A common misunderstanding is that drinking water and hydration are the same things. They are not, and this often leads to symptoms dehydration. Proper hydration is a vital aspect for overall wellbeing, cognitive, and physical performance as our cells constantly break down water into hydrogen and oxygen in order to create energy. Learn why you need to drink more water!
First symptoms of dehydration occur already at a little as 2% loss of your total body water. It’s not unusual that hard training athletes lose 6%-10% of their water weight as sweat. That shows the essential role of adequate preparation and follow-ups for work-outs, especially with a focus on rehydration.
Water is important
Water has a lot of roles in the body. In the context of weight and metabolism, water plays a significant role:
- Water helps our body to flush waste (detox).
- Water is needed by our brains to make hormones. We need healthy thyroid function for a healthy metabolism.
- Water helps to transport nutrients into the cells.
That is why it makes sense that most of our water is distributed across all the body.
- Blood is 90% water
- Brain is 75% water
- Muscle 75% water
- Lungs are 70-80% water
- Skin is 64% water
- Fat is 20% water
If the body’s water content drops by as little as 2%, it will cause severe fatigue. A drop of 10% will cause significant health problems such as Digestive, Cardiovascular, Immune, Musculoskeletal.
“Chronic cellular dehydration of the body is the primary etiology of painful degenerative disease”
Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, MD
Drinking enough water is the basis for hydration. Yet, it can be that the water you drink does not get into the cells in adequate amounts to ensure proper hydration! In order to maintain an optimal amount of water in your cells, each cell needs to be able to pull the water and this is done with an electrical charge across it’s membrane. To trigger this electric charge you need to have the right amount of electorlytes when drinking water.
Even though the amount of water is regulated within the body, water cannot be stored making daily consumption of water essential for a healthy body. And if you don’t get the water together with electrolytes, the only thing that will happen is that you’ll pee it out before it enters the cells. In fact, drinking only pure water may actually dehydrate you by depleting your electrolyes through urine. You need various minerals for proper muscle function and hydration like sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium. There are also other minerals to get from water like bicarbonate, sulfur and others. Sweating and urination make you excrete them which is why you need to replenish them with either mineral water or food
Additionally water depends good gut health for proper absorption (and vice versa) since most of the water is absorbed from the GI tract (mostly the small intestine) while there is an amount excreted in the feces. This is important to note, since not drinking enough water can lead to constipation.
- You feel hydrated when the water you drink ends-up in your cells.
- More water doesn’t equal more hydration.
- Electrolytes are the minerals that become capable of conducting electricity when dissolved in water.
- Hydration depends on not only the amount of water you drink but also on the adequate mineral intake to ensure your cells can pull the water you drink.
Drink more water
Most people don’t drink enough water, so I would recommend
- Start the day by drinking 1 litre of water with the juice of half a lemon and a quarter of a teaspoon of good sea salt. This will provide you the proper balance of minerals and kick start your day in a great way. An added benefit of using salt, is that we need sodium to help us from excreeting too much water. Especially on a low-carb diet you need the extra salt.
- Try to drink more than 2 litres every day but slowly ease into it.
- If you drink any diuretic drinks, such as coffee, caffeinated teas, herbal teas, soda, alcoholic beverages, and fruit juices, you should drink even more water.
Drink more mineral water
Unlike other water, mineral water is bottled at its source and contains natural minerals and other. Bottled waters don’t haave added minerals during bottling so you need to check which brands comes with more minerals. I usually go with Pellegrino or Gellorsteiner. Mineral water is ideal as it has naturally occurring essential minerals such as magnesium, calcium, bicarbonate, sodium, sulfate, chloride, and fluoride. Yes, you can get some calcium and magnesium from mineral waters, so I would suggest drinking 1 litre of mineral water a day.
- Avoid drinking tap water. I would strongly suggest investing on a good filtration systems for your drinking water. Note that you will need to re-mineralize your water afterwards.
- Drink slowly your water. No need to drink the full glass in one go.
- Room temperature or warm is best.
- Don’t drink water at the same time / during your meal. It prevents digestive juices which slows digestion.
- Drink water 30 minutes before your meal or 2 hours after.
- Include soups in your meals. Bone broth is always a great option.
- Eat plenty of salads as they have the higher content of water.
- Proper hydration is key for health and energy, so try to increase your water intake together with electrolytes.
- Aim for 2-2.5 liters of water per day with 1 liter being for a good mineral water.