The Importance of Proper Hydration
by Suzanne Caithamer, RD
At Covenant Natural Health Care, we encourage you to have a higher intake of water than you may be used to. We will likely ask you about your water intake at every visit. There are many reasons for this.
Humans are about 60% water. Your cells are filled with it. Even your bones are 31% water. Dehydration can affect a person long before they actually feel a sense of thirst. Mood changes, including irritability and cognitive decline, headaches, fatigue, and dizziness are all signs of dehydration.
Dehydration can also contribute to constipation. Inadequate water intake leads to hard stools, as the intestines don’t have fluid available to add to the waste in the colon. When we ask about your bowel movements at your appointments, one reason is to assess your level of hydration.
Sometimes if a person feels a little hungry and weak, it may be that water is what is needed, not food. Try drinking a glass or two of water and waiting a bit before reaching for a snack. See if water was really all you needed. Additionally, water can help a person feel fuller, leading to reduction in calories and therefore weight loss.
Upon rising in the morning, drink at least 16 ounces. You have not had any water all night — it is normal to wake up slightly dehydrated. It is important to replenish what you have lost in the night through respiration and sweating.
We recommend dividing your weight by two, and that number is the number of ounces of water a day you should be drinking. So if you weigh 150 lbs, you need 75 ounces of water, or about 9 ½ cups.
Be sure to drink the majority of your water in between meals. Drinking large amounts of water with meals can dilute stomach acid and lead to digestive issues.
There are many nice reusable water bottles for purchase out in stores. (Stainless steel is preferred, as chemicals from plastic ones can leach into the water over time.) Treat yourself to one and enjoy meeting your daily requirement!