Updated: Feb 9, 2022
Perhaps ask a water bottle manufacturer how much water you need?? Drinking the amount they recommend will certainly have you floating! I'm seeing those ridiculously large water bottles more and more. How much do you actually need? What's the best way to hydrate? and how can you enhance the flavor? Let's talk!
First of all, yes, your body needs water to survive! Your body is made of about 60% water. Your kidneys are the masters at regulating your hydration level. Kidneys do this through the use of SALT pumps: water follows SALT! Your blood pressure is controlled by the interaction between your heart, gut, arteries, veins, and kidneys. The loop between these organs is well balanced with hormones. If the health of any of these components is off- your blood pressure and ability to stay adequately hydrated will be effected. What's the primary way to gain control over the whole "kit and caboodle"? you guessed it -- > lowering carbs to get control of INSULIN! #Accelerator101
Those with problems in any of the organ systems above, with high blood pressure, or taking water pills need special attention-- please make sure I am aware!
How much water do you really need? Look to your body and brain for answers! Through EHFix you should be learning how to be your own doctor:
You are dehydrated if:
-you feel lightheaded or dizzy with standing or when lifting your head too quickly
-the veins in your hands appear flat
-your lips or skin feel dry
-you feel thirsty
-your urine appears dark (it should be a light yellow-- mountain dew appearance is too dark! Clear is too light- too much water or alcohol or coffee/tea)
-your heart rate feels faster than usual (when not due to caffeine, meds, or drugs)
-you are chronically constipated (read about Magnesium salt in another blog post!)
WHEN might you need extra fluids?
-when you feel dehydrated (see above)
-you have been sweating a lot- the more you sweat, the more you need
-you have been exposed to extreme heat, wind, or both
-you are running a fever
-you have or had vomiting and/or diarrhea
What type of fluid is best for hydration?
Believe it or not-- NOT WATER! Water is the perfect choice if you have been keeping up regularly and have time to pre-hydrate! It takes a while for your gut to pull plain water into your bloodstream. Try drinking a lot of water while running and you will quickly develop nausea and cramps. This led to the science behind the original GATORADE which was awesome science at the time!
However, the Gatorade you know today is NOT the one that was originally studied. The original formula contained salt (for easy gut absorption), but not sugar! It worked great, but it tasted awful and didn't sell! When Coca-Cola bought the formula and began dumping sugar into the mix it gained traction everywhere-- no surprise! G2, the low sugar form, is not the worst choice out there when it comes to hydration for extreme or young athletes. Water is still the best choice for simply keeping ahead with hydration. What's wrong with too much sugar in athletes? GNC sells gel packs of sugar! This has been proven to negatively effect the long term health of athletes. I digress...
Some healthy salty alternatives for MAX hydration when needed (especially when dehydrated):
-chicken, beef, pork or vegetable broth (Not a wives tale! this IS ACTUALLY the best thing to consume when you have been sick for the quickest recovery!)
-pickle juice (read the label-- some pickles have sugar added)
-salted coffee-- takes the bitter out
Do I need to drink water while exercising? YES and NO!
Not to the extent that Poland Spring or sideline lawyers would have you think! Generally, most all of us can exercise for well over an hour without needing to drink! I'm sure you remember playing for HOURS as a kid and not actually needing a water break right? Be Smart! If you are exercising to the extreme in either length or intensity, get some water- especially if you have any of the above signs of dehydration👆!
Don't love plain water? here's a few ideas:
-try water filtered or from a different source. Water tastes different everywhere! Every brand tastes different. Every well source tastes different. Make the water from your tap taste great to you!
-Add natural flavors like lemon, lime, cucumber, basil.... try everything and anything! Just be careful adding too much sugar-- we aren't making juice!
-try seltzer if you like the luxury of bubbles in your drink- naturally flavored seltzers are a great choice
-try warm or hot water, especially if you are cold. Flavor with fruits, spices, or teas.
Special considerations: The chronically dizzy and the elderly!
Always be careful when rising! If you are well hydrated, you should not have a problem. Some people naturally have less "postural tone"- meaning their body responds slower to positional change. You know who you are! If you tend to get dizzy when quickly rising, even when you are hydrated, this is you! This makes you more likely to pass out than other people. It's important to rise slowly to allow your blood pressure to keep up with you. During exercise, no hurrying off the floor-- slowly rise! Also, never quickly raise your head from below heart height-- do the slow roll up, head last! These rules apply for all people when dehydrated.
Here's an example that gets me into trouble every Spring! I sit in my flower garden and pluck the weeds for hours (early in the season, I'm ACTUALLY HAPPY doing this). All the while enjoying the beautiful sun on my face (and slowly becoming more and more dehydrated)! When I get up to stand finally, I nearly pass out! This happens nearly every Spring😅. For this reason, I try to remember to bring water into the garden. My family members have also been schooled to bring me water whenever they visit me there! Figure out what situations get you into trouble and fix them!
POSTURAL tone worsens as we age, especially if we have sickened and hardened arteries and veins. The older you are the slower you should rise or change position. Elderly people also lose their THIRST drive and are much more likely to run into problems with dehydration. It's a great idea to bring a glass of water to your elderly relatives frequently (unless they are on a fluid restricted diet due to a bad heart/kidneys)
Should you be concerned about salt? Yes and no
Much of the hubbub concerning salt and blood pressure has been over-inflated! Dropping salt from your diet will lower your BP by about 5 points on average. Dropping sugar will do more for your BP. Dropping MANUFACTURERED FOOD products will have the BIGGEST EFFECT of all! Manufactured food, even the low sodium variety, is LOADED with salt. Your body needs about 2 grams of salt per day (a tsp of table salt has 6 grams). Food labels typically list salt in milligrams (2000 milligrams= 2 grams). When my EHFix clients start replacing junk manufactured products with real food, they are suddenly getting WAAAAY less salt-- sometimes not enough.
Extra interest stuff:
Salt is an important component of hydration. Doctors still use and recommend the original salty gatorade formula to hydrate sick babies (who have not had their taste buds ruined by sugar). This product is sold in stores and is called Pedialyte. Parents of sick children know it well! Once a child has tasted a sugary beverage, the salty version gets pushed aside- no thanks!
When doctors need to rescue a very dehydrated patient fast, we skip the gut and use direct IV (into the veins) hydration. What water do we use for IV hydration? salt water! It most closely matches the concentration of the water found in your bloodstream.
Turns out I can talk for days about water.... no wonder I am having a hard time just texting about it😂! Hope this helps all! Stay hydrated out there!