Staying hydrated is likely the number one health goal that no one is reaching. Recent CDC surveys find that adults drink just 39 ounces of water a day with youth coming in at only 15 ounces 1,2! When you look at the most recent National Academy of Medicine recommendations of 102 ounces of water daily for men and 72 ounces for women you get the sense that we are all profoundly dehydrated 3. Healthy hydration is vital to our bodily functions as well as our cellular health 4. Keep reading as we review the benefits of water as well as helpful tips to stay hydrated this summer.
The benefits of hydration include:
Improved brain function. One reason water is so essential starts with the fact that we are mostly water – adults are around 60% water while our brains are over 75% water 5. Dehydration usually shows up in our cognitive abilities first. In one study, athletes who became dehydrated showed significant shrinking of brain tissue just like a sponge left out to dry 6. Further, studies show us that even losing 1% of our fluids impairs mood, energy levels, and has significant impacts on cognition and memory 7.
Water helps boost metabolism and weight loss. Drinking just two cups of water can temporarily increase your metabolism by 30 percent for two hours and could potentially mean burning an extra 200 calories a day just by staying hydrated 8. In one study, drinking 2 cups of water 30 minutes before meals resulted in 44% greater weight loss than those who drank no water 9!
Water is the best detoxifier. Our kidneys filter over 40 gallons of fluids per day taking out bodily waste and environmental toxins 10. If we are not properly hydrated the kidneys cannot do their job and toxins can accumulate in the body 11. It isn’t just the kidneys every cell contains water and is how each cell receives nutrients and rids itself of metabolic waste 12.
Water increases performance. Tired all of the time? Having trouble getting motived at the gym? It could be dehydration. Inadequate water intake is associated with low motivation, fatigue, and oxidative stress 4. Staying hydrated can prevent these symptoms.
Tips for staying hydrated
Drink frequently and form a routine. While a rigid schedule would become tedious and boring forming simple habits are easier to maintain. Try drinking a liter of water first thing in the morning. Then make a point to drink two cups 30 minutes before each meal including breakfast 13.
Add electrolytes. Drinking enough water is only half the story when it comes to staying hydrated; electrolytes are the other half. Electrolytes add an ionic charge to water that creates an electrical gradient that pulls water into cells 14. Many people drink water but remain dehydrated because of a lack of electrolytes 15. Adding trace mineral drops and drinking high pH water is a great way to increase water absorption. Additional sources of electrolytes come in a variety of liquids, powders, and pills.
Coconut water. Coconut water is nature’s sports drink. Coconut water contains natural sugars, vitamins, and minerals. In fact, one cup of coconut water may contain up to 600mg of potassium 16. After intense exercise, the natural sugars in coconut water replenish glycogen decreasing recovery time while the potassium supports heart and muscle function 17.
Eat your hydration. Thankfully not all of your hydration needs have to come from water. Up to 30% of your daily fluid intake can come from fruits and vegetables. Most don’t realize it, but fruits and vegetables are typically 90% or more water 18! What’s more, they are loaded with electrolytes, vitamins, antioxidants, and detoxifying fibers.
Invest in clean water. The importance of water quality cannot be overstated. The water on our planet has become incredibly polluted with heavy metals, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, microplastics, and even illicit drugs 19,20,21. This is in addition to the toxins we purposefully add such as fluoride and chlorine. Reverse osmosis, distilled, and spring waters stored in glass, metal, or BPA free containers are the best choices for the purest waters.
Water is natures’ most important molecule, and we are finding out more and more than health and hydration are synonymous. With this in mind, we hope you can use our tips to stay healthy and hydrated this summer.