Sure, you’ve heard it before. It’s important to drink enough water. But the following information is going to be new for many of you.
In this week’s Nutrition Tips, you will learn:
- how much water you should drink and why you should consider drinking less at mealtimes
- Why your body might be dehydrated even if you drink lots of water
- Why your choice of drinkware might be harming your health
Why I’m Obsessed with Water
Water is your body’s most important nutrient, is involved in every bodily function, and makes up 70- 75% of your total body weight. Water helps you to maintain body temperature, metabolize body fat, aids in digestion, lubricates and cushions organs, transports nutrients, and flushes toxins from your body. Source
So, what can we do?
First, Check in with Yourself
How does your body feel? Dehydration can cause all kinds of nasty symptoms in your body like headaches, muscle pain, fatigue, sugar cravings (you feel like you’re hungry when you’re actually thirsty!), constipation, dizziness, and can even cause breathing and vision problems, seizures, fainting.
Second, Are you Hydrated?
Download my free Water Wisdom cheat sheet to determine whether you’re getting enough H2O. Or maybe you feel like you drink tons of water but it “goes right through you”? Keep reading because, in either case, I have 3 tips to help you.
A. If you suspect you’re not getting enough water…
Take the Rehydration Challenge! Are you up for it? This challenge sounds easy, but it will be tricky for some. All in all, it’s WELL worth it! Challenge yourself to drink mainly water for the next month and see how your body feels.
Here’s the Protocol to Follow for Optimal Hydration:
- First, calculate your individual water needs by taking a quick peek at the Water Wisdom cheat sheet (above).
- Wake up: Drink one glass of water. (I keep a 16 oz. glass of water on my bedside table.)
- Breakfast: Sip room temperature or hot water with your meal
- Between breakfast and lunch: Drink a glass of water
- Lunch: Sip room temperature or hot water with your meal
- Between lunch and dinner: Drink a glass of water
- 15-20 minutes before dinner: Drink a glass of water
- Dinner: Sip room temperature or hot water with your meal
- Between supper and bedtime: Drink a small glass of water
And if You’re Exercising:
- 15-30 minutes before exercise: Drink a glass of water
- During exercise: Take sips or small drinks of room temperature water
- After exercise: Drink a glass of water
Don’t Chug It!
Why not chug water during your meal? Drinking excess water during a meal can potentially dilute your stomach acid and weaken digestion. Instead, sip hot or room temperature water with a meal.
B. If you Drink Lots of Water and Still Feel Dehydrated
Try Hot Sips
If you feel like your water is just going right “through you” even though you drink lots, you may not be driving water deep enough into your pores.
Imagine pouring cold water on a dried out piece of leather. That water would most likely roll right down the leather, rather than soaking in. If the pores of the leather stay closed, the water molecules have no opportunity to penetrate. A dried out digestive tract can experience the same effect. You may be drinking a lot of water, but if the intestinal wall doesn’t have a chance to soften and become receptive to the water, rehydration may not occur. Source
Now I want you to imagine doing the same thing with hot water. Hot water has the magical effect of opening up your pores. This means that it can penetrate deeper because the cells are softer.
So, I want you to practice sipping hot water throughout the day. Keep a mug of hot water with you at your desk while you work, or next to you while you watch TV. Take a few sips every 10-15 minutes.
You might be asking, “Can I have hot water with lemon instead? Or tea?” No, sorry. Plain water is the most effective in replenishing your body because adding anything to water makes it harder for your body to rehydrate (Source).
That being said, it’s fine to add lemon to your water if you’re bored with plain water and it’s going to help you drink more! And if you have digestive challenges and need to boost your stomach acid, you can sip hot water with lemon before and during your meals (Source).
C. If You’re Drinking Bottled Water…
Rethink Your Drinkware
The last thing I want to leave you with is this. If you regularly drink bottled water or use a plastic water bottle (even if they are BPA free), please pay attention.
Plastic bottles that have the number 3 or 7 on them can contain nasty synthetic chemicals that interrupt your natural hormone production. Plastics with the number 1 on them can contain toxic chemical additives or byproducts that will inevitably leach into your water.
So, buy yourself a stainless steel or glass water bottle and drink fresh, filtered water. Your body will thank you! Have a question about rehydration? Shoot me an email! I’d love to hear from you.
To your happiness and health,