always forget!
Use the same glass or water bottle throughout the day and figure out how many of those you will need to drink to fulfill your goal intake.
Remember that you don’t have to double your water intake in one day. Start by adding just one glass each week until you get where you should be.
Am I really dehydrated if I don’t drink that much water?
Typically, no. Signs of dehydration include extreme thirst, dry mouth, feeling dizzy or faint, not being able to control body temperature, not having to urinate for hours, and possibly passing out. Someone who is truly dehydrated usually needs a visit to the ER for an IV of fluids. However, it is still important that you aim to drink half your body weight in ounces of water to prevent actually becoming dehydrated. This is especially important for people working outside all day under the hot summer sun, or who sweat so much that their clothes are drenched after a workout. You know who you are!
If I am one of the people you just mentioned, who sweats a lot, should I drink sports drinks?
Sports drinks that should be avoided are brightly colored and have more than 20g sugar per serving. This includes the most popular sports drinks like Gatorade, Powerade, and Vitamin Water. There is no need for that much sugar or for food dyes. If you do need to replace electrolytes in addition to water, try a Coconut Water that doesn’t have any sugar added or the new WTRMLN WTR. You can also put a pinch of Sea Salt into your water bottle which contains over 300 minerals and will help replenish many of those missing electrolytes without all the extra calories.
A few other products that I endorse (and I won’t recommend anything unless it’s the best and I would consume it myself!) are:
Vital Proteins Collagen Beauty Greens