Water does so many things in the body! Water promotes the proper elimination of toxins and prevents premature wrinkling and discoloration of skin. All the cartilage padding of your joints and spine rely on being hydrated to maintain their padding. When dehydration occurs, cartilage is weakened and joint repair slows. When the body is dehydrated, it produces more cholesterol to prevent water loss from cells. All enzymatic reactions in the body take place in a fluid environment. When a person is dehydrated, it causes the enzymatic activity in the body to slow down. Some people feel fatigue, headaches, and irritability when they are dehydrated. Water helps with everything!
So how much water does a person need to drink?
If you drink dehydrating beverages, including coffee, black tea, soda, alcohol, or energy drinks, you will need to drink even more water to make up for those! If you eat lots of fluid rich foods, including melon, smoothies and soups, you may need a little less water. A good rule of thumb is 2 quarts of water a day, 3 quarts of water if you drink dehydrating beverages. You may need a little more, or a little less, if you are a small or large person, if you are breastfeeding, or if you are exercising. If you want to personalize your water intake, drink 1/3 to ½ your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 175 lbs, you need 52 to 87.5 ounces per day, plus 8 oz for each dehydrating beverage you also enjoy.
I know that sounds like a lot of water, especially if you’re not used to drinking that much. Here are some ideas to help with increasing your water intake.
- Drink a glass of water when you first wake up. This helps with hydrating after not drinking water for the many hours you were asleep. If you’re not sleeping many hours, check out my blog post here for ways to increase your sleep.
- Try to finish your first quart before lunch. This weights the majority of water consumption in the first part of the day, so it helps with hydrating from the night before, and makes it easier to get in the full amount well before bedtime. Many people don’t drink enough water because they don’t want to get up and pee in the middle of the night, and this is a way to help with that.
- Make your water taste good. Use a filter, and consider adding 1/8th cup fresh fruit, flowers, a slice of lemon or lime, or fresh herbs to your water to improve the flavor and make it more enjoyable to drink.
- Keep a water bottle with you. This can be especially important if you are measuring your water amount. A small water bottle can fit in a purse or a car cup holder, and can be refilled throughout the day. Some people find it helps to use a clear water bottle, because seeing the fluid reminds them to drink, and they feel accomplished when they finish all the liquid.
Are there times when a person may need less water? Absolutely! People with some health conditions, such as congestive heart failure or chronic kidney disease, may have different water intake needs. If you have a condition that affects fluid processing in your body, check with your healthcare provider for a personal recommendation.
Hope you enjoyed these tips! Please note, these tips are for general information only, and do not constitute personalized medical advice. If you would like to learn more about how we might work together to improve your health and well being, make an appointment for a 15 minute meet and greet and let’s get you on your way to wellness!
Dr. Tremblay holds degrees in horticulture, plant ecology and ethnomedicine, and a doctorate in naturopathic medicine. Her diverse background and personal experience with chronic disease gives her unique insights and experience in providing naturopathic care for patients. Read more >>