Staying hydrated is a timeless method for perfect health, rejuvenation, and radiant beauty. We all understand that water is the liquid of life. We can survive days and weeks without food but water is another story. Water is perhaps the most powerful anti-aging tool around yet it seems no one knows exactly how to use it. I have picked up on this theory from my personal experience with myself and interactions with clients, friends, and family.
- nagging skin problems: acne, dryness, fine lines
- Digestive issues: gas, bloating, acid reflux, constipation, diarrhea, stomach ulcers
- Pain, inflammation, and muscle cramps
Depending on the varying levels of dehydration, symptoms can be minor or to the extreme of disease. It is no doubt that underlying many health ailments, small or large, dehydration is a culprit. In other words, disease is a very tricky thing. A lot has to be going wrong for disease to set in. A better way to look at your health would be in standings of balance and imbalance. When we notice signs of imbalance the first step to getting on the right track again is to approach the basic foundations of health, and what is more simpler than water?
Overcomplicated: The All or Nothing Attitude
One of the most incredible discoveries I’ve made about our behavior is the “all or nothing” mind set. We have become chronic worriers to say the least. More often than not, the areas of our lives we have issues with are only matters of overcomplication. Take digestion problems for example, sources show that 60 to 70 million people are affective with digestive distress! Yet so many times after having spoken with someone with digestive distress I find a reoccurring theme: dehydration. And for some reason we seem to not accept this simple solution. We find it hard to accept that drinking more water, in the correct fashion, could solve such a serious issue. However, consider how just a hairline fracture in the foundation of a house can cause it to tumble down.
A Simple Solution: There Here and Now Attitude
We all have been fed incredible information in articles very similar to this one about the importance of essential vitamins and minerals that are indispensable for good health. However most of us have yet to learn the baby steps. I can only point a finger to the neurotic analytical mind for our ability to figure everything out; however, there is a curse in this blessing. We have forgotten the foundations that make all of this great stuff work! All the best nutrients in the world would not matter if the body could not digest them, and the body is dependent upon proper hydration to digest anything!
The solution to hydration is to simplify things in the mind again. The more we can simplify our lives, the healthier we will become in all areas of life. But let’s stay on the topic of water for today’s article.
Stepping into the present moment is without doubt step one. We need to put the brakes on living in the future so much. If we get too caught up in living for tomorrow it’s easy to become obsessed with stuffing nutrients in our bodies to keep it strong for the future and younger than yesterday. But what good is tomorrow if we don’t live today?
We need to be much more mindful in how we eat today, and that includes hydration. As you will learn in a moment, chugging water is not the best tip for staying hydrated. We need to start thinking again in this moment, knowing exactly how much food and water to consume now without as much worry for tomorrow.
There is a balance to be strived for. When we live for tomorrow too much we could easily eat in fear of not having our next meal. Developing some self-trust is required to know you will not starve or become dehydrated if you live more in the present. Living more presently you can become more in tune with your body’s needs right now, and this type of relationship with the body can never go wrong.
The Many Benefits of Water
To define the issue of dehydration more clearly, I want to share with you the many benefits of water and my greatest tips for hydrating properly.
- Smooths and softens skin
- Reduces fatigue
- Strengthens immune function
- Assists with weight management
- May help prevent memory loss: Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Offsets the symptoms of hormonal imbalances such as hot flashes, irritability, and even osteoporosis
- Acts as a lubricant for the joints, reducing pain and inflammation
- Rids the body of toxins and keeps the digestive system optimal
- Drink regularly: Don’t just wait until you’re thirsty to drink. If you do, it might already be too late! Especially as you grow older, your body sends signals for when it’s time to eat and drink more slowly. Don’t wait for thirst to set in, but also don’t think you know better than your body and over consume! Remember to remain mindful. The most efficient way to drink regularly and mindfully is to keep a bottle of water with you. Preferably glass to avoid any toxic exposure from plastic. A BPA-Free bottle will work as well. Take sips every 5–10 minutes as opposed to chugging water. This will make sure you don’t dilute your stomach acids and kidneys with too much water.
- Drink enough: Your body needs roughly half your body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 100 pounds that’s 50 ounces or the equivalent to four to five 12 ounce glasses. You may need more depending on the weather and how physically active you are. More activity means more water, and vice versa.
- Watch your Pee: Be mindful when using the restroom. If your urine is dark colored or yellow you are without doubt dehydrated! (Unless you’re also supplementing regularly with b vitamins which create a bright yellow color.) The darker your urine, the more dehydrated you are. If you’ve been slacking, don’t go chugging water. Just get back on track by sipping water more frequently.
- Set a timer: If you have developed poor habitual drinking patterns you might have to spend a little time reprogramming the mind. Set a timer on your phone every hour and be sure to drink a small 8 ounce glass of water every hour. Again, do not chug the glass but try to finish the 8 ounces in a reasonable time (5-10 minutes). Try smaller glasses of water if you find you have to rush to get it all down. The important thing is you are getting in a decent amount of water in frequency and not letting the body go without.
- Hydrate Right Away: This is perhaps the best tip you could pick up. Drink 1 liter of water immediately upon rising. Your body is most dehydrated when you wake up because it is using precious fluids to cleanse the body while you sleep. Not only will your body be more accepting to assimilating and absorbing the water but you will have noticeable and immediate positive benefits. You will notice your energy levels rise, skin quality increase, digestion improve, and even cravings for refined carbohydrates completely vanish! Allow 30 minutes for the water to really get into your system before eating anything.
- Drink Alone: I don’t mean get a bottle of water and head to the closet! Drink your water alone and not with any food. Drinking water with food will cause poor digestion and assimilation of your food by decreasing enzyme and acid activity and that will also cause poor water absorption. If you feel you need water while you’re eating to digest better, chances are you are not chewing properly! Chew your food better, until it’s in a liquid state. Drinking water will not digest the food better! Chewing your food will digest the food by mixing salivary enzymes with it. I find it best to drink a glass of water 30 minutes before each meal and not drinking any water until at least an hour and a half after eating, or until I know my food is fully digested.
- Teas, Smoothies, Juices: Sipping warm herbal teas with lemon and ginger are not only great for aiding digestion but will increase your water intake. Avoid cold drinks for they halt the warming of the digestive system (weaken stomach acid). You can also have a juice or smoothie on an empty stomach (preferably for breakfast) to increase your water intake. The water in raw juices and smoothies from fruits and vegetables will actually absorb better than regular water because of their high mineral content. So try to get a raw green juice or smoothie in once a day to increase your water intake. Even a protein shake will up your hydration! A powerful hydration shake with protein: chocolate Sunwarrior protein powder, coconut water, raw cacao, avocado, and a banana will give you tons of hydrating electrolytes all while replenishing glycogen stores after a workout!
- Ditch the coffee: Though coffee has its place in the natural health world, hydration is not its strong suit. Coffee can actually have the reverse effect, causing acidity and dehydration in the body when consumed too frequently. You would be amazed how much energy you get from water alone! Opt out of the coffee and try for a glass of spring water! You’re probably tired from being dehydrated anyway!
- Add Minerals: Adding an unrefined, raw sea salt to your water will increase its bio-availability big time. Just a small pinch, you shouldn’t even taste it, will increase the mineral content of your water, providing you with a much better chance of reaping the benefits of that water. Lemon juice from a fresh lemon also contains hydrating minerals. You can even try adding a fulvic mineral blend like Sunwarrior’s Liquid Light. These are very powerful concentrations of essential macro and micro trace minerals. Minerals boost adrenal and thyroid function giving you more natural energy and wonderful hair, skin, and nails! Just a capful of this stuff added to your water, juice, or smoothies will put you on the fast track to super hydration.