Do you wait until you are extremely thirsty before you drink water? If you wait until you start feeling thirsty, then you are probably already dehydrated. It is important that you do not wait to take a drink of water. Instead, prioritize water hydration to stay healthy.
Why is water important?
Your body and brain need water to function at its highest potential. It is considered a foundational nutrient. Our bodies are approximately 60% water by weight. All of our cells, tissues and organs are made up of water and many nutrients circulate through our body via water. So, the body needs to be hydrated or lubricated every day.
Water is needed to:
Regulate body temperature
Maintain sodium balance
Keep skin healthy
Research has shown that water consumption is associated with preventing certain cancer and other lifestyle factors . Other research shows that consuming water helps to improve mental performance, regulate digestion and maintain proper blood pressure .
What happens when I don’t drink enough water?
When you do not consume enough water, you become dehydrated. Dehydration occurs when you use up more fluid than you take in, resulting in your body not having enough water to perform its normal functions.
Here are some things you do each day that can lead to dehydration:
Alcohol and caffeine (soda & coffee) consumption
Intense physical activity or vigorous exercise, especially in hot weather
Illnesses, such as intense diarrhea or vomiting
Excessive sweating in hot weather or high temperatures
Severe dehydration can cause mental confusion, decreased blood pressure, increased heart palpitations, coma and even death.
How do I know when I am dehydrated?
Some of the possible signs and symptoms that you may experience if you are dehydrated include:
Problems thinking clearly
Ways to gauge the level of water hydration include looking at the color of your urine and checking your weight before and after vigorous exercising, especially if you are sweating. Your urine should be light or pale yellow. A very dark yellow urine would indicate dehydration. If you have weight loss right after exercising, then that is water loss.
How much water should I consume?
Experts say that individuals should consume approximately half their body weight in ounces of water per day. Consuming soda, fruit juices, protein shakes, sports drink, kombucha and other fluids are not the same as drinking water, and they will not produce the same effect as water can have.
Who is at risk?
Anyone can become dehydrated. However, older individuals, small children (toddlers), and individuals with chronic illness are the most vulnerable to dehydration. Elderly individuals often lose their thirst mechanism and thus their desire to drink. The body surface of small children is usually smaller compared to their actual body weight. It is important for elderly and young children to take extra care that they are getting enough fluid daily.
The bottom line
Make every effort to drink more water daily and be healthier before something goes wrong in a big way. Drinking enough water can have positive impact on your body. To stay hydrated, try these tips:
Carry a refillable water bottle to keep track of the amount of water you are consuming throughout the day
Get into the habit of drinking some liquid every two hours
Drink sports drinks only for long and/or intense exercise in hot weather. These types of drinks are high in sugar and sodium.
If you get bored with water, then add lemon, lime, fruit or cucumbers
1. Journal of Clinical Oncology, Vol 22, No 2 (January 15), 2004: pp. 383-385. American Society for Clinical Oncology.
2. Brewster D. Dehydration in acute gastroenteritis. J Paediatr Child Health. 2002 Sep;38(3)219-22. 2002. PMID:12047685.