It’s all downhill from here…
The body is predominantly water. You begin life at your highest percentage of water – 78% as a baby. The amount declines from there – and levels out at about 60% (and under) for an adult.
Where is all of this water? The lungs are about 83% water, The heart and brain are composed of 73% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, the bones are up to 31%, and your skin contains 64%.1 Want that healthy glow? Drink more water!
What does water do in the body?
Water has vitally important functions in the body. Among them:
- Lubrication of the joints
- Regulating internal body temperature
- Assisting in flushing away toxins and waste
- Transporting stored energy into the bloodstream (so it can be used as fuel)
- Acts as a shock absorber for the spinal cord and brain (and why you get a headache when you’re dehydrated).
Simply stated, water is a vital nutrient to the life of EVERY CELL in your body, and every cell is greatly affected when you don’t get enough water.
Am I dehydrated?
Water intake is something you really need to stay on top of. There are a lot of ailments people have and don’t necessarily realize are connected to their hydration levels. Do you experience headaches, fatigue, lack of energy, mood swings, simple carbohydrate cravings (think processed foods and sugar), unclear thinking and confusion? These are all signs of dehydration. When you’re thirsty your body is already past that “safe point” and you are, in fact, dehydrated.
Drink Up Buttercup
How much water should I be drinking?
The answer really depends on the person – age, gender, and activity level all come into play.
The best way to find out how much water your body needs at a bare minimum is to take your body weight and divide it in half. This number is the amount of ounces your body needs to function at rest (think sleeping, sitting at a desk, reading, etc). For example, a 200 pound person will need 100oz of water a day – AT REST. If you’re working out, pregnant, or doing anything active you’ll need to steadily increase that number to stay fully hydrated.
Does it have to be water?
Yes. And no. I’m a huge fan of water. There is nothing like water to hydrate your body. Your body is, after all, looking for WATER. Water is calorie free and can go with you anywhere. Water also can be absorbed right through the stomach wall, so it will hydrate your body faster than anything else.
What about foods?
There are also many foods that provide water. Natural, whole foods have the highest water content. Eating fruits and veggies as a snack is one of the best ways to improve your hydration – and get lots of nutrients too!
Room Temperature or Cold?
This really depends on what you prefer and what you’ll drink. Water at room temperature will absorb more quickly in the body, whereas with cold water your body will need to warm it up in order to absorb it (which also uses energy in the body – for the win!).
Bottom line: Drink whatever temperature of water you like. What’s most important is that you drink it.
Does it have to be “just water” or can I put something in it?
One of the greatest things about water is that it’s so versatile! You can add just about anything in your water to get a different taste. Looking for a little sweet? Add in some frozen berries. Something more cleansing? Add lemon. Something refreshing? Add in a few cucumber slices, mint, and orange slices. The sky is really the limit. Changing up your water will not only keep you interested in your water, it will also bring in extra nutrients as well.
Quick Tips and Tricks
- Always try to carry a water bottle with you. You don’t leave the house without your phone, right? Put your water bottle right next to it. Your water bottle can be your best accessory.
- Up your veggie and fruit intake to get more hydration and nutrients into your daily nutrition.
- Start your day with a full glass of water. Most people wake up dehydrated from their nightly rest.
- Get in the habit of drinking water at certain times throughout the day – especially before, during, and after a workout.
- Always drink water with your meals. Sugary drinks are “empty” calories and don’t provide any nutrients to the body. Save your calories for your food.
- Add fruit and veggie slices to your water to keep it fun, interesting, and add to your daily nutrient profile.
- Measure out your water for a week to make sure you’re getting enough and to help create a good habit of hydration.
Smile. A hydrated body is a happy body.
(1) H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158