Keep Yourself Hydrated for Your Health
Learn the exact formula to keep yourself properly hydrated. Regardless of weather conditions or any health issues that you may be suffering from, your body needs to maintain its fluid levels in order to function properly.
Surely you’ve heard that you need to keep yourself hydrated by drinking two liters of water each day? This is not an advertising slogan or whims from the medical community, it’s about your health and a biological necessity. Find out why drinking fluids is fundamental for your health!
Why keep yourself hydrated?
We’re probably more aware of the real need to hydrate when summer starts and we’re hot and thirsty. However, hydration is a habit that must be fulfilled year round and before we experience symptoms that demand water, such as a dry mouth or throat.
Our bodies need water. We lose water throughout the day as urine, perspiration and even through tears and feces. Each of our cells, blood and other body fluids -for instance saliva- have a good percentage of water in their composition. This is why it’s essential to drink water every day!
It’s necessary to know the role that water has in your body and its main functions:
- Carries and distributes nutrients (minerals, vitamins, glucose) to your cells.
- Eliminates toxins.
- Regulates body temperature.
- Lubricates your joints.
- Cooperates with digestive and intestinal processes.
- Hydrates membranes, for example, eyes or mouth.
The importance of keeping yourself hydrated
Water is so important that a person can go for weeks without eating but not more than five days without drinking water.
We must keep in mind that your body loses water (also sodium, potassium, calcium, etc.) constantly and you need to recover it. Although your body can “send” water from one part of the body to another, if you don’t replenish it you may suffer from dehydration.
The consequences of poor hydration can go from slight discomfort to much more serious issues. Some of the issues (from minor to greater) are:
- Fatigue or weakness
- Dry mouth
- Accelerated pulse
- Loss of skin elasticity
- Sensations of heaviness
- Low urine volume or dark urine
- Accelerated breath rate
- Cool and moist skin
- Muscle spasms
- Altered mental state
How to properly hydrate?
In spite of the fact that you need to keep in mind the two-liter guidelines, these do not have to necessarily be glasses of water. Fluids we drink account for 80 percent of the liquids we need daily, but the remaining 20 percent comes from the different foods we eat.
Therefore, besides water, it’s necessary to eat fruits and fresh vegetables. For example, apples, oranges, tomatoes, zucchini, or cucumbers. Don’t forget soups, dairy products, or fruit juices, that can add a lot of fluids to your body.
If you practice sports in the heat, try to drink isotonic beverages, in other words, drinks containing salts and electrolytes, which are lost through perspiration.
In case you suffer from any gastrointestinal disease, you must be aware that every time you pass water, you’ll be losing a greater amount of fluids. If you have a fever, you’ll perspire more than usual and reduce your fluids quicker. In these circumstances, we recommend that you increase your daily water intake.
Some additional advice to keep hydrated properly is:
- Always keep a bottle of water nearby.
- Drink water before you feel thirsty.
- Program a reminder on your smartphone to drink water.
- If you don’t like water, mix in a few lemon slices, mint leaves or ginger.
- It’s better to drink water before you have a meal. Sometimes you can confuse your appetite.
- Increase your water intake if you practice sports or if it’s very hot.
- Drink water when you wake up and before you go to bed.
How do I know if I am properly hydrated?
One of the best techniques to identify if you’re drinking enough water is if your urine is transparent. This indicates you have eliminated all accumulated toxins.
Finally, we recommend you keep a record of the amount of water you drink. This way you’ll avoid having a stomach full of fluids and possibly not eating properly.
Remember that for an adult up to 70 years of age, the daily recommended amount of water is 2 to 2.5 liters. Children, elders, and pregnant women are more vulnerable to dehydration. Therefore, they must pay closer attention to the fluids they consume every day.