Are You Chronically Dehydrated?
It’s hard to get it all right when it comes to nutrition. “Should I eat low fat, or low carb?” “Are egg yolks okay?” “Is gluten-free right for me?”
While these questions valid, the main nutritional mistake I have seen people making in my practice is what they are drinking, or to put it another way, NOT drinking. Namely, water.
Dehydration is far too common today. Coffee in the morning, a soda at lunch, and milk with dinner, but water sadly seems to be last in line. In fact, it’s postulated that 75% of the American population is chronically dehydrated.
With a Starbucks on every corner, we can clearly see a picture painted of an over-caffeinated, under-hydrated nation. Notice how much more you pee after your morning latte? That’s the caffeine acting as a diuretic and pulling excess water as well as vital minerals out of the body.
Sodas and juices create a blood sugar spike and subsequent crash, calling on loads of insulin to regulate the sugar and creating an additional loss of water from the stress on the system.
And without adequate water, here’s what your body cannot do:
- No flushing of excess toxins (cellulite build-up anyone?)
- No removal of excess waste and trouble with elimination (constipation, anyone?)
- No lubrication or shock absorption in the joints (joint pain anyone?)
- No regulation of body temperature (cold all the time?)
- No oxygen and minerals getting into the cells (tired all the time?)
- No soft, supple, smooth skin (wrinkles anyone?)
Think logically: You are essentially a “body of water”. Approximately 60% of our bodies are water, and if we aren’t constantly replacing it, you can eat the best diet in the world, and exercise your brains out, but you will still have a body that is easily broken down, due to the lack of proper hydration.
Did you know, mild dehydration by just 3% can slow down metabolic function?
A mere 2% decrease can create trouble focusing, brain fog, and mental fatigue?
In my practice, I recommend half your body weight in ounces each day, and more if you are highly active or tend towards intense workouts.
And WHEN to hydrate is just as important. Avoid drinking cold water with meals, but instead choose warm water, or hot water with lemon to aid digestion. Your stomach is like a stew pot, and if you continually poor cold water in your pot, your water will never boil and with regard to digestion, the food at that meal will not properly get broken down. Aim for cold water in between meals to create an “inner bath” of flushing out toxins and keeping up with water loss.
You take your outer bath everyday, but I would venture to say the inner bath is actually more important. Starting your day with an inner bath of 17-20oz of water before anything else is one of my top tips during my nutrition consultations.
One more thing you know with regard to dehydration in today’s modern world:
Radiation from cellular devices, blue light from smartphones, televisions, and computer screens, and even things like fluorescent lighting can cause our bodies to release too much water and create dehydration. In this techie world, it’s more important than ever before to make sure we are properly hydrated all the throughout the day to mitigate some of the stress on our system caused by these dangerous exposures.
If you are on a quest of optimal health, nutrition is important, exercise is crucial, but hydration is essential. It’s free, it’s easy to carry with you, and it’s a key ingredient to longevity in this one body we have to live in.