Summer may be over, but it is just as important in cooler weather to make sure to stay hydrated. There are many health benefits to drinking water. Proper hydration help suppress the appetite and boosts metabolism. It also helps keep moisture in your skin, increases skin elasticity and replenishes skin tissue, all helping you look younger. It can boost your mood, relieve fatigue and helps prevent constipation.
Signs of Dehydration
Many people think that being thirsty is the first symptom of dehydration, but by the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Your body can begin to alert you that it is becoming dehydrated in different types of ways. There are perceptive feelings, such as feeling tired, irritable, and depression. There are also drought-management processes such as asthma, allergies, constipation, and auto-immune disease. Finally, there are emergency indicators as a last attempt to get you to realize your dehydrated state. These include symptoms such as colitis, migraines, chest pains, heartburn, and fibromyalgia to name just a few. These are the beginning stages of dehydration and can progress to more serious conditions when the body is denied the water it needs over extended periods of time. Since these are the early symptoms, they can usually be alleviated by increasing water intake with no irreparable damage.
Meeting Your Body’s Water Needs
Amazingly, your body recycles the equivalent of 40,000 glasses of water to maintain physiological functions of a 24-hour period. This causes a shortage of 6 to 10 glasses of water each day, which must be replaced by drinking water. So how do you know how much water you should drink to replace your body’s shortfall? Each individual has a different requirement. In his book Water: for Health, for Healing, for Life, Dr. Batmanghelidji states that to calculate your daily needs, you simply need to divide your weight by two, and that is how many ounces you should intake. As an example, a 150-lb woman would need approximately 75 ounces of water to keep her body functioning at an optimal level. This comes out to about 9 ½ glasses, however, if she were to increase her physical activity or do yard work on a hot day, this number would need to increase to replace the water loss due to perspiration.
Nothing can substitute the body’s need for water, including beverages such as coffee or tea that contain water. The caffeine in these beverages actually further dehydrates the body. They cause increased urination, making you lose more water than what the drink actually contained.
Staying hydrated can be a challenge, but it is extremely important to your overall health. Dr. Andrew Weil, renowned health advisor who is both a medical doctor and an alternative health guru, has proclaimed water to be the “forgotten nutrient.” Pay close attention to your body’s needs, and be sure to stay hydrated to keep a healthy body, mind, and soul.