Hydration: You said what? So what is hydration?
Dr. Robert D. Eisen, D.C. Bioscience Chair, Eastern School of Acupuncture and Traditional Medicine
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines hydration as the condition of having adequate fluids in the body. Simply stated we mean to drink ample amounts of water to provide your body with this most essential of fluids.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines hydration as:
Medical Definition of hydration
1: the act or process of combining or treating with water: as
a: the introduction of additional fluid into the body hydration sometimes helps to reduce the concentration of toxic substances in the tissues
b: a chemical reaction in which water takes part with the formation of only one product hydration of ethylene to ethyl alcohol especially: a reaction in which water takes part in the form of intact molecules
2: the quality or state of being hydrated especially: the condition of having adequate fluid in the body tissues
Why is water Important?
Water is an important part of your daily diet for many reasons. It provides the liquid your body needs for many processes to function. The human body cannot go longer than 7 days without water. We start to feel delusional without enough water. Why you may ask. Well the human body is mostly water and there needs to be the proper balance between water and electrolytes in the body. Some of the reasons why water is important is that it helps maintain blood pressure, helps control body temperature and helps keep a healthy metabolism.
Why the body needs water?
If we look at the important components of the body we can see why it is so important to drink enough water. The human body is composed of 60% water in an adult male, 55% in an adult female, 65% in a child and a whopping 75% in an infant according to the USGS.
Most of the water can be found in the intracellular fluid, this is the fluid inside our cells about 2/3 of the body’s water can be found here. Approximately 1/3 can be found in the extracellular fluid, the fluid that surrounds our cells and tissue.
The amount of water also varies depending on which organ we look at. The heart and brain are composed of 73% water, the blood plasma has 20% water, the lungs are composed of 3% water, the muscles and kidneys are made up of 9% water the skin which is your largest organ composed of 64% water and the bones around 31% (ThoughtCo.)
What does water do for the body?
Many of the processes we take for granted require water to function the way they are designed to work. Without water, your ability to perform housekeeping functions would be greatly limited. This is our ability to get rid of waste and toxins on the body. Water acts as a way for minerals, water soluble vitamins and nutrients to absorb into the body. Water also helps keep our blood pressure regulated and helps us adjust the temperature via sweat and breathing.
So how much water do I need?
That’s a great question. The rule of thumb I use or recommend to my patients is to drink at least ½ your body weight in water every day. “You said what??” That’s right you read that correctly. Why do I say this? Well let’s compare water to engine oil in your car. If I said to you that the one car you buy now is the only car you will ever have, then you would take extremely good care of it, right? You would change that oil every 3,000 miles like clockwork and make sure that car ran perfectly every single day of your life. You would use the best oil and make sure that when you changed it you filled it with 5 qts as instructed in the manual of your car.
Well you don’t come with a user manual and you are not a closed system like your car. Every cell of your body needs water to work, right? Water is required to perform all the daily tasks required to keep you alive and well. It is imperative that you change that fluid, replace what you sweat out during exercise and when you go to the bathroom. Drinking coffee also rids the body of water. As you know coffee diuretic which causes increased urination thereby robbing you of water and must be replaced. If you want to stay mentally alert you drink water to make sure your brain is well hydrated. If you want to lose weight stay well hydrated. Studies have shown that dehydration mimics the hunger feeling and if you drink water it will help satiate your hunger.
How do I drink that much?
If drinking water is new to you or you drink about 8 ounces a day then increasing you consumption of water may look daunting. Well like anything else that is good for you, start out slowly. If you start exercising you don’t go to the gym for 2 hours at a time and lift like Arnold. Of course not. You start out slowly so as to get used to the new routine.
You can add 1 8-ounce glass a week until you reach your goal. This should be a slow enough process so you get used to the new routine. Soon it will become second nature, and you will find yourself reaching for some H2O instead of Coffee or Soda. You will be doing your body a great service and your body will thank you with improved performance.
Merriam-Webster.com Definition Hydration
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. “How Much of Your Body Is Water?” ThoughtCo, Feb. 11, 2020, thoughtco.com/how-much-of-your-body-is-water-609406.
“The Water in You: Water and the Human Body.” U.S. Geological Survey.