There’s no shortage of reasons why water is essential to our health. Here’s are a few ways to stay aware and get back on track.
BY: KATHERINE RATLIFF, MS, RDN
Let’s face it. We’ve been told over and over to drink those 8 glasses of water each day. But do you ever have trouble staying on point with your hydration? Often times, without establishing a real routine, you may find it difficult to actually stay hydrated.
Sure, we all know that we can’t live without water, but what else does that H-double-O do for us? Let’s take a closer look at why it matters.
Adequate hydration ensures that our joints are properly lubricated, and our organs and tissues are protected. This allows us to stay limber and active throughout the day, and ensures that we have enough fluids to transport glucose, oxygen, hormones, and other nutrients to our working muscles. Staying hydrated isn’t just important before and after activity – we gain even more benefits by sipping on water throughout the entire day.
Our brains are 90% water. Without adequate hydration our brain cells become less efficient, impacting both short-term and long-term memory. Small blood vessels in the brain are particularly sensitive to fluid status, leading to the dull headaches we often experience when dehydrated. You can easily avoid headaches and a foggy brain by drinking enough fluids throughout the day.
ENERGY & MOOD
When dehydrated, our blood pressure drops and blood flow to the brain slows. This can cause us to feel tired and cranky. Rather than reaching for a treat to wake you up from that mid-afternoon slump, take a moment and gauge your hydration status.
In addition to a balanced, nutrient-dense diet, staying hydrated is key to healthy, glowing skin. Our skin, like any other organ in our body, is made up of cells which depend on fluid balance for proper functioning. When these cells are dehydrated, our skin turns tight, dry, and flaky. Dry skin is also more prone to wrinkles. For healthier, smoother skin be sure to hydrate from the inside out!
So how do you get your hydration on point?
1. Start your morning with a glass (or two) of water.
You’ve just gone 8 hours without fluids. Even though you likely weren’t actively sweating, you still lost some fluids through breathing and light perspiration.
2. Aim for half your weight (lbs) in ounces of water daily.
This gives a good estimate for how much water to drink each day.
3. Keep a water bottle handy.
Bring a water bottle with you wherever you go. If you have a hard time remembering to drink, set a reminder on your smartphone to take a sip every 20 minutes (just like an activity reminder!).
4. Add flavor.
If you’re not a fan of plain water, try adding citrus, herbs, or fruit.
5. Include fruits and veggies daily.
Fruits and veggies can also count toward your fluid goal: watermelon, celery, cucumber, jicama, pineapple, and kiwi are flavorful options.
6. Enjoy tea and coffee… in addition to water.
Although caffeinated beverages do have a diuretic effect, they typically do not cause you to lose more fluid than you consumed. If you’re a coffee or tea enthusiast just make sure you’re balancing your intake with additional hydrating beverages ( i.e. water).
Drink up, and stay well!
Adapted from the original article.
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Katherine Ratliff, MS, RDN is a Minneapolis-based Registered Dietitian with a passion for transforming food into simple, delicious, and nourishing meals. She believes the path to health and happiness comes from focusing on foods that help nourish, heal and grow. By focusing on the six pillars of health, Katherine helps others create vibrant and meaningful lives. To read more, visit her at At Katherine’s Table.