"I never drink warm drinks... can't stand them!" said two different clients of mine this week. Another still: "I drink so much water my eyeballs are floating.. I just can't get enough!!". And even more commonly, "I know I need to drink more water..."
I find it curious, that we each have our own idiosyncrasies about how we like to do something as simple as drinking water. That's cool... as long as we are drinking water. Water helps our kidneys to flush water-soluble toxins, it moistens the skin, plays an important role in our blood chemistry, our digestive system... heck most of our body is made of the stuff. No wonder it's such a big deal!
Different authorities and traditional healing practices also have their own ideas about how much water you should drink. Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine systems believe that icy cold water weakens the digestive system, and that we should drink room temperature or hot drinks only. Conventional wisdom tells us the 8x8 rule: 8 oz glasses of water, 8 times a day. Marketers want us to think that the only water worth drinking comes in a bottle with an exotic sounding name. Busy people believe they don't have the time.
When we're not drinking enough water, we become dehydrated. Signs of dehydration include:
fatigue, low energy
- dry sticky mouth, thick saliva
- dry eyes
- dry skin
- brain fog
- altered hunger signals
- dizziness, lightheadedness
- no tears when crying, fewer wet diapers or sunken fontanelles (soft spot on top of baby's head) in infants
I often see these concerns in my practice, and understandably, it's troubling when you are getting frequent headaches, can't think clearly and are constipated. There are many reasons you might be experiencing these things, lots of testing we can do and lots of recommendations I could make. But, being a practical person (and I know you are too!), sometimes we need to go back to basics before getting into the fancy stuff.
How much water are you drinking?
Not coffee, not juice, not milk... no, not even that vitamin water stuff. Water.
Dehydration is actually very common in the elderly.. and busy people. Easily preventable, drinking enough water is one of the best things you can do for your health.
Here are my top 3 tips to make sure you're getting enough:
1. Start your day with a large glass of warm water with the juice of half a fresh lemon squeezed in (no, not that bottled lemon juice crap!).
Not only will this help to combat dehydration overnight, it will also help wake up your digestion system and gently stimulate your liver, it can also help get things moving in the morning (no coffee needed!).
2. Consume half your body weight in ounces of water for optimal hydration, gorgeous skin, and to stay on top of your game mentally.
So, if you are a 150 lb female, you would want to be drinking about 75 ounces, or 9.5 cups or just over 2 L of water per day. Keep a water bottle or glass of water beside you while you work and sip on it at least hourly. Refill once you're finished.
3. Listen to your body.
If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. If your urine is yellow (and you're not taking a multi-vitamin or B vitamins) you're not drinking enough. If you frequently get urinary tract infections (UTIs) you probably aren't drinking enough. If you feel cold, switch to warm water or herbal teas. If you are peeing throughout the night and all day (more than you are putting in), you might have an irritable bladder, prostate enlargement or blood sugar regulation issues. Go see your family doctor... or your friendly neighbourhood Naturopathic Doctor.
If you are on diuretics (commonly prescribed for high blood pressure), have diarrhea, diabetes, are exercising more frequently, living in a hot climate or have other medical conditions that affect your hydration status, I am happy to work with you to determine your unique needs. Call our office at The Space Within 519-275-2187 ext 7 to schedule your free 15 minute consultation today.
In health & hydration,
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Dr. Keila Roesner is a Naturopathic Doctor. When not treating patients she is also an enthusiastic barefoot-strolling, music-loving, yoga-doing kitchen wiz - who also happens to be a wrestling fan.