If there’s one thing we all know, it’s that weshould be drinking more water. It seems like every article about skincare, diet, or fitness talks about the benefit of drinking more water.
Of course, drinking water is a good thing, especially if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t drink enough, but the truth is that simply drinking gallons of water a day won’t give you the key to ultimate health.
That said - it is crucial to good health.
There are compelling reasons for doing so.60% of an adult human is H2O. We need water to flush waste from our bodies, to help our brains to function, and control our temperature. Water also helps cushion our joints, create saliva, aid digestion, improve circulation, and much more. All our cells and organs need water to function. As humans, we can only last three to four days without water. There’s no doubt; water is all-important.
But keeping your body working at its optimum is not just about chugging water, there’s much more to consider if you want to stay hydrated and at the top of your game. Let’s take a look at how to know when you’re dehydrated (ideally before that headache kicks in) and how to stay hydrated beyond simply chugging water all day long.
Typical symptoms of dehydration include:
Some conditions make individuals more prone to dehydration:
It’s fair to say that most people still don’t drink enough water during the day and that many of them will show at least minor symptoms of dehydration. It’s pretty much a case of if you think you may be dehydrated, you probably are. Make sure you always have a bottle of water with you and refill it when you can. Don’t wait until you feel dehydrated – pre-empt and stay hydrated.
The fallback rule is the ‘“8x8” rule. That is, for most adults, eight 8-ounce glasses of water every single day is generally a good amount. However, while the 8x8 rule is pretty good - it is a catch-all and doesn’t take account of individual circumstances like size and weight, physical activity, constitution, and lifestyle choices.
64 ounces equates to around 2 liters of water per day but don’t make the mistake of downing that in one or two sittings. As with much else, little and often is one of the keys to remaining hydrated. Remember, your body is losing water throughout the day,especially if you work out.
The biggest causes of water loss are urine and sweat, but even breathing has an effect. So to prevent dehydration, it is far better to sip water regularly rather than drink large quantities two or three times a day.
A better formula for working out how much water you should be drinking daily is to take your weight in pounds, half the number, and drink that many ounces of water. For instance, if you weigh 130 pounds you should drink 65 ounces of water, if you weigh 170 pounds it would be 85 ounces. This method takes account of your body size.
But you have to bear in mind that you also need to factor in the amount you sweat, your environment, and how much hydrating food you have in your diet.
So you’ve upped your water intake but are still feeling thirsty, why is that? There are several reasons why you might feel thirsty after drinking water:
Electrolytes are minerals found in blood, urine, and sweat that are necessary for your body to function. They help with muscle contraction, nerve impulse transmission, fluid regulation, and much more.
Key electrolytes include:
Sometimes drinking water is not enough. If we don’t take in enough electrolytes – fruit and vegetables are excellent sources of electrolytes – or you sweat, which lowers electrolyte levels, we need to actively seek to boost the levels of those minerals. Taking in water alone risks lowering electrolyte levels as they get flushed out of the system along with the water.
The answer is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, drink water, and if you’re not going to eat a healthy meal soon after a sweaty workout, consider replenishing your electrolytes with an electrolyte drink. (Just watch out for high sugar content in sports drinks.)
Remember that your electrolytes are what allow your body to function by making electrical impulses possible - without them, we can’t function. Bottled water and tap water does contain electrolytes, but if you’re sweating a lot you may find you find it easier to stay hydrated by snacking on vegetables or drinking an electrolyte drink that contains them in higher quantities.
You can also be guzzling all the water in the world and still feel thirsty if you are Yin deficient. Yin and yang are essential to Chinese Medicine and help balance our life force or Qi. Yin is the complementary energy to yang and is the cooling one of the two. In our bodies, the yin rules the parasympathetic, resting and repair state of our bodies. Having a yin deficiency can cause many problems such as:
Yin deficiency is common in our modern-day era, related to high-stress levels and living an unsustainable, lifestyle of stimulants and constantly being on the go. We say it is like a pot of water on the stove that is on high, and keeps boiling and boiling. Eventually it dries up and cracks - and then comes the state of BURN OUT (yup, total and utter exhaustion). If you are very yang oriented all day - perhaps too easily caught up in the active, outward moving, high energy pursuits – work, high intensity exercise, caffeine, and so on – it can be easy to neglect the calming pursuits like meditation, getting outdoors, and getting enough high-quality sleep. In Chinese Medicine, it is all-important to have a healthy balance of Yin and Yang to stay well.
If you think you have yin deficiency you should look to feed that side of you - restoring yin is also part of staying hydrated, and not letting your pot completely dry up and get to cracking mode. However, simply drinking a ton of water will not replenish your yin. Getting more down-time, better quality rest, devoting more time to your inner peacefulness with meditation, mindfulness, and more restorative exercises like yoga, and tai chi, can give your yin a chance to replenish. With a more juicy yin, you will live a longer, more juicy quality of life.
In Chinese Medicine, the Kidneys are the root of life - governing our vitality throughout the developmental stages of life, quality of life as we age, brain health, reproduction and libido, urinary health, and of course, water metabolism. Kidneys remove waste products and superfluous fluid from your body. Normal, healthy Kidneys shouldn’t have a problem with you drinking a lot of water - but if you have a constant habit of taking in large quantities at once you risk flushing out too many electrolytes and making your Kidneys tired - and over time, more deficient. Kidney deficiency can make it so that you do not metabolize your water efficiently, and it turn, feel thirsty despite drinking a lot of water.
Here are some signs of Kidney deficiency -
If you have any of these issues, it is important to make sure to have a healthy balance of water throughout the day - without drowning your Kidneys in water and making them even more deficient. Drink water in lots of small amounts throughout the day so that your Kidneys can cope and so that your electrolyte levels remain stable.
To stay hydrated you need to drink water and take in electrolytes too. The best foods for electrolytes are:
Staying hydrated is vital for a healthy life. It begins with water but doesn’t stop there.
You need to make sure you take in sufficient electrolytes to replenish those that are removed from your body through perspiration. Just eating some fruit can make all the difference, but examine your diet to make certain you have a full complement of micronutrients available.
You also need to devote time to making sure that your yang is balanced by your yin. Modern life tends to encourage the yang so you need to make a conscious effort to strengthen the yin so that both the yin and the yang, though opposites, work together to allow your Qi to flourish.
Here are top hydration habits -
1)Drink in small amounts (8 - 12 oz at a time) throughout the day so you do not tire your Kidneys
2) Drink room temp or warm water to protect the Qi of your Kidneys and digestive fire
3) Add a dash of Hawaiian or Himalayan sea salt to your water once a day to mineralize your water - especially if you are Kidney deficient
4) Do not drink large quantities of water past 8-9 pm - your Kidneys need to rest.
5) Drink an appropriate amount of water given your physical activity, how much caffeine or stimulants you take, the weather, and how much you sweat (8 - 8 oz glasses is standard but it depends on the person)
6) Eat hydrating foods throughout the day
If you relate to symptoms of yin deficiency or Kidney deficiency and you’re looking for ways to add more balance to your life, book an appointmentwith us or try one of our wellness tinctures - they’re a great way to balance the body and mind without adding any taxing chemicals.View our full range here.